Places to visit in Azerbaijan

We booked a tour for the whole day which included the Mud Volcano, Gobustan Park, Fire Temple, Bibi-Hebyat Mosque and the Fire Mountain.

Mud Volcano

Land form that erupts mud and gas. There is no lava and the eruption is caused by hot water deep below the Earth surface. I highly recommend you visit it because it’s one of the most interesting places I’ve visited. Very unique experience.

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Gobustan Park

In 1930, a group of miners discovered the stone formations, carvings and man-made caves which is now available for the public to see known as the Gobustan Park.

There are approx. 6000 rock engravings and it believed it dated back 50,000 years. The place shows settles, burials and inhabited caves which were held during the period of the last Ice Age.

The engraved art works on the rock consisted of men, animals, dances, warriors and pictures of sun and stars. There are more but we didn’t really get to see them. The park is preserved by Azerbaijan government and it is registered with the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Highly recommend to visit the Gobustan Museum which is located near the ancient park. Over there you will learn a lot about the history and the objects which were used by the Homosapiens and about animals that inhabited the land once upon a time.

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Bibi-Heyat Mosque

The Bibi-Heyat Mosque is also known as ‘The Mosque of Fatima’. It is a historic mosque built during the 13th Century. The mosque includes the tomb of Ukeyma Khanum a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and is now a spiritual place for the Shia Muslims.

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Ateshgah

Baku Ateshgah also known as ‘The Fire Temple’. It is a religious temple in a town called Surakhani. The temple was a holy place for Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrian. The temple was built during the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Yanar Dag

Yanar Dag translates to Burning Mountain. Natural gas fire blazes on the hillside and the flames jet almost 3 metres high.

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You can visit all those 5 places in a day.

UK – Anchor Bleu’s Fish & Chips

I LOVE UK’s Fish & Chips and particularly Anchor Bleu’s. Thanks to my lovely mother in-law who invited us for Tim’s 28th Birthday. I really enjoyed the vibe, the service and the food.

If ever you stop by that area, please order their Fish and Chips and around the corner, there’s a cute souvenir and art gallery to check out.

The place is really cozy and feels like home.

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UK- The Bellions and the Deadly Hallows

Tim and I took a flying car to Warner Bros Studios and as we got there, we were welcomed by the Half-Blood Prince, who led us to the Chamber of Secrets, we were amazed and mesmerized by the magical world of Harry Potter.

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We both purchased the package tour which included the ticket, souvenir guide and the digital guide that explained the set in detail and included videos. We spent almost 4 hours in the studio and looked at the costumes, behind the scenes, green screens, every single detail from each and every movie. They entertained the Gryffindors (WUHUUU *High 5 if you are one), Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws and the Slytherins into wand competition and broom riding lol (I’m not quite sure if that is what it’s called)

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As we got to the platform of nine and three quarters, we ran towards the Hogwarts Express to escape the Dementors. We safely reached our destination, called the FOOD COURT and decided to take a break and have some Butter Beer.

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We continued our mystical journey through the world of the Dark Lord. We truly were shocked by every single detail and work that was put into the movie. Especially the drawings and architectural planning. We ended the tour with our mouths open staring at the 3D Model of Hogwarts.

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Before ending our adventure, we stopped at the Souvenir Store and bought wands. I’ve got Lord Voldemort’s and Tim’s got Dumbledore.

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That’s it for now..Oh well then …

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UK – Yes!!! We went to Top Golf AGAIN

Oh Watford we keep going back to you, well you gotta thank Top Golf for that.

So earlier that day, Tim and his friend Ryan planned to go karting while Gina (Ryan’s fiance) and I wanted to go and get our nails done. Unlike here in Dubai where you can be a walk-in, we were so unlucky, all the nearby spa’s were fully booked and that was on a weekday.

Anyway we stopped at an outdoor coffee shop that overlooks the river and enjoyed some Chinese tea with a slice of carrot cake on the side. Tim and Ryan followed us later and we all decided to play golf. Where? TOP GOLF OF COURSE.

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Ok! So if we actually went there twice that means WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.

After losing 3 times in a row in our last visit. This recent visit I managed to find the right golf putter and grip and won Tim TWICE!!! I never win if I play against Tim. So this is a glorified moment for me. HALLELUJAH

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Top Golf is the perfect place for hang out especially with friends. If you don’t know how to play, don’t worry about, it’s not a professional field anyway. Just have FUN.

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UK – Eat, Shop & Tour in South Sea & Portsmouth

Tim and I visited SouthSea Cafe twice during our second visit to the UK, once with the familia for lunch/ dinner to celebrate Steve’s (our brother in-law’s birthday) and Tim’s 28th. The following day, we had breakfast with my ex-colleague and her husband who settled in South Sea after living in Dubai for some time. The cafe serves delicious seafood and perfectly made Eggs Florentine.

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During our first visit, Tim, his mum ‘Shirley’ (who is reading my blog right now hehe! HELLOOO!!!) and I made a stop at Gunwharf before heading back to Hayling Island. She wanted to go shopping and buy shoes but instead, I ended up shopping because Gunwharf is like an outdoor outlet mall and the prices were so cheap compared to what I’d get in Dubai.

