Hello Dear Readers!
So, after that most auspicious start to Baku, I felt that the country really had a lot to make up for.
Luckily, it did. The weird thing about Baku is that it’s chock full of (oil) money, which translates into some pretty insane buildings. Tiffany stores sparkled next to Lamborghini dealerships, which juxtaposed oddly with the crumbling Soviet blocs literally a few hundred yards down the road.
There’s so much construction going on right now, with huge, paved boulevards that are nearly empty. The whole place felt…a little dystopian, to be honest. Everything was perfectly swept, not a leaf out of place, and almost entirely vacant. It was a little weird, but also really cool. It felt like I imagine Dubai did about ten years ago, with gleaming buildings rising out of the skyline and the everyday man looking up, shrugging, and going on with his day.
Look, I’m not gonna lie to you guys. My trip there was all about excess. Too much food, too many drinks, too much walking and wandering and being ridiculous. I essentially had to roll myself out of the country only five days later.
Our first day we meandered around the whole city, walking around and exploring, goggling at the sheer alien-ness of it.
And then we ate at Marivanna.
This place. Let me tell you about this place. Here are the reviews on it, if you’re curious.
One of my best friends is a girl named Monica. She’s Polish, like, super Polish. And in my head, Marivanna is Monica’s grandma’s house.
It’s the most ridiculous, amazing, restaurant. Photos don’t do it justice. Comfort food warred with bouncy folk songs warred with antique dishes and lace doilies over every surface.
It was so good we went twice.
Look, my mouth is watering even thinking about it. Suffice to say it was delicious.
We also walked through the Old City and climbed the Maiden Tower, which provides a really great panorama over the city.
We ate dinner at Firuze, which has more excellent reviews. They even provided live entertainment!
I ate some Azerbaijani food that I can’t recall (meat? Potatoes?) because basically everywhere we went we asked the waiters to send us something and then ate whatever it was. But it was good, I promise.
Afterwards, we walked some more, eventually settling down for shisha and Nutella crepes (yes, in two different locations. Our itinerary was like “walk 100 steps. Sit for an hour. Repeat”).
Eventually we made it back to the hotel, with me falling immediately into sleep because if you’ll remember I had spent the night on a plane. I’m such a champ.
– Carissa “Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses” Rawson