– The adventures of a solo round the world cyclist –

Day 900 (Azerbaijan Day 15 / Iran Day 1)

Things have worked out very well. I had a slow morning leaving camp as I spent some time getting my sports camera up and running and filming the start of my Iran video. I haven’t used the camera in a long time and the micro SD card had corrupted, so I messed around for a while to get it back in order. My idea is to make the Iran video a bit more of a video diary whereby I record the day-to-day details of the journey a little more than usual, providing deeper insight into what it’s like from my perspective.

I really enjoyed the ride into Astara. I continued along the track I camped beside and it popped out onto a good road running alongside the Caspian Sea. The area had a quiet seaside vibe to it and, like yesterday, the people were excessively welcoming. I rode through Astara until I came across a market shop, where I spent the last of my money on food. I then followed little blue signs saying “Iran I.R.”, figuring they would probably lead me to the border crossing. They did. Passing through was incredibly easy. Neither side were interested in checking out my bike or luggage, so I simply answered a few friendly questions (Do you like Azerbaijan? Where do you go in Iran?) as I was stamped out of one country and into the next. On the Iranian side, I made a quick before hitting the road, all the while knocking back money exchange offers from men crowding around the border.

My phone ran out of battery so I didn’t have a map to navigate with. This is didn’t bother me, however, as I knew I simply needed to head south. On my way out of town I passed a row of shops with mobile phones on display. I stopped at one and organised a SIM card so I have internet access on hand. I’d hardly ridden 3km out of town when a man on the side of the road waved me down. A first I rode passed him, saying hello, thinking I wanted to make a greater distance before I succumbed to the onslaught of people wanting me to stop and chat every five minutes. The guy jumped in his van and came up beside me, insisting I pull over. I did. The guy’s name is Mr Hossein. He is 70 years old and works as a travel guide, mostly escorting British, Americans and Canadians across the country on overland trips (these nationalities require guides). His website is iranoverland.com. He invited me to camp at his place, which was about 5km away. On the way there we stopped at a little shop and had some tea with his friends. Once arrived at his house, which is located in a little village away from the main road, he offered me a room in the house for US$10. I was still welcome to camp if I wanted, but otherwise I could enjoy a room, shower, WiFi, kitchen and breakfast. I thought about for a few minutes before accepting the offer. Having such accommodation means I can recharge all my camera batteries and do some proper research about how I will spend my time in Iran. I showered, made myself lunch, then did a load of clothes washing. While Mr Hossein went for an evening jog, I got stuck into reading his Lonely Planet book on Iran, photographing relevant information as I went. I made use of his kitchen to cook myself a pasta dish.

When Mr Hossein got back we sat down together to look at a map. I was hoping for some useful information about my planned route, but didn’t really come away with a better understanding. This is because I plan on travel small roads about which Mr Hossein didn’t know anything. The main thing I learned is that the terrain will be challenging. I feel ready for some hills again though. While I didn’t glean any great information this evening, I hope to have a good chat with Mr Hossein about the Kurdistan region in the morning. This is where I hope to spend most of my time while in Iran, and it just so happens that Mr Hossein is Kurdish.

Into Iran

Accommodation $ Homestay
Distance ridden today 26.78km
Average cycling speed 15.9kph
Total distance ridden 23,632km
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Day 899 (Azerbaijan Day 14)

I am in a really good mood, feeling mischievous and full of energy. I am hiding in my tent all by myself on track running between lush green fields being grazed by cows. The fields are also being prowled by some kind of howling animal, maybe jackals. If I was with someone else I might suggest going for a walk in the dark while telling ghost stories. On my own, I think I’m just going to get some rest. Somehow though, I don’t feel exhausted.

When I woke up in the morning I felt terribly tired, and on entering the busy main road I was easily irritated by the lack of thought given to me by passing cars – here, it’s quite normal for cars to give you about 30cm of space as they fly past at 80+kph. As the day went on my mood slowly picked up. I think it was because of a combination of things: my article being published, the road in relatively good condition, my pace good, seeing the Caspian Sea again, leaving relatively barren land and entering an increasingly fertile area, riding in the shade of massive trees lining the road, making better distance than I thought I would, realising that I can easily cross into Iran tomorrow, and people seeming to become increasingly nicer. From Lankaran onward people were incredibly friendly. In the town, a trio of old guys befriended me and one guy in particular – when I was able to convey that I rode from Australia – kissed me on my cheeks, shook my hand vigorously, got a selfie, wished me well with god on my side (yep, I understood this from sign language), then came out of the shop with a Mentos packet as a gift. When I stopped to chat to a group of men a little later, one ran into his shop and brought out a 1L Sprite and packet of wafer biscuits as a gift.

