June 25, 2009 GMT

After our first slightly troublesome border crossing, as much because of the heat as anything else, we headed through Azerbijan pretty quickly as lots of it is scruffy roadside population, and its all pretty flat so there's not too much to make you stay. We had only been given 3 days to get our bikes into customs to leave Azerbijan on the ferry at Baku, even though our own visas had plenty of time. So we just stayed one night in Ganca, where we recovered at the hotel Lyuks.

Everyone uses the main road to Baku, ducks and geece included.

We made it to Baku and after getting our bearings found Farid, a local biker who took us to the hotel where he worked and basically went out of his way to help us find the port etc. Top bloke, look him up at the Red Lion hotel if you're ever in Baku. Our room in Baku had a picture of the Tyne in it, fate at work?! Baku is a world away from the rest of Azerbijan. All the money is concentrated here, its like a crazy version of Paris or Milan.

For the first time, I thought I may have found a mode of transport better than a motorbike...

This is the maiden's tower

...and the view from the top

We met up with fellow overlanders Nathan and Russ for a few beers. Here they are in their natural habitat ordering kebabs!

Baku also has plenty of fountains, but they often aren't switched on! Here's a lucky moment!

Farid and his mates took us out for special kebab. Unfortunately I had started what has become a long running battle with my stomach and wasn't able to enjoy very much of it!

It was a national holiday and at the nighttime festivities the fountains were in much better mood.

It was time to head for the ferry and Turkmenistan. On the way I noticed that Mr Smurf's fame was preceding him...

After waiting all day for the ferry to dock we got underway at 3 in the morning having lashed our bikes down.

The ferry is a train freight ferry not meant for passengers and this photo describes it perfectly.

The ferry takes 15 hours to cross the Caspian sea but we were on it for 2 days and 2 nights because the port at Turkmenbasy was busy. The traffic jam was all too obvious.

The crew resorted to catching their dinner from over the side. We were nearly at the stage of doing the same, there is no food or drinks provided for passengers, if you haven't brought it with you you're pretty much stuffed.

Posted by David Newman at June 25, 2009 03:37 PM GMT

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