Country #98 - Azerbaijan

The Airport

When I arrived in Baku, Azerbaijan I was amazed by the very modern and new airport. It was so cool! It only made me sadder that due to my missed connection that I would no longer be able to see the city as it is known for its modern architecture similar to the airport. I definitely enjoyed my time at the airport, though! I spent a while taking pictures and enjoying it before heading to my gate.

Security and immigration were both more interesting than usual. In the security line there was this device that scanned your feet. You would put one foot on it, it would beep, and then you would put the other. I’m not quite sure what it was for but having been through security all around the world I thought I had seen everything - but apparently not! Then, going through immigration, I had to explain that I was traveling to Yerevan, Armenia, through Moscow. The immigration officer asked if I knew that Azerbaijan and Armenia are engaged in a conflict. I was expecting some questions of course, but it was still just an interesting situation to be in. Of course I knew that they were in conflict, why else would I be flying five hours out of the way, with a five-hour layover in between, for what should be a simple hour-long flight. Because of the conflict, though, there are no flights or other methods of transportation between the countries.

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After immigration, I was in the departures area. There was this really interesting part of what were called “cocoons”. They each had something inside like a restaurant, spa, or even a library! It was one of the most unique airport setups that I have seen. They also had a sleeping pod area which was cool to see! It would have definitely come in handy to have had those last night.

While the airport and my interactions in Baku had been really great, it was quite weird to be approached by a guy while walking through the terminal and asked where I was from, with the follow-up question being if I was married. I shook him off pretty easily but it will never not be weird to be asked that question even though it happens quite often in some of the regions that I have been to.

I was able to find the airport lounge which was, of course, in another cool part of the airport. I had about an hour to spare (which definitely would not have been enough time to go into the city) that I used to catch up on emails before heading off on a long flight to Moscow. My flight was 2.5 hours and I landed to a ton of snow in Moscow. Because would it really be Russia without the snow? I had almost five hours to wait but I found a nice lounge to wait in that had good internet and was comfortable as well. It was a long five hours but I was at least able to get a lot done!

The flight boarded only a little late which was amazing given how much it was snowing. But I guess Moscow is used to the snow! It was a full flight but I fell asleep almost immediately and slept all the way until the plane landed. That doesn’t happen too often; only when I am beyond tired.

When I landed in Yerevan I was once again questioned about traveling to both Azerbaijan and Armenia. They asked why I had traveled to Azerbaijan (tourism) and why I was traveling to Armenia (again, tourism). So it wasn’t a big deal either time, but just really interesting to see how that conflict is quite prevalent in everyday life. I used a taxi app similar to Uber (called GG Taxi) to go to my hotel, and it was almost four times cheaper than the price airport taxis try to scam tourists by charging. I arrived around 6am and fell asleep immediately. Special thanks to Tufenkian Heritage Hotels for sponsoring this night of my trip! I was exhausted and it was so nice to have a very nice room to crash for a few hours. It’s been a long day of travel, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Armenia tomorrow!

98 countries down, 97 to go.

For more information on Azerbaijan click here to read my guide.

To learn more about Tufenkian Heritage Hotels click here.