Ever heard of Gobustan? Baku? Lahic or Khinalug?
Yeah, I had a vague memory that Baku was a city somewhere in central Asia but I couldn’t have told you it was a capital city, and probably could not have linked it with Azerbaijan off the top of my head.
But now, all of a sudden, I really want to go there.
After browsing through Snarky Nomad‘s posts about slurpy, gurgly mud volcanoes, the old- city charm of Old Baku, the “exclave” of Nakhchivan, how the country is home to the world’s largest KFC, I am itching to see these sights for myself.
Perks of visiting a “lesser known country,” include less of an established tourist economy and some of the irritations that can go with it, not to mention inflated prices. But here is one that Snarky Nomad brings up and that i did not immediately think of:
“I think there’s also a tendency for certain lesser-known countries, especially those with conflicted histories whose presence in the news is usually tragic, to show you a side of their country the world doesn’t often see.”
And then he tells the story of his first 24 hours in Nakhchivan and how many folks volunteered to feed him, show him around, or just invited him to hang out a local ‘pub.’
Isn’t that so interesting? I never really thought of it like that, because some of the lesser-known corners I have been to have also been cut off (intentionally or by default) by the wider world with the result that they were also disconnected enough from global information systems to prevent them from understanding just how unusual their situation might be for foreign visitors. Sure, at times this can result in fewer travel comforts or amenities, and less ATMs, but that is pretty much a guarantee of a more fascinating travel experience, provided you sprinkle in a just a smidge more open-mindedness than you might usually need to…
‘Snarky’s’ take is that the experience is richer for everyone and not just the traveler. I loved his conclusion:”But maybe that’s exactly why you should go. Because not so many people visit, and the people love to have guests.”
So…Who’s with me? Azerbaijan or bust!