My Time Capsule: Travel Updates: Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia

11.11.17

Travel Updates: Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia

October 2017




My initial plan was an autumn trip to Romania. I truly enjoyed spending autumn in the Baltics last year and thought Romania would look gorgeous too covered in red goldish foliage. But for some reason the trip was cancelled. Feeling gutted that I had to postpone my date with Count Drakula, my 'Puppy Love' when I was a kid (you are one weird kid indeed, Debbz! 👻); I changed the destination to the Caucasus. Fortunately it's quite easy for Indonesian passport to obtain Azerbaijan, Georgian and Armenia visa. Yay! It's time to pack and jet off!

Uh oh, not so soon, lady! Unfortunately there was another obstacle. My Dad was down with some abnormal liver function and severe dehydration that he had to be admitted to hospital just 3 weeks before our departure. He had jaundice and his thrombosis dropped to only 70K. We were so ready to fly to Singapore instead and called off our trip. Long story short he recovered well and insisted to go. So here we are again. It's time to (last minute) pack and jet off!



Azerbaijan

Heydar Aliyev International Airport

It's quite a journey for us, started the flight from Malang, my hometown to Jakarta where we catch the flight by Qatar Airways to Baku via Doha. Immigration and custom processs at Heydar Aliyev International Airport was easy peasy, and in a blink of an eye I was already in the arrival hall. So let's begin our adventures...

First thing that caught my attention was that cute taxis parked neatly in the airport!!! I've always looooove vintage cars. It reminds me of the wallet-draining taxi ride in London on my first day school (zone 1) because I had no idea how to get to my new home (zone 3) 😂. Okay, back to Baku. I'm really impressed that Baku is really really clean and well organised too.

A trip to Azerbaijan wouldn't complete without a visit to Gobustan National Park where there's tons of ancient carvings from the prehistoric time. I also visited Diri Baba Mausoleum and Yeddi Gumbaz ancient graveyard from the 18th century. Then another stop at Juma Mosque in Shamakhi where the bloodiest massacre occurred in 1918 (around 1700 people perished 💔 ).


Gobustan National Park

Baku Old Town

Diri Baba Mausoleum

Yeddi Gumbaz mausoleum 

covering our hair at Juma Mosque in Shamakhi



Georgia

the City of Love, Sighnaghi

Stayed the night in Sheki, the next morning we headed to Balakan and crossed the Azerbaijan-Georgia border in Lagodekhi. It was a smooth one, definitely nothing to compare the Jordan-Israel border crossing I had a few years back which was pretty terrifying. We then joined a Georgian traditional family lunch at Simonay's house. They introduced me to assorted traditional delicacies such as Khachapuri (Georgian pizza), Shoti (Georgian baguette), Churchkhlea (traditional sweets), Rkatsiteli (homemade wine) and more.

Then before continue the journey to Tbilisi, I spent my afternoon wandering around Sighnaghi. It's called the City of Love because lovey dovey couples can get married at Sighnaghi Wedding House anytime of the day. Yes, it's open 24/7 just like mini mart. Should I named it mini Las Vegas perhaps? 👯

Spent the next day to explore Tbilisi, started with a cable car ride to Narikala Fortress. I really loved the view from above, over the Mtkvari River and Tbilisi Old Town. In my opinion, Baku is really pretty but Tbilisi is oozing with character. It's sooo charming that I feel like hugging it really tight like a teddy bear doll. Besides historical buildings, the narrow alleys are filled with attractions, restaurants and shops. The cobblestones street and quaint old house with wooden balconies reminds me of Disney film set.


lunch at Simonay's house

cable car ride in Tbilisi

Georgian Orthodox Cathedral

Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi



Armenia

Noravank Monastery

If I have to describe each country in one word: Azerbaijan is alluring, Georgia is charming and Armenia is home. Among the three countries, I found that immigration officers in Armenia are the nicest. There was no anxiety whatsoever when I walked into the control points. Instead the ambiance was very relaxed. I was waiting for my visa to be processed when some curious officers approached me, asking where I am from. "Welcome to Armenia!" They greeted me with a warm smile, even before my passport get stamped 😆. The people I had met along the trip too are genuinely friendly and helpful and love to smile. There were some occasions when I was clueless and some strangers would approach me trying to help without being asked.

The landscape in Armenia has taken road trip to another level, well at least for me. The diversity really blew my mind. I was enjoying the dense forest view with autumn foliage in full force outside my window when it suddenly became dark as we passing through a light less tunnel. Just in a few minutes, at the end of the tunnel my eyes squinted as I reach daylight again and then voila! The landscape around has changed to arid rocky plateau with with no trees at sight. So dramatic it felt like teleportation!

