the joy of Christmas?????!!!!!

You who knows me … also know that I try my best to escape Christmas, even if I love all the lights and glitter it create … and I love to buy or create and write Christmas cards. So I want to get my escape booked so soon as flights are available – that means 11 months before depature.

Christmas 2019 I spend in magical Istanbul and it became one of my bests – my second Christmas in Istanbul. Istanbul is a city that is never wrong!!!!!!

I have been looking at Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital … for about 4 years now – and I haven’t been able to make my mind up because of the flight’s arrivals and departures times were unhuman.


But now I have flights with Lufthansa, my girlfriend for 67 years, Bärbel is going to share the adventure with me.

6 nights on a top-rated little hotel a block from the Caspian Sea and the old town (Icherisheher) through

Christmas is done and sealed. Now I can go on with life!

(Photo; Ralph Orlowski)

Taking off 22.12 and back home 28.12 to the price of $300/£230/€280/2980SEK (a fantastic price) … with a change of plane in Frankfurt. The total flight time will be 8,5 – 9 hours – 2,5 hour in Frankfurt which can be needed because it’s a massive airport, but we will be using the same terminal for both flights.

Centric Baku Boutique Hotel, must be quite new .. because it has only 10 reviews with Booking, but all have given it full pot – 10!!!

6 nights with excellent breakfast served on the room for $334/£256/€305/3215SEK. What I can understand is a family-owned small hotel with a fantastic location, located on the 2nd floor with a lift. Next-door neighbours are, Tods, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and Burberry  – so we can do some serious window shopping.


Why Baku??? Why not!!! I had a blogging sister living in Istanbul and she said that it’s a fantastic city, her son lives there … since then it has been on my mind.

Nicknamed the “The City of Winds” or the “Wind-Pounded City” and renowned for severe winter snowstorms. Maybe we will meet a proper winter there because we haven’t had any real winter here in the South of Sweden since 2013. But I know if I would enjoy a snowstorm. *smile

(Photo: Eduardo Ramos)

The petroleum industry in Azerbaijan produces about 873,260 barrels (138,837 m3) of oil per day and 29 billion cubic meters of gas per year as of 2013. Azerbaijan is one of the birthplaces of the oil industry. Its history is linked to the fortunes of petroleum.


A Baku in 2012 had the world’s attention when the Eurovision song contest came to town and the millions invested in prettifying Baku has given the Azerbaijanis something to sing about.

An estimated 2.7 million people live within the city’s built-up urbanized territory.


Baku is the world’s lowest-lying national capital … located at an elevation of 28 meters (92 feet) below sea level, Baku is the world’s lowest-lying national capital city. It is also the world’s biggest city located below sea-level.

Baku is home to several modern buildings which stand as a testament to its fondness for incredible architecture, among them the Flame Towers (three skyscrapers designed to look like flames), the Azersu Tower and the SOFAZ tower. Also found in Baku is the Zaha Hadid-designed Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre (which has no sharp angles) and the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, which is designed to look like a rolled-up carpet.


The Old City of Baku, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Old City has a population of about 3000 people.

It is widely accepted that the Old City, including its Maiden Tower, date at least to the 12th century, with some researchers contending that construction dates as far back as the 7th century. The question has not been completely settled.


Loads to do and see … don’t really know where to start, but we will book for us an evening tour,  WISE has private tours.

Then there is the Mud Volcanos, Ateshgah – Fire Temple, Yanar Dag (“burning mountain”) and Gobustan Rock Art, all located outside the city – so maybe that means a full day tour on Christmas Day.

And our taste buds need their adventures to and I have found quite a few interesting places for them too.

Maria Vanna 

(Photo; TripAdvisor)

The cosy restaurant near Baku Boulevard and the House of Government serves a mixture of Azerbaijani, Russian and Eastern European cuisines. Despite being one of the more expensive restaurants in Baku, Mari Vanna attracts locals and tourists for the high level of service and world-class food. The interior design with an eclectic mixture of antiques and Soviet relics creates an impression of dining in Soviet Azerbaijan. Anyone looking to enjoy good Russian food with a hint of life in a bygone era will enjoy dining at Mari Vanna. (text: culture trip)

Dolma (Facebook)


