Hear about travel to Azerbaijan as the Amateur Traveler talks to Mason Wiley of Community Based Tourism Azerbaijan about his time spent in the country during the Peace Corps.
Even though he has come back to the USA he still loves and misses Azerbaijan and its people. Mason had not even heard of Azerbaijan until he was posted there by the Peace Corps. Azerbaijan sits between Iran and Russia on the shores of the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus Mountains. The Caucasus Mountains have traditionally been where east meets west.
Half of the countries 8 million people can be found in the capital of Baku which is the usual starting place for a visit. “The thing that is neat about Baku as the capital is that it has a lot of ancient feel to it but because of the oil wealth they have a lot of new things that are happening, new things that are being built.
Start in the old city (Icheri sheher) in Baku. Baku was built as an ancient Persian trading city. “What it is now is just a giant walled-in city that contains ancient buildings that have been there forever that just have these windy twisty alleys, places where you can’t even figure out where you’re going. You think you are going north and you end up going back to where you started. Within it, you can find rug shops and they have crude oil baths. You could easily spend 2-3 days just in that part of the city.” Elsewhere in the city, you find brand new hotels and shops built with the proceeds from the new oil wealth. Although nothing may have been more surprising than a fusion Jazz and Mugham music performance Mason heard in the city.
Mason then recommends getting out of the city and visiting Gobustan with its mud volcanos and 10,000-year-old cave paintings. North of Baku you can find an old Zoroastrian temple at Surakhani called the fire temple. Azerbaijan means land of fire and in this region, there are naturally occurring eternal flames including a fiery hillside at Yanar Dag.
The oldest people in the world belong to the Talysh people of Lerik which is one of the regions where Mason was stationer. He also recommends going trekking out in the mountains of Lerik.
Azerbaijan Travel Guide
Old City, Baku
Full Moon Hotel
Baku Jazz Center
The Azerbaijani Mugham
Azerbaijan Travel Guide by Mark Elliot
Gobustan Rock Art
Fire Temple & the Burning Hillside
The Road Less Traveled
Azerbaijani Wrestler Funny Victory Dance
Woman tries to board LaGuardia flight wearing pumps with gun heels
Hackers make off with US Airways Dividend Miles
Would You Buy A Half-Seat On A Plane?
Thank you for such a wonderful podcast. I discovered it some time ago and started to listen from the first available episode. Now I’m stopped at episode #191 and planning to listen them all!
I really enjoyed episodes about Tokyo (apparently I’ve missed a lot) and Siberia (since I’m from Omsk, Russia, western part of the Siberia).
I was bitten by the travel bug in 2011 and do like event-based travel. Unfortunately I didn’t found any event-based episodes (at least yet). Hope there will be episodes about event-based travel in Amature Traveler.
I’ve visited WRC event (rally) in Spain of 2011 and D1GP event (drifting) in Osaka of 2013 (+Nara, Kyoto, Tokyo, Nihonmatsu).
I just started downloaded your podcast last month and I have been listening to it ever since during my hour-long commute to the office. I am from the Philippines, and I would say I was disappointed with Ivan Henares’ answers. Yes, he is a popular blogger here but the answers he gave were straight out of the tourist brochure. As a resident, I would be very interested to listen to a foreign tourist on his or her thoughts about the Philippines, just like your other guests. From your other podcasts, other guests have visited the country like legalnomads.com. Or maybe some Filipino Americans in your neighbourhood? 🙂