Tuesday 3 May 2016
Today is our last day in Ashgabat before we leave Turkmenistan to fly to Baku in Azerbaijan. We woke up pretty late and had a leisurely breakfast then went back to the room, packed up our bags, had a bath, then checked out. After leaving our bags at reception, we headed out to the market – Lynn’s watch battery had died and David needed a new watch band. We soon achieved these small tasks then bought a couple meat filled pastry things (same as yesterday) – delicious again. We then set out to walk around and see the sights of this pretty amazing city. The smell of roses is everywhere in the gardens and parks. We walked and walked, we were warned away from the Presidential Palace by police, then had to walk around a really long block to get back into the correct direction. We spoke to another policeman who thought Australia was really good and he still wouldn't let us walk in front of the palace. The most amazing thing about this place is how deserted the public parks and gardens are. Mostly we were just on our own with only the ladies doing the gardening for company. We walked for about 4 hours then found our favourite restaurant and had a beer each and ordered dinner. There was a mix up with the order and David ended up getting Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce as well as a pizza (he had only wanted one of these but had discussed both and the language problem resulted in both being brought out to him) while Lynn had a plate of potato, tomato and eggplant. She had also ordered chips but had to cancel them when David's double dinners came out – we simply didn't have enough money left. When we left the restaurant we only had 3 manat 80 tenne left ($A1.44) so we went into the supermarket to try and spend it and when a man asked could he help us, Lynn showed him how much we had and we bought a number of loose biscuits and some local sweets to the value of 3.80m. We also got a free taste of each before we bought them, all because he liked Australia…….we then walked through another park full of roses and very large statues of Turkmen heroes, writers, poets, mathematicians, musicians. They seem very proud of their heritage which goes back around 1500 years or more. Then back to our hotel to pick up our bags and wait for our transfer to the airport at 1:00am for a 3:30am 35 minute flight to Baku. We should be there early tomorrow for the next part of our adventure in Central Asia and the Caucasus.