Azerbaijan - Road to Xinaliq

Azerbaijan Adventures, Part 8

After our little pakhlava break, we finally reach Quba, the capital of the homonymous district in mountainous northeastern Azerbaijan. Capital is a big word for a town of less than 40,000 that you can visit in half a day, but this is the gateway for small villages much higher in the mountains, such as the […]

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Azeri Food - Quban Pakhlava

Azerbaijan Adventures, Part 7

It’s been almost 3 months since I last wrote about my adventures in the Caucasus. All this time, I’ve been planning to talk about the various kinds of baklava in Azerbaijan (locally known as pakhlava), but the task turned out to be harder than I anticipated. There are almost as many kinds of pakhlava as there […]

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Azerbaijan - Road to Quba

Azerbaijan Adventures, Part 6

After entering the Quba region, the landscape changes rapidly and the climate becomes more suitable for cultivation. All the way to the town of Quba are scattered roadside vendors, whose stands range from the roof-covered small business to the handful of precarious wooden shelves. What’s in season? Mostly tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, cabbage, watermelon, peaches, and […]

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Azerbaijan - Road to Quba

Azerbaijan Adventures, Part 5

In today’s installment, we’re leaving Baku and heading to the mountainous region of Quba. But before we get there, we’ll have a look at the quintessential post-Soviet landscape on the road outside the capital, near Sumqayit. Here’s how the Traiblazer Azerbaijan Guide describes Sumqayit: “Until 1940 Sumqayit was a village of 4,000 souls set on an idyllic curve of white […]

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Azerbaijan - Baku - Mugam Club Restaurant

Azerbaijan Adventures, Part 3

Adventure is a big word for today’s post. Sure, it mostly takes place in caravanserais and some of the meals were of epic proportions, but I’m still just talking about restaurants and food. After our short trip to Nakhchivan, nest of spies, we’re back in Baku, ready to enjoy the opportunity to eat something other than lamb […]

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Road to Ordubad

Azerbaijan Adventures, Part 2

Reading about the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in a travel book leaves you under the impression that the place suffers from acute spying paranoia. Here’s what the Traiblazer Azerbaijan Guide (now in its 4th edition) has to say: “while local people are very friendly and hospitable, the same can’t be said for the police and officials […]

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Ordubad - Shora Cheshme Restaurant - Kitchen

Azerbaijan Adventures, Part 1

It’s been a long time since I last posted about my adventures in the Caucasus, and the Azerbaijan stories promise to be plentiful. I’d like to start this series with a quintessential Azerbaijan experience: the outdoor restaurant. This humble place, which always follows the same principles whether you’re in the mountains, arid plains, or shady […]

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Stepanakert - Papik Tatik Monument

Armenian Adventures, Part 5

The last part of our Armenian Adventures takes us to Nagorno-Karabakh, a de facto independent but unrecognized state within Azerbaijan (I’m sticking to the Wikipedia entry to avoid debates). Before heading to Karabakh, we made one last stop at the Goris market and nearby stores, where the usual Armenian produce (peppers, eggplant, zucchini, beans, radishes, tomatoes, […]

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