Across Continents

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For a few dollars more…

Final instalment of Baku’s armchair adventure. Hopefully….

I’d barely got the ticket in my hand when the phone rang. There was a ship. Sailing soon, exactly when no-one was quite sure, but today certainly. I wasn’t surprised. The previous day I’d returned to the port, volunteered a small fee to help cover miscellaneous expenses. Remarkable how a ferry suddenly turns up. Coincidence I’m sure. Actually, I’d discovered that there’s probably rather more ships plying the route to Kazakhstan than you might be led to believe. Try about once a week in the summer, sometimes more frequent.

But none of this mattered anymore. No longer need I dwell on the fact that offer a small fee and you find there’s a second ticket office close by. I’d found a flight from Baku to Atyrau, the Sunday afternoon slot a few dollars more than the best offer for the ferry. Arranged through a Georgian travel company, not Azeri. Emma’s not keen on flying, but I’d been assured she’d be well looked after. And this option places me at the northern tip of the Caspian, where I’d originally hoped to be. Saves me around a thousand extra kilometres, and gives me a fighting chance of cycling the vast majority of Kazakhstan and still making the Chinese border in time for my visa.

I’m a bit disappointed at not sailing across the Caspian, but the primary objective is to cycle across Asia, not indulge in a passage on the high seas. And as for the intellectual challenge of securing a ship to Kazakhstan? Box ticked the moment the phone rang.

Intrigued as to what’s actually been going on? Coming this way yourself? Then wait a few days and all will be revealed. At least, my own assessment of the situation. Reckon I’ve researched my facts pretty carefully, got a good measure of how things work here, just putting the final touches to the post…

[With considerable thanks to Aysel for doing her level best to extract information from the ferry company. Brian for being such a great sounding board and, together with his daughter Savannah, a very generous host. Paul and Hammid for help obtaining an air ticket to Atyrau. Silvana, Johan and their friends for exploring the possibility of boarding other ships. Mark and my parents back in the UK for lots of helpful suggestions. And a few other friends who prefer to remain anonymous. Solo riding, team effort]

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