Continuation…DAY 02: LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
Day 02 started a bit late since we have to do a special visit to Fairmont Baku (see our Special Feature about the hotel very soon). The idea for the day’s itinerary is to try living like a local – and endeavour their daily lifestyle as much as I can.
11:00 AM MARTYR’S LANE
As in any country, its own history is always a good starting point. Laying down in one of the highest points of Baku is the Martyr’s lane – dedicated to those killed by the Soviet Army during Black January and later to those killed in Nagorno-Karabakh War (wiki). It is, up to now, being visited by thousands of Azerbaijanis to pay their respects to those who had given their lives for their country’s independence.
12:00 PM BAKU FUNICULAR
Beside the popular Marty’s Lane and Dagustu Park is the only Funicular System in Baku. It connects a square on Neftchilar Avenue from the view deck above in about 3 minutes. The fare is 1 AZN Manat and it provides easy access for locals and tourists alike.
1:00 PM METRO RIDE
One of the most efficient and convenient ways to travel around the Azerbaijan’s capital is through their Metro System which dates back during the time of the Soviet Union. The deep underground metro system have very long escalators going down the train platforms. They use BAKUCARD for both Metro and Buses which is really very cheap at a flat fare of 20 qapik (0.2 AZN Manat or around 50 Qatari dirhams). Another interesting name that AZERBAIJANI’s use for their TRAINS will be revealed on our next post: “Baku, Azerbaijan: Similarities with Doha, Qatar”, soon.
During the metro trip, i also checked out the Central Train Station which is called May 28, beside it is one of their biggest malls aptly called 28 Mall, as well as the world’s biggest KFC restaurant which was actually the old historic building of Sabunchy railway station.
2:00 PM BAKU’S UNIVERSITY BELT AREA
The future of every country is its youth. And a visit to one of their prominent University area is a breath of fresh air. Vibrant, youthful, and the structures are epitome of hundred years of learning and specialization. It was a mission fulfilled seeing a great future for this nation.
3:00 PM YASIL BAZAR
Traversing the non-touristy place is also one of my agenda – to immerse myself through the actual lifestyle of the local and understand them as a people and as a nation.
I came to see the different side of town, away from the glitz and glamour of the nearby city center yet it has the vibe and synergy which pump up some of the nation’s basic needs. The agriculture sector, for one, can be seen in its markets where fresh produce from the harvest fields in the country side are brought, and where hardworking people labour passionately to feed a nation.
4:00 PM LATE LUNCH AT A TURKISH RESTAURANT
After a visit to the Yasil Market, I decided to eat at Marmara Restaurant just across the street. It shows the Turkish influence on the food culture of Azerbaijan.
8:00 PM HEYDAR ALIYEV INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
One of the distinctive architectures of modern Azerbaijan is its airport located around 20 kilometers in a suburb of Baku. As one of the busiest airports in the country, traffic can get really heavy especially during rush hours.
It is almost similar in size as in the old airport of Qatar along Matar Qadem with open parking space in front of it. The ARRIVAL GATES and CHECK-IN GATES are all located in the ground floor, café’s and fast food restaurants are in the 1st floor, while the IMMIGRATION GATES and the BOARDING GATES are in the second floor.
Surprisingly, they have a unique “Cocoons Area” which serves as boutique and coffee beside the airport duty free shop. It also provides a cozy lounge atmosphere for passengers who want to rest before or in between their flights.
That ends our quick trip to Azerbaijan. While there were items in the original itinerary which I was not able to visit, I believe that I was able to tick-off a great portion of it (and probably the remaining ones will be good enough reason to say… we are coming back for more).
“TWO NIGHTS” is originally conceptualized as “TU-NIGHTS: Two Nights with the Tunays”. But due to the changes that happened during the first trip, we thought that although we might have some trips with the entire family, it may be inevitable to have solo flights occasionally since some the destinations are a bit challenging. But definitely, we will still maintain a family-friendly approach as what we have been doing in the last 2 years.
Coincidentally, BEST LIFE QATAR will also be celebrating it’s 2nd year BLOGniversary this February 2018 and “TWO NIGHTS” is our gift to our readers in our effort to take the blog to a new level. Initially, TWO NIGHTS will be released every quarter and will showcase different places that all expats from Qatar can visit during the weekends or for short vacation.