Sunday, September 10, 2017

Exploring Azerbaijan: Beş Barmaq (Five Finger Mountain)

This weekend we decided to explore more of Azerbaijan. We have seen Beş Barmaq (Five Finger Mountain) from the highway a handful of times when we've driven out of town, including to Shahdag and camping the previous weekend. We decided we wanted to visit ourselves and started the hour-ish journey to arrive mid-morning. 

There was a flat area with tables and picnic setups and the start of the stairs up. However most of those stairs were just through the field to arrive at the base of the mountain so we skipped them by driving further up to the mosque to begin closer at the base so the girls could walk it all. 

We had heard mixed things about the condition of the stairs and the girls' ability to walk it so we decided to hope for the best, take our time, and worst case scenario use the ergo and hiking backpacks we'd brought with us. (We didn't want to use them from the beginning because the girls love exploring and walking plus they are heavy.) 

I'm happy to say that they did amazing walking on the stairs and were able to do them all holding the rails or our hands almost the entire time. There were only a handful of places where we picked them up or carried them. The walk took around 45 minutes total, including time to stop and pet the cats, eat a snack, and take some pictures. 

Notes for visitors: If you are in Azerbaijan and go here, then bring coins to give the older ladies on the stairs and gentlemen at the top for the "blessing" [although we opted to skip after we saw everyone drinking from a communal cup of water]. The old ladies will want to bless you as you walk up by rubbing a stone on your back. Also be prepared to be scolded by locals for allowing your toddlers to walk rather than carry them and they will try and "help" by grabbing them and moving them. Madi and Olivia loved that as you can imagine. 😐

We noticed horses with saddles back down by the start of the stairs and decided to inquire about the girls riding before we left. They were thrilled to go on a couple laps around the open space on a "horsie". 

We headed back to Baku thankful for the fun experience and proud of our girls for doing so well hiking and being great listeners on the stairs when we'd ask them to do something. And this is definitely my favorite picture from the trip - I love everything about it! 

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