I’m going to write about a trip we took from Baku to Sheki. This is the think which for sure I will not forget.
But firstly, I have to admit that trains are one of my hobby, and I used to spend a lot of time following the news form around the world about new models or new infrastructure. That’s why I was looking forward to see how does the railway transportation looks like in Azerbaijan.
We ware about to go to Sheki, which is more less 300 km on the west from Baku. After whole day of visiting the city, we met at 28 may metro station, from where we went to situated very near, main railway station.
Old Baku railway station
First thing which surprised me on the station, was the fact that to enter to a train it was needed to show passport, it was the very first difference between what I was used to while traveling by train in Europe. The trip was going to take 9 hours, we entered around 10 pm, so we were about to spend the whole night in there.
It was my first time using couchette car, I used to travel by trains a lot, but never on such long distance by night. Anyway, I had no idea what should I expect. I’ve entered a train, which was divided into little rooms without doors, so there was no way separate. In each „room” ware 6 bunks, two ware parallel to the train direction and situated on the right side of corridor, one above another, so to get to the high one you needed to climb. On the left side were four bunks, two at the bottom was used as a couch during a day and another two was above them.
As a 1.90-meter guy I felt in the train a bit claustrophobic, I was sure that I’m not going to suit in tiny and too short bunk and in my opinion in this train there were too many people. But the biggest fear was the heat, the windows couldn’t be opened. Fortunately, the air condition started working as soon as the train started.
When only we left the wind city, the view outside of the winnow had changed a lot, we left beside us all the skyscrapers and old sandstone buildings and for the first time we saw oil fields.
Oil field near Baku (photo taken when returning from Sheki)
According to our tradition we started train party. Another thinks which surprised me a lot was that the train was making cigarettes breaks. Sometimes it was on the stations where I could went out and enjoy the fresh air for a few minutes, but sometimes it was in the middle of nowhere, where just the doors were open and we had half a minute to finish the cigarettes. I have never experienced something like that in Europe.
Around 1 a.m. we felt asleep. When we woke up it was 6 a.m. and the landscape was totally different. For the first time in my life I’ve seen Caucasus mountains.
After an hour we finally reached the destination point.
After all surviving my first couchette trip, I managed to fit in a bit to short bed, and seen breath-taking pictures of Azerbaijani steppes and mountains. I have to say that when I entered a train I was very suspicious about how am I going to make it, but after all, I find this experience very interesting.
Albert Kolodziejczyk, Poland
22 July 2016