I love historical sites even though I can't remember which years of what or which century of what. Seriously, I'm sooo bad with numbers that sometimes I can't even remember my age. Doh! I'm always fond of ancient architectures and Armenia has tons of it. I managed to visit Geghard Monastery, Sevan Monastery, Haghartsin Monastery and some others. Definitely should go back again in near future to explore the south area.


autumn foliage 💘

Garni

Armenian Farmer Market

Haghartsin Monastery

Geghard Monastery

By all means 2 weeks trip around the 3 countries was a short time indeed and barely scratched the surface. But my family have business to run and I have 12 dogs at home to take care. So I gotta make the best use out of my short yet precious holiday. It's time to go home and earn some cash again for our next trip (which is in less than a month 😂). Unpacking my suitcase, re-packing and applying another visa now. I will surely blog more about each places soon!

Which ones would you like to read about?



24 comments:

  1. I have always wanted to go to this region! What was the food like? I'm imagining it was great. What are those dough pockets filled with cheese called?

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    1. Are you referring to Kachapuri? I called that Georgian pizza, lol. Food around these country are tasty because they use the freshest ingredients only :)

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  2. These three countries have been on my list for a very long time and cant wait to get out there eventually. Loving your post and there are some great tips here. Loving the photos. :)

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    1. Thanks, Dan! :) I'm pretty sure you will enjoy your trip like I did

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  3. The Caucasus is an area of the world I've been wanting to visit for a few years. I'm especially drawn to the charm of Tblisi and the delicious Georgian food.

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    1. Yes, I really wish I had more time to explore Georgia. It really is beautiful :)

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  4. This has been a visual treat, Deb! I'm glad your father recovered just in time so all of you could explore the three countries worry-free. I'm really intrigued by your one-word description of each country as I've been curious about Azerbaijan and Georgia, but for some reason Armenia sounds like a very special place. Oh and you're the second blogger this year who raved about Armenia's road trip -- it must have been so unforgettable!

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    1. Thank you, Bama. It was such a pre-trip drama. Phew! Please go visit these 3 countries soon. I really really love them all and wish the trip wasn't that short. I must visit them again!

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  5. It’s great that your dad recovered in time for you to make the trip. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia are 3 countries on top of my bucket list. They all seem so untouched by mass tourism. The mausoleums and monasteries look impressive.

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    1. If you love ancient things or historical sites like I do then you will love the Caucasus too, Linda. I can't wait to re-visit :D

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  6. Wow! What a whirlwind trip. But you seemed to pick the best out of each country. From the ancient ruins of Azerbaijan to the traditional foods of Georgia and finally the friendliness of the Armenians, you've whet my appetite for all three countries.

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    1. I hope it will encourage you to visit the Caucasus :D

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  7. beautiful scenery, buildings and... hair color! haha.
    thank god your dad recovered soon and hopefully he stays healthy.
    and.. 12 dogs?? wowww, you're one busy dog mama! :D

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    1. Thankssss, Vira. Hahahha. As a pawrent, it is now hard for me to be away from home too long :D

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  8. cerita yg bagus bikin orang pengen kesana...
    btw udah cocok nih jadi model

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    1. model majalah bayi sehat kah? hahahaha

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  9. Recently I had a friend travel to Baku for work and it was the first time I had heard of it. The area is such an interesting part of the world. I love the picture of your feet in the bright yellow leaves! Fall foliage is the best!

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    1. Such a sweet coincidence that I was wearing bright yellow outer too! :D

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  10. Thank you for introducing me to these incredible places. Though you may not have been there for too long, your photos really showcase the beauty of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, destinations that remain mysterious for many.

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    1. I had been curious about these three countries also. They really deserve more spotlight! :)

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  11. I loved reading about your trip! I've really known so little about Georgia or any of the places you wrote about. Beautiful views, gorgeous monasteries and cathedrals, the cable car ride(!), the red rooftops, the medieval cobblestone streets, even the ancient writings -- so many incredible things to see and do! My favorite photo was the one of you inside the monastery with the light streaming in the window and your yellow jacket -- awesome capture!

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    1. Thanksss, Tamara! I was there at the right moment when the sunlight streamed through the windows. So magical :D

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  12. I am from Romania but I have to admit, wow, Georgia and Azerbaijan look so pretty and different than my home country! I am sure you will have a blast next time when you will have next the chance to meet Count Dracula, because now you've seen some gorgeous heritage places with such a different architecture.

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    1. Wow, I can't wait to explore your home country, Joanna! I've heard many people raving about how beautiful it is :D

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