Overnight train to Tbilisi $26
Atashgah Fire Temple
Since we had been so busy yesterday, we took things slowly this morning. We met an Australian woman staying at our hotel who had recently come from Tbilisi, and she recommended a hotel. After breakfast at the bakery down the street we left our laundry with the lady at the hotel. We only had one other sight we had wanted to see, the Fire Temple in nearby Suraxani. We went by the station again to check on the local train, but weren't able to find one, so we hopped in a cab again. Suraxani is located east of Baku
, about halfway to the airport. The only attraction is the Zoroastrian Fire Temple, still in use by worshippers. The natural flames have been replaced with piped in gas these days.
Atashgah Fire Temple
There were several displays at the temple explaining the history of fire worship and locations of other fire temples throughout the Middle East and India. It was blazing hot by this point, when we wandered across the train tracks. A blighted wasteland lay before us, abandoned oil derricks stretching to the horizon, rusting piles of metal amid pools of garbage and oil.. the amazing thing was there were people living amid all this. We returned to Baku, found an internet place, then went back to the hotel to collect our bags and laundry. We were soon off to the train station for the overnight train to Tbilisi. We arrived early and they were not yet allowing people on the train. It was quite warm even though it was almost 8 PM. I wandered up to the front of the train, past other passengers with mounds of luggage, glass bottles, and live chickens. The engine was an old Soviet style workhorse. Finally they allowed us onboard at 8PM for the 8:25 depature; but once inside the cabins were sweltering hot and smelled like a sweaty sock. We had bought first class tickets ($23). Each cabin held two people, with blankets provided, and was in good condition. The train actually departed ontime, and finally with the corridor windows opened the cabins started cooling down. There was one other tourist in our car, an Israeli. The train was scheduled to arrive in Tbilisi around 10:30 AM the next morning.