As the day went on the scenery changed dramatically. I slowly approached and then rode alongside forested hills on a winding road that rose and dipped in a gentle fashion, taking me past fertile land filled with fresh produce like strawberries. I was in two minds about whether to camp or find accommodation in Astara. I never expected to come close to Astara but good progress meant that staying there became a possibility. Camping won out in the end. I left the main road and headed towards the Caspian Sea on a little road that turned into a dirt track running between beautifully green grassy fields. I was hoping to find a way onto one of the fields but the track was lined on both sides by deep ditches and walls of blackberry bushes. I continued down the track, past a point where it got rough and muddy – good news for me as it meant people don’t drive down it, so it should be quiet. I eventually settled on a flat grassy spot next to the track. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t camp in a field – through the evening I have heard guys herding their livestock on the fields and I am perfectly hidden on the track.  As soon as I had parked my bike I went for a walk and gorged on fresh blackberries. I would have kept eating them for ages if I didn’t have to get my camp sorted. I cooked noodles with tuna and vegetables for dinner and I am already looking forward to waking up and feasting on blackberries again come morning.

Two of the trio

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 124.32km
Average cycling speed 19.1kph
Total distance ridden 23,605km
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Day 898 (Azerbaijan Day 13)

I didn’t get much sleep last night. My mind just wouldn’t shut up and I was woken up twice by people. The first time, a couple of guys with super bright torches wandered through the grassy area at the end of which I’d set up my tent. I’m not sure what they were doing but it seemed they were wandering around and tending to metallic things on the ground. I lay still in my tent and didn’t move, figuring I would reveal myself if they take a proper interest in my tent and/or called out. They saw my tent of course, but I’m not sure if they could see me inside it. In the end they moved away. They returned several hours later and I heard the same noises. This time they were bold enough to have a closer look. I sat up and greeted them, then got out of the tent. They were nice guys and didn’t seem too perturbed by my presence. I think they invited me back to their house, but I was keen to stay put so just played ignorant. I had a fitful sleep for the rest of the night.

As I ate breakfast I checked out Maps.me to suss out where I might reach. I decided I was keen to find a place to stay without camping and settled on two options, one about 54km away and one about 82km away. I wanted to have a break at 27km (halfway to my first option) but of course there is never a good place to stop when you want one. There were lots of market shops before this milestone, but none for a while after it. It wasn’t until about 43km that I came across a market shop, where I stopped to cool down with an ice cream and cold water. I dozed in a chair outside until the shop worker tapped me on my leg and showed me a bed around the back. I decided not to stay longer but instead get the day’s riding out of the way. As I entered the town that represented my 54km milestone (Bilasuvar), I was happy with the feel of the place and hopeful that the hotel on offer would be suitable. It was. The price (25m, AU$20) was much more reasonable than that offered by the hotel in Salyan. I immediately had a shower, then spent ages hand-washing my filthy clothes. I also got the first WIFI since leaving Baku. To my delight I discovered that the article I prepared for the West Australian was published today! One my internet addiction was satisfied, I set out for food, finding pizza and hot chips down the road. I then did some food shopping before returning home to relax. After watching half a movie, I went for an evening walk to stretch my legs and find dinner, which was a doner kebab (2m, AU$1.60). Back at home I watched the rest of the movie while pigging out on a banana, lollies, snickers and fruit juice. It’s now 10.25pm – well and truly time to hit the sack.

Getting lost by the river

Accommodation $ Hotel
Distance ridden today 51.66km
Average cycling speed 17.8kph
Total distance ridden 23,481km
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Day 897 (Azerbaijan Day 12)

Today I expected that I would reach Salyan, where I would find accommodation, have my first shower in four days, wash my riding clothes and rest under a roof in a comfortable bed. I even begun to think I might have a day off the bike. I reached Salyan and found accommodation, but that’s as close as my expectations came to becoming reality. On riding into town, I had already thought about how much I thought a hotel in this country might charge. I had come to the conclusion it would be around 15m (AU$12). I was quite pleased to hear, then, that a room at the only hotel in town was 14m. My pleasure turned to shock, however, when I realised I had misheard the hotelier and a room was in fact 40m. I couldn’t hide my disappointment. The guy asked how much I expected it to cost and I said I didn’t know because this is the first hotel I have been in, as ­­I normally sleep in a tent. He laughed at me and basically said, ‘Well, this is the price of an Azerbaijani hotel’. Fair enough. I said I’d probably be back.

