I arrived in Baku on Thursday 22nd with a broken bicycle, after chancing my luck day before, preying that I would make it the next 200 km. This time the bottom bracket had given up and it was unrideable.
I have had a strange relationship with luck since I started my journey. I have had a free, hotel room, apartment by the sea, and copious meals. Not to mention escaped a few very close calls. But when it concerns my bike, I am quickly working my way through every conceivable problem possible. On the brightside, I’m learning a few bits about bike maintenance.
After feeling incredibly disappointed that I was forced to take a bus to cover the last 150km, I jump into a cab and head over to the biggest dairy manufacturer in Azerbaijan. Unbelievably, my Dad had contacted a British couple living in Baku, that he has driven for, a few days prior. He tells them about my journey, to see if they may be able to help, should I get stuck in the city.
Phil and Carol responded with incredible generosity, opening their home up to a complete stranger, and all of his dirty luggage. Only, I was two days early and hadn’t been able to let them know that I was en-route.
Nevertheless, Phil was at work and after a brief introduction, I find myself in a car and on my way to his home. I’m greeted by a warm West Country accent, two excited dogs, Buddy and Bella, and ushered into my home for the next few days.
I say home, because that’s exactly how I have been treated. Within seconds I had my clothes chucked in the wash, bags laid out in my room, and I’m standing under a hot shower. The smell probably had something to do with the speed.
I have been fed, and fed again, with amazing home cooked British food, and even peanut butter!!! To top it off, Phil returns from work with two tickets to the F1 qualifiers. Amund, who I regretfully left at the side of the road the day before, arrives a day later, to be welcomed in with the same kindness.
After an exciting weekend at the F1, great food and amazing company, I am now waiting to receive a Visa for Uzbekistan to continue my journey East. As soon as it’s granted, I will head to Aktau Kazakhstan, by boat, cycle into Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and back into Kazakhstan. Where, I will try and get a Chinese visa to continue to Shanghai.
It could take anywhere between 5-10 days to process, so it’s a bit of waiting game now. But I have the bike back from the shop and have some time to tweak a few things here and there, and im staying with the best people in Baku!