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Azerbaijan to Georgia-Part 1 of 2

Link to interactive route map for here.

Already halfway across this interesting country, only now do I have the energy and focus to write.

Getting back into any semblance of fitness is not easy. The other way around is though. Less than two months ago I was in the operating theatre having my gall bladder removed. I think I rested for just enough time since then. Apart from some turbo trainer work and three short rides, I was thoroughly unprepared for this tour.

Thankfully Niamh was happy enough to support me, particularly this week as she has been driving ahead with my bags to find places to eat and places to stay. This process has enabled me to build up my confidence and strength, during this seriously uphill and windy section of the world tour. A new bike- the expedition setup- it is a lot heavier and tougher than anything I have toured on before. Getting used to the way it feels and ready for the extra 25kilos I'm about to add.

Azerbaijan has been full of surprises. Green and pleasant though very different feeling to anywhere else I've been. It's halfway between Tashkent and Istanbul and it feels exactly like half of each.

There is a lot of investment here and domestic oil and gas wealth, evident everywhere. It's appreciated the currency (Manat) so we are finding it pretty expensive based on our Uzbekistan and dollar mindset.

We now find ourselves in Oguz, 40km east of Seki (which is supposed to be a bit special). A half day for me today after- 90km, 80km, 100km days so far. Then one more day of cycling before Niamh leaves for a few days. That means a fully loaded bike to contend with. That is going to be a true test.

Doing battle with the camera timer on arrival in Baku.

The only Irish person in an Irish pub watching Ireland v Sweden in the Euros. No atmosphere but good curry chip.

About to head off for the first time this trip.

Our first hotel in Qobustan- set in a theme park called "Qobuland". Weird but comfortable.

In Lahic celebrating England scoring against Wales in the Euros. The power kept going on and off which made a very nervous Matthew.

These kids followed us around asking us to take selfies with them....celebrities for an evening.

Matt's birthday in Oguz. Swiss roll from a packet, honey beer and Doritos. What more could you want?

Link to interactive route map for here.

#Azerbaijan #bicycletouring #biketour

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