Logbook: Ganja Week of 4/1

TRAVEL NEWS

Local time: 7pm

Time zone: +4

How far did we travel this week?

Baku to Ganja, Ganja to Tbilisi, Tbilisi to Ozurgeti.

How far have we traveled on our journey so far?

1750 km. 1 Kilometer is about .62 miles. Can you do the conversion?

How did we get around this week?

This week, I traveled mostly bus and by foot.

What was the most interesting place we visited this week?

The most interesting place I visited this week was the Bottle House in Ganja! When a man’s brother went missing in World War II, he had a dream about a house made entirely of glass bottles. He decided to build this house, hoping that if he did, his missing brother would hear about it and come home. He made the house out of bottles donated by people who had weddings and parties. His brother never came home, but the grand daughter of the builder still lives there and tells this story.

This weeks travel news:

Ganja Park

This week I traveled from Baku to Ganja by bus. It was really hard to catch a bus though!  This week is Novrus, a holiday, so many Azeri’s were going home from the city. It took us two hours to catch a bus from the station because they were all full. We almost decided to get a taxi, but that would have been expensive.

We got to Ganja at 11pm and were immediately invited to a Novrus party. We stayed in Ganja for 4 days, traveling to a couple villages nearby. After Ganja, we travelled to the Georgian border by taking two buses. We had to walk across the land border. When we got to the other side, we were swamped by Georgian taxi drivers. Two polite Azeri men tried to help us find a bus, but at the last minute, the bus driver decided to change his destination. This sounds like a strange problem, but it’s not unusual here. The bus driver will drive wherever the most people are going so he can make the most money.  We took a taxi to Tbilisi and stayed the night in a hostel. Right now, I’m on a marshrutka to Ozurgeti. Do you remember me telling you about marshrutkas? I will be “home” in six hours.

NATURE NEWS

Weather:

It was sunny all week! Right now it’s 14°C. Can you convert that to Fahrenheit? You can research the mathematical conversion.

Animals:

I met a sweet cat at a Russian orthodox church. She was immediately friendly. I also saw many shepherds with flocks of sheep, especially as I was on my way to the Georgian border. The land there was so beautiful with rolling mountains, pale green fields speckled with furry white dots of sheep, and freshly tilled earth, ready for spring planting.

A lot of nature in both Georgia and Azerbaijan is covered in trash because people don’t know that it hurts the environment. They haven’t learned about it like you do in school. However, this part of the country was litter free and it was so much more beautiful because of that.

OUR NEWS

What languages are spoken here?

Azeri, some Russian, and a little English.

What type of money is used here?

The manat is the type of currency. It consists of 100 qəpik. The words are borrowed from Russia because Azerbaijan was ruled by Russia for many years. 1 manat is worth 1.27, so it’s value is actually stronger than a dollar.

How much does a bottle of water cost? $.65

What was the best meal this week?

Rolling hills of Ganja

Baklava! It’s a diamond shaped sweet, traditionally made for the Novrus holiday. I brought back a whole box for my host family because it’s so delicious. It’s made with honey, sugar and thin layers of pastry. Baklava from Ganja is specially made in a copper pan over an open fire. It’s glazed with orange frosting and has an almond on top. It’s so rich that I usually cut it in half and share it with someone.

What music did we listen to this week?

On Thursday, there was a big Novrus celebration. We went to a concert in the park. Since Ganja is the second biggest city, they had some very famous Azeri musicians. I heard Azeri pop music, folk music and opera music. All of them used traditional instruments to accompany the singer as well as heavy, loud bass.

Then, we met up with some local university students. They very graciously invited us to their house and we got to see a performance on the Garmon, the Azeri version of the accordion. When they played a traditional wedding song, his father started to dance as well! It was a lot of fun.

The bottle house

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