Jeremy Silk Road 2005 travel blog

Window in Khan's Palace

Wall of Khan's Palace

More beautiful windows!

Depart: Bavili, Georgia

Arrive: Sheiki, Azerbaijan

Overnight: Caravanserai Hotel

- After an early breakfast we made our way to the Azerbaijan border, stopping in the village to say goodbye to our mechanic and other friends first.

- We made swift progress to the border. The first thing that we noticed was the popularity of gold teeth amongst the Azeris with several sporting a whole top row of metal. Georgia is known as the Land of the Golden Fleece as a result of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. I'm christening Azerbaijan as the Land of the Golden Teeth!

- As we crossed into Azerbaijan it was time to say goodbye to our guide Nana, who had proved to be invaluable to us over the past week. We made sure we gave her a good tip and exchanged email addresses so we could all keep in touch.

- Strangely enough, the sky grew brighter and the temperature rose as soon as we crossed the border. We felt immediately hungry after gaining an hour and stopped off for a truck lunch within spitting distance of the border.

- Mak put her foot down on some bumpy roads and we arrived in Sheiki, a pretty town where we would stay for the night, in no time. We checked in to a beautifully converted caravanserai dating from the 18th century - it's really strange to shift from camping one night, to a place like this the next. Although the hotel looked posh, staff were thin on the ground and there was no hot water.

- With our early arrival we had time to check out the Khan's Palace before hitting the market to pick up food for tomorrow's bush camp dinner. I was a bit sceptical as it didn't sound too great in the guidebook but I went along with Alex, Jenifer and Joyce anyway. It was a good decision as it must be one of the most fantastic buildings I have ever seen! It has only recently re-opened after restoration and the artisans have done a great job. It is ornately decorated in Islamic style with geometric patterns. It also has the most fantastic windows I've ever seen made out of 14,000 pieces of precisely cut coloured glass and wood - indeed no nails or wood were used in the construction of the palalce. Another bonus was that it was less than $1 to get in. Our English guide told us that the market bazaar was closed for the evening so we scratched around a few local shops to pick up what bits and pieces we could find.

- We had considered heading down towards the town but hinger took over and we returned to the hotel for dinner where we were led to the restaurant which consisted of a number of private rooms. Our tasty feast came in at just $5 each!

- A few of us headed down towards town later to pick up more food and get on the internet. I did manage to check email - but at an excruciatingly slow speed. My frustration was compounded by the fact that I was unable for some reason to reply to emails. Oh well, never mind, not long till we arrive in Baku!

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