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On our second visit, right after breakfast Tim and I went back to Gunwharf to check out the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Yes! It looks like Burj Al Arab and is bought by Emirates. Although I come from Dubai and the view from the second floor isn’t that impressive, I’d still recommend the place because of the stunning view of the Ports, Hayling Island and Isle of Wight.

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After spending an hour there taking photos and admiring the view. We continued our journey to Chichester to spend the day with Tim’s dad.

LONDON – City of Inspiration and Creativity

Sadly we had 2 days in London which I personally think is not enough to explore the city. I believe if I  ever moved there, I will never get bored of that place. There are so many things to see and restaurants to try. We managed to be proper tourist and visited the main attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Eye, London Dungeons and Madame Tussauds.

During our second day in London, Tim and I visited Borough Market where we had Spanish oysters, Turkish coffee and French cheese. Later that day we met up with my friend Elise for dinner in Carnby. Tim and I also did some shopping at Harrods and Oxford Street. I was amazed by how many GGC nationals were there shopping, it felt I was back in Dubai.

The main thing I love about London is the blend of modern and history, similarly to what I felt about Istanbul. London is a perfect place to be creative; everything is spectacular like the architecture, roads, art, museums… I can go on and on. Speaking of museums, Tim is a physicist and is in love with science however on the other hand, C’EST MOI oh well I’m like Penny from The Big Bang Theory. So while strolling the streets of London, I asked Tim if he can take me to a museum. Tim just smirked and said ‘Oh I know where to take you’ and YES!! We ended up going to a SCIENCE MUSEUM. Ladies and Gentle, that’s my cheeky husband. Anyway I got to learn the history of vehicles and the only thing that amazed me in that museum was the glow in the dark room.

London is in my top 5 favourite cities in the world, I can’t wait for my next visit and explore more.

I LOVE LONDON

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Palestinian Refugee Visiting the UK

Before travelling to the UK, I had extremely low expectation of the country and especially London. Many factors led me to think like that, starting with the way I’m treated in Dubai, everyone I know complains about the British weather, also the stereotype that British people are as cold as their weather and finally the visa centre for giving me a hard time and rejecting my first application for minor reasons.

Anyhow, Tim and I landed in Heathrow airport and it was my first visit to the UK and amusingly the lady at the passport control counter cracked a joke about my travel document saying “it’s been ages I haven’t seen one of those”. FYI, I have a ‘travel document’ which is issued by the Lebanese Government for Palestinian Refugees and is still HANDWRITTEN. She also advised us that in our next trip, I get to stand in the EU/UK passport line. My reaction was ‘OMG! This is the first time anyone at passport control treated me in a  nice and respectful manner’. 

Besides the fact that my travel document is handwritten, it is only written in French and Arabic (يا الله / Oh Mon Dieu). The amount of crap I receive at airports and of course being interrogated and waiting for translators to translate my enormous booklet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud to be PALESTINIAN but passport control are just pain in the @$$.

After landing in London and passing immigration feeling like the queen of the world, everyone I interacted with was nice. It felt weird at first but later made me feel very welcomed. Before heading to Hayling, we stopped at a rent a car in London and everyone who worked there were a racial mix of Asians and Africans with a strong British accent.

After spending days in the country side, Tim and I decided to stay in London for 2 days before flying back to Dubai. Honestly, I was impressed by the lovely city, country and the British people. Everyone was friendly, helpful and polite. I fell in love with the people, British culture and the UK weather LOL.

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UK – A Day in Reading, Watford & Oxford

We planned a fun outing with Tim’s college friends Ryan and Gina who are extremely down to earth and are very friendly. We’ve organised an outing to hit some golf balls up at Watford, Hertz.

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Reading

Before heading there, Tim and I made a stop at Reading early in the morning for coffee and muffins and went for a walk around his area. He used to live there before moving to Dubai.

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Reading

After having our breakfast we headed to Watford to play golf at a place called ‘Top Golf’. Yeah! I looked like a complete loser but I enjoyed it.

 

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Top Golf, Watford

 

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After playing for hours, we decided to drive to Oxford for lunch and explore the area.

 

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Oxford

 

 

UK – 3 hours in Oxford

Oxford is a stunning historic city, although it’s gloomy there’s something about it. I view people from Oxford as highly educated and awfully posh.

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We manage to visit parts of the Oxford University and checked out a museum and library. While exploring the area, we stopped and bought burritos to eat while walking.

Oxford made me feel like I was in Hogwarts and in Oxford is where I had my first Portuguese Custard Tarts. Thank you Gina!

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UK – Inn on the Beach

After months of trying to select an inexpensive place to celebrate our nuptial, we then decided on a restaurant by the beach called ‘Inn on the Beach’. I never thought a set menu in the UK would cost more than a buffet in Dubai. It was very difficult to select a place but overall Tim and I were very pleased with our selection. The food was delicious and service was spot on.

It’s quite a cosy restaurant by the beach and has a wonderful view. The menu is great for a casual meal or a proper dish. Since being by the sea, I recommend to start with the smoked mackerel and have the fisherman’s platter for 2 and end it with a delicious toffee pudding.

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http://www.innonthebeach.co.uk/