Despite the noise of the traffic I had a relatively sound sleep and woke up feeling ready to deal with the day. I packed up my camp quickly, strapping my stuff higgledy-piggledy onto the bike, before riding back to the petrol station where I could use the toilet and have space to reorganise my life. Peter had left before me and as we are heading in different directions I didn’t expect to see him again, but then I found him at the petrol station eating breakfast. I lay out my tent for the dew to evaporate, then unpacked and repacked pretty much everything. My growing hunger was alleviated when a family came by to say hello and delivered me some pastries that they said were national sweets. These, and a few little treats from the petrol station shop, were enough to get me going for the day. I made good time getting to Baku, helped along several times when I was chased by frighteningly big dogs.
As I began to enter the city my jaw began to drop. I don’t know what I was expecting but it certainly wasn’t what I saw. Baku is an incredibly beautiful city to behold and entering it along the southern coast provided the most amazing introduction. I stuck by the waterfront as I made my way downtown, slowly heading towards Centrum Hostel, which had been recommended to me by a friend. I checked in, had a much-needed shower, put on a load of washing and caught up on internet stuff. As soon as I got my clothes on the line I went out for a walk. I was planning on visiting a nearby supermarket before returning home to prepare a meal, but the city distracted me as soon as I stepped out the door and I quickly found myself wandering around trying to take it all in. I felt like I was in Europe. After a while I found a bench seat from where I could people-watch and absorb the atmosphere of the place.
My hunger encouraged me to move. On the way to the supermarket I came across a guy with a loaded bicycle, holding a ukulele. As I made friends with him I was again distracted from my need to eat. He is heading east, having started from his home in Italy. Together with a ukulele, he has a harmonica and a foot bell. We chatted for a bit before finding a place for him to play. He managed to perform one song (earning a nice amount in the process) before the police told him to move on. We continued to hang out and he ended up deciding to stay at Centrum Hostel too. He would head there after finding another place to play for a while. Finally, I achieved my goal of buying some fresh food, which I turned into a massive pasta dish, surprisingly even myself with the amount of food I fit in my stomach.
|Distance ridden today||95.11km|
|Average cycling speed||18.4kph|
|Total distance ridden||23,151km|