This has been one great trip! I've been able to try even more hair styles,
view architecture from the Soviet era, (stunning, simply stunning)
and explore a fascinating part of the world with an expert guide.
This week, among lots of other things, we got to see the (actually) world-famous petroglyphs of Gobustan, of which there are more than 4,000 examples.
The art work was created by folks living in these parts even 100,000 years ago, and the little kids could hardly keep their hands off it.
The immense boulders upon which the carvings were made lay strewn among several small mountains rising from the plains at the edge of the Caspian Sea.
The area also contains an inscription by a Roman legionnaire, in the latter half of the first century, which is the furthest east of any evidence of the Romans. Sophia found it amusing. Something about why the gallinaceo crossed the via.
The associated museum was far less boring than expected.We also visited Yanar Dağ ("Burning Mountain"), and although it wasn't much of a mountain, it was indeed on fire, thanks to someone carelessly igniting the naturally-leaking natural gas back in 1958.
That day, we saved the best for last; that's right, the Mud Volcanoes of Gobustan!!
These little guys are also powered by natural gas, and they bubble and blop away harmlessly, the mud being cool, temperature-wise.
There were little bubbling lakes, which of course demanded offerings of mud balls.
After scraping as much evidence of our visit off the shoes, pants, hair, etc., we loaded up.
Later in the week, we abandoned the kids and visited the Old City of Bakú, sitting on the edge of the Caspian on the Absheron Peninsula.
This really is an old, old place, with evidence of habitation for at least a couple of millennia, by successive waves of Turks, Tatars, Mongols, Russians, American diplomat families,
and Azerbaijani carpet merchants. Oooh! Pretty things!
We explored underand through
and around the old city,
which sits next to the busy harbor on the Caspian.
We had to admit that the traffic, though really awful at times, was a little more organized, with fewer potholes to dodge than where we've been living.
Meanwhile, we're stuffed with great Georgian, Azerbaijani and whatever food, and are having fun with the grandkids. We know they have to weigh our luggage at the airport, but we hope they don't weigh us.
We hope that your mud volcanoes are friendly too!