Lahic Azerbaijan… After 4 days of exploring the old town of Baku, it was time to move to see the beautiful town of Saki, which is about a six-hour trip by private car. We managed to find a reasonably priced taxi to take us there, with a stopover in “Lahic” town to see the traditional coppersmiths at work. The driver was friendly and the drive was beautiful with a scenic mountain view. We were full of life and really enjoyed our adventure in this country. Lahic town is minimal but nice with cobblestones and old houses from wood. Since it was out of season, many of the shops were closed, and we hardly saw people there. We could not find any restaurant either. Luckily we got directions to a restaurant to fill in our hungry stomachs. We dined with fantastic mountain views in the open-air garden. What a splendid time we had. After eating, we explored the town on foot and watched the coppersmiths do their work.
Satisfied with our little detour, we continued the drive to Saki town. The drive was long but not too bad. The road was good and smooth but kind of boring since we could not see any scenery. It takes almost ten hours from Baku with a stopover in Lahic town. Once we arrived in Saki, it was dark and gloomy. There was not much to see around the town, and the rain started pouring slowly. So we just had dinner and rested in the hotel.
The next morning, it was time to explore the UNESCO site of the “Palace of Shaki Khans”. It was built in 1797 by Muhammad Hasan Khan. From outside the Palace, it looks quite small and not that interesting. However, there is a nice garden to enjoy outside the Palace. Once we stepped inside the building, it was eye-catching. The walls are full of mosaics. It was a shame we were not allowed to take pictures of the mosaics and the guide followed our footsteps all the way until we got out of the Palace building. The Palace was located high up the hill, at the foot of the mountain. It was a very pretty sight with many gardens and other museum buildings nearby. After that, we had lunch at one of the restaurants with a view of the mountain. The food was okay but the scenery was breathtaking. I could have stayed one night more at this place. It was so tranquil.
From there, we walked leisurely to explore the small town of Saki. We wandered inside the famous “Shaki Caravanserai”. I originally wanted to stay there, but luckily I booked the biggest hotel in town. Apparently, the Caravanserai Hotel is not operating at this time of the year, even though their restaurant is open for business. The building looks magnificent from the outside and beautiful from the inside. It has a big courtyard in the center of the pool. Four entries led to the yard, from all four corners of the buildings. To be honest, it was kind of spooky to be inside the building since it was only the two of us snooping around. We managed to see the unlocked room on the upper floor and it was really a dark and dungeon feel. I definitely did not want to stay overnight there.
From there we explored the inner side of the building. We could not see anybody inside, so we were free to walk everywhere. We went up and down the building and explored the labyrinth of the many empty rooms. We even got a bit lost and I felt shivers since it was dark, gloomy and so still inside the building. Caravanserai was built in the form of castles with one gate, and we had to go out from the same door we came in. No other way out, and I was worried those lights would turn off, and we would get lost in the dark since we did not bring any torch. Oh boy… my imagination went wild in the darkness…
The next day it was time to say goodbye to Saki. Our private taxi driver took us to the town of “Telavi” in Georgia with a stopover in “Zaqatala” town to see the old Russian fortress. The Fortress was impressive and huge, but it does not have a medieval charm. Apparently, we were the only guests for the day, and we had a tour guide with limited English showing us the area. We had fun chatting with Azerbaijan locals and enjoyed the tea at one of the restaurants.
After that, we crossed the border into Georgia and our driver recommended a small town called Sighnaghi. We were sold and off we went to visit this town. The town was small but very scenic and beautiful with cobblestones, an old fortress at the very top of the hill, churches, and wines. We really enjoyed this town and wished we could have stayed there….. We stopped at one of the boutique, hotel restaurants and had a strange cheesecake. The taste was okay but it was warm…..We called it Azerbaijan cheesecake since normally cheesecake is served cold.
Unfortunately, we arrived after dark in “Telavi” town. We decided just to have dinner at a nearby restaurant and explore the town tomorrow. It is wine time….. Oh boy… one bottle of wine gave me a headache. It was time for bed I supposed.
The medieval fortress and museum were closed for renovations when we explored in the morning. We stumbled across an art school that we thought was an art gallery. We just went in and the teacher showed us everything and introduced us to the classroom. What a wonderful experience to be able to interact with the students and locals in this place.
Finally, it was time for our trip to “Tbilisi”. We spent 3 days exploring Tbilisi and I still love it there. Apparently, the city has become more touristy compared with our trip there five years ago. More people speak English, and more shops and car rentals are on display along the street. It was a fantastic trip, and I am eager to return soon.