Obtaining a visa for Azerbaijan is one challenge, visiting the country is another one.
These events took place in August 2012, before I started Henriktravel.com.
I arrived at the Georgia-Azerbaijan border in the afternoon, but was denied entry as my visa was only valid for the following day. A detail the consulate forgot to tell me. This was really unfortunate, as I had to go all the way back to the capital of Tbilisi. There was absolutely nothing to do in and around the border area.
I arrived back in Tbilisi and the went down to the metro to take it back to Marriott, where I had checked out in the morning. I explained my situation and they were very kind, gave me my room back and a late check out, mainly due to my Marriott Rewards status. In the evening I took the next bus to the border and succesfully entered Azerbaijan. I arrived 10 minutes before midnight and talked with friendly immigration staff. I asked them about transportation options to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, located 500 km. from the border. I was told, that it would be impossible to find any kind of transportation from the border to anywhere and I would have to take a taxi all the way. Not the news I wanted being on a very low budget.
They were right. On the other side of the border there was absolutely nothing. I was standing there alone with no cars, no people, a quite scary feeling. Completely dark. I waited and didn’t knew what to do. After 10 minutes I see a car coming towards me. I decide to try my luck and hitchhike, but I wasn’t lucky. The car didn’t stop. 10 seconds later, it did stop and I was on my way on a journey to the unknown.
I have hitchhiked many times, but this was the first time at night. A man and a woman is in the car and don’t speak a word of English. The man made a quick call, talked for 1 minute and gave me the phone. “Hello I’m an English teacher, my friends are worried about you, can they take you to their house?”. It was a really nice surprise. They took me to their house, offered me a drink and invited their neighbors and I told them my story with the english teacher on the phone translating. I was offered to stay and take the first bus in the morning, but I did have a hotel in Baku waiting for me 500 km. away. One of the neighbors calls his brother, which is a taxi driver and I was offered the ride to Baku right away for a bottom low 20 dollars. The trip to the capital was an adventure and he picked up a few random people on the way, to make it up for my low price.
In the early morning I arrived safe in Baku, checked into my hotel, had a few hours of sleep and experienced the hotel for a few hours so I could do a fair review. I then continued to my next hotel before exploring the city. A truly great travel adventure in a country with very friendly people and certainly worth a visit.
Visa on arrival is possible at Baku International Airport with an Electronic Visa. Victory Tour is highly recommended. www.victorytour.az/en