Dolma Restaurant behind the Nizami Museum of Literature serves traditional Azeri food. Follow the signs and descend the steps to reach the basement level restaurant, where customers will find a comprehensive menu dedicated to Dolma. The favourite dining spot also provides a selection of vegetarian meals at affordable prices making it one of the best value-for-money restaurants in Baku. (text: culture trip)

(Photo; TripAdvisor)

To plunge into the atmosphere of today’s youth and eat you need to come in “Chinar”. Here in the menu, you can order a wide range of European and Asian cuisine. Fish dishes predominate in this kitchenYouth enjoy the music here. This is a typical modern style European restaurant. A very original design of restaurants with food and price that match. All on a pretty respectable level. You will have an unforgettable evening. (text: Zohrab G/TripAdvisor)

(Photo: Agora Club)

Agora is a little gem just in the outskirts of the old city. The old fashioned atmosphere, live piano music. The menu is interesting and the wine list is really impressive with several local wines. I have been there twice the first time I hade classically cooked sturgeon and the second time beef stroganoff. Both dishes have been well cooked and well presented. They have a wide range of good fish dishes as well as meat. The wine cellar is interesting and it is possible to buy good wines at a reasonable price. (text;  Lennart S/TripAdvisor)

M’eat is an institution that vividly illustrates the statement that there is not much meat. Each guest who has visited this institution will be able to choose the piece of meat he liked from the large glass refrigerator and watch the steak being prepared in the open kitchen. Juicy, perfectly fried, fragrant. A sommelier will help you choose a sort of wine that will emphasize the taste of impeccable meat delivered from the USA. (text:


Though Fryday has few tables and seats, their burgers are very tasty and juicy, I can say one of the best in Baku after Meeting point. Perfect spot for a quick bite. Their prices are a bit more expensive than the international one. (text:


Baku is a “sister city” with 20 cities around the world. These include Houston city of Texas in U.S., Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey, Iran’s Tabriz, Italy’s Naples, Iraq’s Basra, Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah, South Africa’s Johannesburg, Moscow, etc. and the “Baku” page on Wikipedia is available in 123 languages.

We better be ready for Baku? It’s coming to get us.


“I want to make memories all over the world.”


13 thoughts on “the joy of Christmas?????!!!!!

  1. Baku? Well that is somewhere different! 😆

    When I booked to go to Lisbon for New Year last year, I had it all booked on 17 January. It was largely down to a recommendation from a lady friend of mine in Bath, England, who had been in Lisbon over the previous New Year. I had thought about going for a number of years beforehand, and her recommendation, shall we say, “tipped the balance!” I liked Lisbon, rather than loved it, but as I said on FB, I feel that I do have “unfinished business” there, by not being able to visit some places I wanted to see. Yes, and I will go back to Sintra, and probably do it my own way again! 😆

    This year for New Year, I’m looking at going back to Austria – Innsbruck this time. It was July 1983 since my only visit. I was staying in a Tyrolean alpine village called Lermoos, and went to Innsbruck on a day trip with my mum and dad. Beautiful city, beautiful setting, but expensive from what I can remember. But these are just plans – nothing is yet booked. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be booking anything until after I come back from my next trip to Lisbon in May. Who knows what will happen! 😉

    Talking of Lisbon, I have a late arrival, and an early departure. To me, that’s like losing a whole day. So I’m booked for 8 nights rather than 7. Still means that I can get my full 7 days! 😁

    Well, I know it’s a while away, but, enjoy Baku. ☺👍

    • Barry, A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. (Andy Weir) … I’m just like you I plan well ahead too. You’re thinking right … give yourself an extra night when you have a late arrival.
      Austria is a stunning country … especially in the Alps. I’m lucky to have very good friends that live outside Vienna. Going for a week in June this year. They always take me to some small village along the Danube and all the vineyards. I have been looking at Salzburg, but it’s so expensive to fly from Sweden. We decided to do Baku this year … and after that will we rent a big apartment for Christmas and New Year in Istanbul and do that to a tradition for us. This year am I going to Istanbul in October with another very good friend, so it will be close for comfort on my behalf. I’m sure we will have a great time … a very exciting city. Christmas 2018 did I spend in Tbilisi that is next door to Baku and that was so fantastic … going back for more in April this year. I wish you a fantastic stay in Lisbon and Sintra. Thanks for you fantastic comment, Barry .. and be good to yourself. Viveka

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