Now that we are in spring and the weather is much more enjoyable, the program that I am in has begun to organize group trips again. About two weeks ago my classmates and I set off on yet another 6+ hour bus drive through the winding mountain roads of Azerbaijan. Having been in-country for 8 months now I was actually familiar with the names of the places we were going to and our first stop was Lahıç. Lahıç is a town village that was described to me as the old Baku. The village is lined with stone houses with fine carpentry, cobble stoned streets, and friendly people. The people that live in this village speak a language that is similar to Farsi as they heritage is rooted in the Persian Empire. The village is also known for their blacksmithing. Along the streets there were many blacksmiths displaying their metal work. It was interesting being there and not being able to communicate well with Turkish/Azerbaijani. Nonetheless it was a new place and I am happy I had the opportunity to visit it.
The next stop on our trip was a larger town called Qebele. It is difficult to classify places outside of Baku as cities, because they are usually empty and not very developed. Some of the more tourist places like Qebele can be classified as a town. Anyway, Qebele is known for its beautiful mountains. There is not much there but the nature is quite amazing. During the winter the town because popular for those that enjoy winter sports like skiing. In the spring it is popular for hikers and campers. There is a cable cart that goes up the mountains providing an amazing view of the surrounding area.
After the cable carts we started making our way to Gence the former capital of Azerbaijan. On the way we stopped at a roadside cafe like place we decided to eat our leftovers from the night before. We were greeted by a very hospitable family and enjoyed the scenery around us.
When we arrived in Gence it was already nighttime, but we still had two more activities on our program which were touring the city and going to a Azerbaijanian home and eating a traditional dinner. We were greeted by a woman and her daughter and sister. They had prepared a wonderful full course Azeri dinner. There was Plov, Sarma, Chicken, Ribs, dessert, tea, and many more things.
The last stop on our trip before we made our way back to Baku was a lake called Göygöl. The lake is in a national park and you have to take a car to get to the national park. Once at the park we begin our walk to the lake. The lake was incredible, it was turquoise in color, surrounded by a dark green forest and a few kilometers away from the base of an amazing mountain range.