I didn’t really have a plan as I rode away. As I rode through town I stopped each time someone greeted me with some English words. I knew that they would ask me what I’m doing, to which I would answer that I’m trying to find a place to sleep, but the hotel is too expensive. My vague hope was that someone would offer a solution. No solution appeared so I knew I had to make a decision. Either return to the hotel, or ride out of town and find a place to camp while it gets dark. I chose the latter. I stopped off at a shop to get some supplies, then rode south out of town. Fortunately, I only had to ride a few kilometres before an opportunity to escape from the main road appeared. I left the main road on a walking trail, which led me to a dirt road running parallel to the main road. It soon turned and took me away from the main road and behind a tall stand of trees. To one side of the track was a field with a crop. To the other was a thick wall of trees. I spotted a small break in the trees and ventured through it. It led me to a small grassy area. It looked to be the perfect campsite, except for the fact that I had to sneak onto someone’s property to find it. It soon became far from perfect, for as soon as I stopped moving, I was attacked by mosquitoes. I felt I had no choice but to just get on with what needed doing, which was put up with the mosquitoes and make camp. I set up my tent in record time, threw everything inside, then dove in myself, zipping myself in before too many mosquitoes followed. I sat for a few minutes to gather myself and cool down a little. I felt disgusting. I was soaked to the skin in sweat and it was a while before it stopped pouring out of me, and my feet and lower legs were black with sweat and dirt. I knew I couldn’t relax until I was a little bit clean. I braved the mosquitoes for a few minutes as I gave my face and legs a wipe down outside, using a bowl (dinner pot) of water and my body wash cloth. Back in the tent, I went against the warnings written on the tent’s tag, and set up my stove inside. I worked carefully and managed not to make a mess or burn anything. The dinner was absolutely delicious – two packets of noodles (with the sachets of goodies), cooked with two tomatoes, can of corn, capsicum and a tin of tuna in tomato sauce. I also managed to do the dishes inside the tent. I re-entered the danger zone one last time to go to the toilet and brush my teeth. Back inside, I have just finished washing the rest of myself, readying for bed. I still feel pretty gross though and my riding clothes are nasty. I’m fairly close to a major river so tomorrow I will try and get to its edge and have a proper wash and maybe even do some clothes washing. It’s well and truly dark now, so I’m pretty sure I’m safe for the night.

The rest of the day wasn’t the most enjoyable, mostly because I’m exhausted and the roads were in terrible condition. I got lost a little around Sirvan, but this meant I enjoyed a nice ride right along the river’s edge for a while before picking up a proper road. I was then able to choose between continuing along the rough dirt road that ran close by the river (slow going but nice views), or the bituminised main road that ran parallet to the river (faster riding, but also very rough as at least half of the bitumen had disintegrated, and with no pleasant views). I alternated between the two, all the time wondering if I should just find a more major road that would offer a smoother ride. I thought my map was telling me there was a major road nearby; however, I eventually realised that the broken ‘bituminised road’ I was on was indeed the area’s major road.

At a major turn off I stopped in a little shop where a boy tried to charge me three times as much as the standard price for a water and a cool drink. A man looking on told him to give me the correct change. A crowd watched my every move as I pulled out my camping stool in a piece of shade of slowly drank my purchases. Just as I was readying myself to leave, one of the spectators bought me another cold water as a gift. Several hours later when I needed another break from the overbearing heat, I stopped at a market to buy an ice cream and a coke. Again a little crowd formed and I spoke to them as best I could. When I left the shop owner have me another coke as a gift. So nice are the people here that they are willing to gift you with the dregs of an energy drink that they think you might desperately need. I was initially thrilled when a car came up beside me and the passenger passed out a can containing an energy drink. I was then disappointed to discover it only had about two mouthfuls left in it. I was appalled for a second, then like the bum I’ve become, I downed what remained anyway. I didn’t drink my coke gift until the very end of the day. I’d set up my tent, had dinner and was sitting still for a few minutes, waiting for my body to cool down and stop sweating before I put it to bed. It was then that I allowed myself to crack it open and relish it.

