Breathtaking views without the bear

Lahic Travel Blog

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People I met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)

It was still dark when I crawled out of bed at 06.15, but at least I didn't have to worry about taking a shower - as we didn't have one accessible to us! By 06.30 we were in the deserted streets and heading to a small roundabout, where a beat up old orange bus was waiting to make the journey from Ismayilli to Lahic. Wrapped up in hat, gloves and coat we huddled together on the cold leather seat waiting for 07.00 when the bus was due to set off. The journey took 75 minutes and passed some lovely scenery, although I was still a little bleary eyed to fully appreciate it.

Lahic is a small mountain village with 1800 citizens who speak an incomparable language that is somewhat a cross of Farsi and Azeri.

Local coppersmiths are renowned for producing high quality products and they can be viewed at work in many of the small workshops along the main road. Whereas Xinaliq had the jaw dropping scenery, I will remember Lahic for its wonderful stone houses and narrow cobbled streets. If you put Lahic's houses in Xinaliq's location, you would probably have the most beautiful place on Earth.

Starting in the town square we followed the main road through the village and at a gentle pace we reached the far end in 45 minutes, with plenty of photo stops. Horses were being ridden though the streets, whilst cows meandered down other thoroughfares. At times there was certainly the feeling of stepping back in time, but then a battered old Lada would destroy this idyllic notion, as it sputtered past us.

Having walked back through the village we stopped at a chaykhana for a pot of warm tea. Often tea houses in Azerbaijan are reserved for men only, but normally they make exceptions for foreign women and this place was no different. Julia is probably the most clumsy person that God ever put on the face of this Earth and she managed to knock her tea all over the table. This got the old Azeri men grumbling about why they let a woman into the place and see what trouble it brought. I found this quite amusing and when we left shortly afterwards I gave Julia plenty of ribbing about it. As I write this, she somehow just fell into the wall and twisted her thumb! I don't know how she manages to do it, but its a 'talent' that I'm glad that I don't have.

Lousy Planets advice was to pay 15 Manats ($18.
75) for a taxi back to Ismayilli, so as you could make stops along the way for photos. As it was only 10.30 and the sun was just rising above the mountains and we had nothing else to do, we decided that we would begin walking back down the valley and see how far we could get before the 12.30 bus passed us. The walk was all downhill and offered some breathtaking views, as cliffs sprouted from the valley basin, where a river snaked its way down from the mountains. The bus didn't pass by until 13.45, by which time we had almost walked the entire length of the valley, so we jumped on it for the last 20 minutes back to Ismayilli. This only cost us 1 Manat ($1.25) each, so it saved us $16.25 and gave us the chance to take a fantastic walk. Budget backpackers really should take LP's 'guidance' with a pinch of salt, as nine times out of ten there is a cheaper and more enjoyable way of travelling.

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photo by: tj1777