My next stop was Qabala / Gabala (both spellings are used). This is a very popular tourist destination and it is not without reason.
This town is about 225 kilometers from Baku and takes about 3 hours by road. It is popular holiday destination for Baku residents also.
We started at about 9 a.m. The day was sunny. Once we were out of city limits of Baku the topography reminded me of Dubai – Abu Dhabi road. The only difference was that, Azeri government has planted many trees in this area and after few years from now, the trees would have grown.
We did climb some hills and we entered Qabala region. And it was like driving from Dubai to Switzerland by road. It is almost like Swiss Alps, with snow topped peaks and happy cows, to complete the picture. Roses were in full bloom, even on the roads. I will have a separate post, just for roses, I saw there.
This region has mountains covered with fruits trees. (Mulberries, Apricots, Cherries etcetera). These fruit trees produce abundance of harvest and local people make lovely jams, fruit leathers, preserves with these fruits. They do collect honey and wild herbs. All these products are available alongside this road at very reasonable prices. By the time you decide, what to buy the handsome guy and his charming wife would have fed you with loads of samples. I did buy lots of these things, on my way back.
We reached Qabala around noon, but my guide decided to visit some places, before we check in the hotel. (And I must say that was a good decision, why ?, would tell you later.)
First we went to, Yeddi Gozel Waterfall. It is little off from the main road and the road leading to it is little bad. Still, the car can reach the spot, with slight difficulty though. On the way, I saw some very young pretty girls selling lovely Kiara made with fresh roses.
The waterfall itself is in three stages and you can climb few hundred steps to reach the top. At each level, there is a restaurant and you can sip your tea with great view of the fall. The fall is not very wide but has some charm attached to it. Near the base there was this guy selling Turkish ice cream and was too happy to pose for me. As always, his Turkish ice cream was great too. (But that man was nice enough as he did not play his usual funny tricks with me, with his ice cream.) I did buy some strawberries and plums there. Then we went to Nokhur Gel Lake. It is a vast lake with lovely greenish blue waters. There are various food stalls around the lake and boating is possible. That is a very nice place to relax.
Then we went to my hotel. Hotel Qafqas. This was the best hotel, I had ever stayed. It was so great place to be and walk around that, I cancelled my next day tours to bazar and other archaeological sites. I just wanted roam around Qafqas.
I did take cable car to Tufandag, but that was just next to the Qafqas. The view from top is just amazing. It is possible to go hiking on many of the mountains there. During winter, it is also possible to ski. There is a river, which flows down the valley. Walking alongside, it’s banks is a memorable experience.
You must be wondering what is so special about that place, well, will post some photos from there, in my next post.