Morning light

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 89.39km
Average cycling speed 14.8kph
Total distance ridden 23,429km
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Day 896 (Azerbaijan Day 11)

I woke around 6.45am and listened to the early morning movements of others in the house, trying to work out whether it was appropriate for me to also rise for the day. When the man of the house returned to bed (the mat on the floor across the room from mine) I got the impression he was waiting for me to rise. I did as instinct told me and made a move to get up. He did the same. I toileted, changed and packed my bike before being invited back into the house where breakfast had been laid out. I was treated to flatbread, boiled eggs, butter, cheese, a glass of hot milk and chai. Despite the fact we didn’t have a shared spoken language, I managed to learn that the milk came from the family’s cow, and that the butter and cheese (courtesy of the same animal) were handmade. My host also successfully conveyed he was suffering a bad hangover. It was a little after 8am that I was ready to leave. The village was very quiet as I rode through it, with only a few very old men sitting about. I am sure there would be a lot of sore heads today.

I didn’t really make it very far in the first few hours of my day. I first rode to the top of the hill on the edge of Paladli where I stopped to complete my morning preparations: I sent a SPOT message to my family (which I failed to do last night), stretched, applied Vaseline to my crotch (blister prevention) and set up my dynamo system so I could charge my phone as I rode. With my phone battery dead and with many dirt roads criss-crossing through the hills, I was at a bit of a loss as to which track represented the right direction. I stuck to the most well used one that seemed to be heading the right way.

By 9am it was stiflingly hot and I was sweating profusely. I’d been climbing rolling hills that contained neither shrubs nor trees, just grasses and tilled soil waiting for new crops. At one point I stopped at a crossroad where there was a small hut next to a gate leading to a mine. The guy inside the hut offered me some tea. I tried to ask which was the right way for me to go, but he gave a very long answer that left me none the wiser. I tried turning my phone on but I hadn’t been moving fast or long enough for it to have charge. The guy said I could charge it in his hut. I got it to 10%, but it didn’t really help. Luckily two men and young guy turned up and after listing the names of the towns I expected to pass through over the next couple of days, they were able to give me advice about directions. I still have to be wary about advice though, as I want to stick to small roads through small villages so I need to be sure I am not being directed to any major, boring motorways. Later in the day when I stopped for a snack a passing truck driver gifted me with grapes and cold water.

Eventually, I dropped out of the hills and made my way to Qarasu, where I was invited by a couple of guys to have tea outside a building they were constructing. They sent me off with a cold water refill and a bottle of frozen water. I rode the main road for 2km before re-entering the dirt of another minor road. This took me across a shaky old bridge whwere two guys were collecting a toll from any drivers wishing to cross it. I had a beer at a makeshift café on the other side of the bridge after being waved in by a friendly looking guy, but the atmosphere was a bit weird so I downed the beer relatively quickly and continued on. By this time I really had to find a place to spend the night so I began looking for a suitable place to camp. I trusted my instincts as I explored a few options, in the end setting on a path that runs down the side of a canal. I haven’t had anyone come past directly, but a few vehicles have driven along the other side of the canal and seen me. None bothered to stop, which was fine by me. I’m feeling safe enough. Every now and then there is a big splash in the canal from some kind of animal. I enjoyed a delicious dinner (I’d picked a good spice mix to add to my pasta) while watching a nice sunset.

Camping by the canal

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 67.53km
Average cycling speed 13.5kph
Total distance ridden 23,340km
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Day 895 (Azerbaijan Day 10)

I continued along the busy main road for about 15km before coming to my turnoff, which marked the start of a dirt road adventure that didn’t last too long. I got as far as the village of Paladli before my riding day ended. I initially stopped in Paladli to get some water. When I tried to buy some from a tiny shop, the shop owner refused to sell me any, instead grabbing my empty 5L bottle and disappearing. He came back a minute later with it full of fresh water, for which he didn’t want any money. I was about to continue my way out of the village when I found myself being invited to a wedding.

It was about 11am when I passed a guy in his seventies who pointed down the road ahead of me before throwing his arms out horizontally and twisting his hands in a kind of dance. Having seen a couple of cars go past in the morning decorated with ribbons, I guessed then that there was a wedding ahead. I very quickly got the impression that this guy was invited me to attend. He led me down the road and into the property where the event was being held. He found a spot out of the way where I could park my bike, and I suggested that I better put some pants on (bike shorts and a Muslim wedding not being the best combination). I threw on some pants and a clean(ish) t-shirt before being welcomed into the main covered area, which was decked out with a stage at one end and tables and chairs lining the sides. The tables themselves were decked out with plates of salad, fruit and bread, all covered in cling wrap. I walked in just as a group were sitting down at the table nearest the stage. I was invited to join them and realised I was being treated extra specially, as none of the other tables were being occupied yet. The fruit and salad platters were soon joined by round after round of barbequed meat, including chicken, lamb, beef and kebab. The vodka bottles got opened and I was soon clinking glasses repeatedly with new friends.

