The ride from Sumgayit to Shamkir was not bad. It was just 8 hours of mostly non excitement. I went with my friend Alise who moved to Agstafa (north of Shamkir, very close to Georgia) and her new boss, Aladdin. Aladdin came down with his own car to pick us up. We packed the car until it was FULL, and our road trip began!

Aladdin and his magic carpet (car)

We got on the road heading west and just drove. Where American highways are multi-lane with dividers and with many food and bathroom exits, Azerbaijan holds no comparison. The highway is like a regular “surface” road that a person in the US would live on. It is paved, has 2 lanes—one for each direction of traffic—with possible a line down the center. The highway splits into 3 when leaving Baku. One can go straight north, west, or south. We took the road west through Agsu, Goychay, Yevlax, and Ganga to Shamkir. The only “exists” were side restaurants and the occasionally split in the road. Side restaurants are Tea Houses. We stopped at one in the mountains to eat at.

The Tea House or "Restaurant"

 The landscape varied as we drove west. As we left behind the city of Baku, the ground became brown, trees disappeared, and houses and people were scarce. Then we started heading up hill. The road winds through the mountains, and instead of barren, the view is scenic. The landscape changed to forests (not lush forests though, Azerbaijan “forests”) and green. And so the rest of the trip went: barren, green, random town, barren green, big random town… Fortunately, I slept most of the way.

A fruit stand on the side of the highway. We ate pomegranits here