Caught in the rain
Qax Travel Blog› entry 440 of 658 › view all entries
People I met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)
The sun had just disappeared on the horizon as our bus trundled into the town of Qax. It was already starting to get chilly, so the 10 minute walk to Hotel Qax gave us the chance to warm up a bit. The town has roughly 12,000 citizens although only one hotel that we knew of, so there wasn't much room to bargain at the 10 Manat ($12.50) price tag on the room. Having settled in, we went and ate a dreadful meal in the attached restaurant, which cost 2 Manat ($2.50) for a frazzled bit of meat and chips. To make matters worse we both felt terribly ill after eating this muck. It would have been possible to finish this sorry helping in three mouthfuls, so we were forced to go out to buy some bread and cheese to make some sandwiches.
It was a gloomy morning when we left the hotel but we held out hope that it would clear up, as it had done on almost every other occasion of our stay in Azerbaijan. Our plan for the day was to begin with a trip to Ilisu, located 25kms away from Qax and then return to look at some old churches. This plan was scuppered when we arrived at the bus station to be told that there was no longer a 10.30 bus and we must wait until 12.00. We didn't want to wait so long, and as our trusty guidebook said that a ruined Albanian church was located a mere 3kms away, we figured that we could walk there and back in this time.
Crossing out of Qax via two rickety old bridges, Julia nearly managed to fall off the bridge, but just recovered her footing at the last moment.
The walk to the church was pleasant, as the road passed by a wood that was filled with trees covered in golden brown leaves. But there was no way that it was only 3kms away, as we walked for well over an hour to reach our location. The journey terminated up a steep path, with the church handsomely positioned facing out across a large plain with mountains in the distance.
Whilst the site of the church was idyllic, I was a little disappointed with the structure itself, which didn't really live up to its description.
Heading back towards Qax we were joined at different intervals by three hungry dogs who were all aroused by the food bag that we were carrying. As they were all well behaved we spared some bread for them, even though we hadn't even had chance to eat ourselves yet! The weather really couldn't make its mind up today and one minute it would be spitting and the next moment the sun would break through the clouds, but at least it was nice and cool, which made walking quite pleasant.
As the distance had been more like 5kms both ways, we didn't get back into Qax until 12.40 and as the next bus to llisu wasn't until 14.00 this at least gave us time to go to the bank and get some money. The problem was that both ATM's in town were switched off, both banks were closed and we couldn't find a currency exchange shop for love nor money. Walking back to the bus station we passed a nice old Russian church and then the heavens opened. As we stood under some shelter we made our mind up to skip Ilisu, as we only had 4 Manat ($5) to our name and this was really pushing it to get there and back and then on to Zaqatala where we knew there were at least two banks that we could try.
The rain still hadn't stopped 20 minutes later, so we donned out fetching yellow raincoats and made our way back to the hotel amidst countless stares and giggles.
What happened next was hilarious, as our taxi driver insisted that he wouldn't drop us 10 metres walk from the bus station, but would instead drive us around the town square so as he could leave us smack outside the ticket office. His little Lada chugged downhill to the bottom of the square and circled the roundabout, but then the car died as he tried to drive back uphill to the terminal. He'd only gone and run out of petrol! Whilst walking 10m would have been fine, walking 100m up the square was enough to get us soaking, so we stayed in the car as he pushed it to face back down the slope and then free wheeled it to the petrol station.