Until this point not a single word of English had been spoken. Then a guy leaned over from the other side of the table and said, ‘How are you?’ He was a musician in the band that was here to entertain everyone and I eventually learned that they are a famous Azerbaijani band that plays traditional music. He was soon joined by all the people that I’d eaten with. It was then that I realised they weren’t family, they were the musicians and singers that had come to entertain. They were eating first so they could perform while the guests ate. Their plates were cleared away and the table was reset anew. I stayed put as the seats around me filled with a new group of guys. Again, I got to feast on incredible food and be plied with alcohol. And the music and singing began.

It was at this point that a second person who spoke English made their acquaintance: a 13-year old kid named Rafiq. He became my close ally for the rest of the day, acting as translator and chaperone. It wasn’t long before the dancing started, and a shorter time again before I was pulled into the mix and found myself learning the basic steps of traditional Azerbaijani dancing. The rest of the day passed haphazardly. For a while I enjoyed being in the thick of the celebration, eating, dancing and drinking. As well as Rafiq, a few really nice men took me under their wing, so I never felt uncomfortable or out of place. In a way I was cut off from the bar when one guy became concerned about the number of vodka shots people were feeding me. Another guy looking out for me didn’t mind and we started sharing some sneaky ones.

After a while Rafiq dragged me out of the party zone for a break. It was nice to have a bit of a breather. We picked some pomegranates from a nearby grove and ate these in a quiet part of the garden. After another stint in the party, Rafiq invited me to go to ‘the lake’ for a swim. At first I declined, not really feeling like going for a swim in the middle of a wedding, but he insisted. As we were leaving a bit of drama erupted as two middle-aged men started having fisticuffs. We were gone before I saw what eventuated. The lake turned out to be a shallow river crossing with not enough water to go for a proper swim. We cooled our feet and mucked about a bit with the few kids that joined us.

By the time we returned to the wedding, things were quiet and the main party area was empty. I joined Rafiq and a few friends for some tea in a nearby area. Up until this point I’d been quite curious about why it was only men enjoying the party, but when we had tea I saw that there was a whole other area dedicated to girls. So the girls were having their own party at the same time. By this time it was around 5.30pm and with everyone having apparently left, I assumed the wedding was over. Being tired from riding and then the wedding activities, I began thinking about bed. I should have known I was getting way ahead of myself. It turned out people were just having an afternoon break and by 7pm the party was in full swing again. This time the girls and guys were together. The girls sat at the back of the main area while the guys occupied the front. As the band continued to sing and play, it became time for the dancers among the male guests to show off their moves. The simple steps that I learned earlier morphed into impressive manoeuvres. Each song increased in speed until only the very best among the dancers were able to keep up with proper steps.

I was happy to sit back and watch, but after too many invites to refuse, I got on the floor for one song, figuring it would stop people telling me to go up there. Soon the dancefloor cleared and formal wedding proceedings ensued. Four chairs were set up in front of a table that was decorated extravagantly with flowers, champagne and eventually a giant cake. Then came the groom’s entrance. As he walked in, a whole bunch of fireworks lining the red satin sheet on which he walked were lit, sending sparks flying. He sat down with three groomsmen and surveyed the room. The next step of the wedding saw round after round of guests paying him their well wishes, slipping some money into his front pocket and laying a red sash over his shoulder. There was some more dancing and then the cake was cut and distributed. And of course this was followed by even more dancing. The night ended around 11.30pm, twelve hours after I’d arrived. One of the nice men who had looked after me through the day (and his family, wife, son, three daughters) led me to his house. I thought we would crash right away, but we had some more food (tomato, flat bread, cheese, and chai) before bed. For once I appreciated the fact that we didn’t understand each other’s language, as I didn’t really want to stay up talking. When the food was gone, I brushed my teeth and went to the toilet, then stretched out onto a woven mat that had been laid out for me on the floor.

WEDDING!

