Qobustan Travel Blog› entry 9 of 26 › view all entries
Mountainous Gobustan, home of the famous Azeri cave drawings, the sonorous tambourine stone and a stone with an inscription written in Latin (also, the furthest east such an inscription has ever been found). Sounds fun, right? Well, I actually never did see any of that. While the majority of the volunteers were in the museum or with the guide hearing an explanation of what went in there in centuries past, Chris, Brandy and I decided instead to go exploring ourselves.
We didn’t find any cave drawings, but we did find a group of Azeri people having a picnic. They invited us to a very nice lunch of fried chicken (his own recipe no less), bread and vodka. For some reason they gave me a lot more vodka than Chris. Since Brandy is a girl, she wasn't offered any vodka as it would have been impolite for her to drink any of it.
Our new friends directed us to a ladder going up the face of a cliff. The metal ladder looked a bit old and about a third of the way up my fear of heights kicked in. I almost got down and went back, but Brandy talked me through it and I got to the top. Wow.
The trip up was easily worth it though. The large plateau was sparsely vegetated but the wind was nice, it wasn’t too hot and you could see for miles. We found our way to another side of the cliffs and sat for about a half hour looking out across the Caspian Sea and a vast and empty valley. It was a very relaxing place.
Soon it was time to go, and since I went up the ladder I had to go back down the ladder. The fear was intensified by about four times as I went back down the rickety old metal ladder.
Still, if you are ever there, I would recommend the hike up the side of the mountain. Even if you don’t use the ladder, there are plenty of places in the cliff face where you could easily get up and down if you were to have any climbing experience (which sadly I do not). It is a beautiful view. If you feel bad about not seeing the cave drawings, just realize that in every corner of Azerbaijan you can find a picture of them.
Afterwards, we all got into the busses and headed towards the mud volcanoes.
Other than the fact that everybody and everything needs to let gas out occasionally, I don't know any more about the geological processes that power these so called volcanoes. The volcanoes themselves would be crater like pits on top of small hills. The craters were full of mud and would periodically let out bubbles of gas of some sort. At one point there were at least 50 peace corps volunteers on top of one of the larger hills waiting for the "big one."
I don't know if it ever came though because I was hanging out by a pool of water that was cool to the touch, but constantly bubbling. Weird.
The trip was very enjoyable.