Accommodation Home of a lovely family
Distance ridden today 30.08km
Average cycling speed 10.5kph
Total distance ridden 23,272km
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Day 894 (Azerbaijan Day 9)

Once again I’m sleeping under the stars. I found a spot to camp in a tiny, dry mud pit located along a depression that runs between two hills. I’m surrounded by a rolling landscape in various states of agriculture, but mostly tilled soil ready for new crops. Azerbaijan runs one hour behind Kazakhstan, so it feels like bedtime (which is sunset) is at a more suitable time for a camping lifestyle (7.30pm instead of 8.30pm). Of course, it doesn’t make any difference to the amount of sleeping time available, but it still feels better being ready for sleep before 9pm. There was nothing particularly special about the day’s ride. The most notable thing that happened was that a young lady pulled over ahead of me at one point and when I caught up she offered me a goody-bag containing a bottle of water, can of energy drink, freshly baked bread roll and a sweet fruit bread roll. It was pretty hectic getting out of Baku and the heavy traffic continued all day as I remained on the main road that runs west towards Georgia. I have less than 10km to go before I abandon the main road and take a quieter route south towards Iran. The landscape out here is dry and fairly barren, with only prickly herbs and small plants providing a light shade of green against the yellow-brown soil.

It’s a wild life

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 91.13km
Average cycling speed 15.4kph
Total distance ridden 23,242km
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Day 893 (Azerbaijan Day 8)

I’m finally feeling good enough to get back on the bike tomorrow and go adventuring again. I’ll spend the next week cycling southwards through Azerbaijan and into Iran. During my single trip out of the hostel I stocked on some food to get me through the next few days and withdrew some cash to pay for my stay in Baku. I have finally caught up on transcribing my diary entries, so can move forward without outstanding items hanging over my head. In the late afternoon I had an hour’s chat with my friend Yara, who had some good news to share. Rather than go for an evening walk, I decided to continue chilling out at home. I have just spent the last little while watching YouTube. I’m a sucker for X-Factor/Britain’s Got Talent videos. Thus ends my break from the bike. Tomorrow I once again venture into unknown territory as I return to a wilder lifestyle and continue to push my way towards Europe.

Last night

Accommodation $ Hostel
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 23,151km
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Day 892 (Azerbaijan Day 7)

My day today was almost identical to the day I had yesterday. I got up late, showered, breakfasted on muesli and then grabbed my laptop and worked on updating diary entries for a short time before putting on a movie. I woke up feeling worse than I did yesterday, so I didn’t mind being lazy yet again, figuring my body needs the rest. After lunch, I returned to my computer for a short time before the force of my headache and the lure of the bean bag and another movie became too strong to resist. It was about 5pm by the time the second movie of the day finished. Time for a walk. I passed through a part of the city I’d yet to venture and ended up in the beautiful old town. My mind was once again very active in the best kind of way, sorting through thoughts and feelings and plans and dreams. I brought my pencil and notepad along this time (whereas yesterday I had to type my thoughts out into my phone) and stopped intermittently to get my ideas down on paper. I am now super clear about my future and completely ready to venture down whatever path opens up come December when I find out whether I’ve achieved the unlikely and received a travel grant for more travel. I also have clear ideas about a new novel. I began to crave beer and pizza. Feeling good about my life, I granted myself these luxuries, finding a café that served both. It’s so nice eating out in an inner city café without spending a fortune. To complete my treat, I got an ice cream on the way home. I know these probably aren’t the best things to eat when I’m still feeling ill, but at the same time eating them made me feel good.

Baku

Accommodation $ Hostel
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 23,151km
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Day 891 (Azerbaijan Day 6)

Every now and then it’s nice to be lost in a big city. Tonight I found myself reflecting deeply about my life as I went for a walk along Baku’s waterfront, stopping every now and then at various park benches when I wanted to write down my thoughts. I am thinking more and more about my future as the end of the year approaches and I face a likely end to the personal savings that have supported my adventure thus far. A lot of disconnected thoughts about feeling lost and isolated came together into a sensible narrative that has allowed me to refocus my mind and be positive about the near future. The insights I gained make me feel as if hanging around in Baku longer than planned has been worth it. I didn’t get home until about 8.30pm. Having slept in, I’d spent the rest of the day transcribing diary entries from my notebook into my laptop and watching movies. I am still feeling a bit sick, though I think my stomach is starting to settle.

Pondering

Accommodation $ Hostel
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 23,151km
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