Mud Volcanoes: Our first stop was the Mud Volcanoes. These messy, bubbly and explosive mounds were my favorite stop. As we walked amongst them, every so often there would be an explosion of cold gray mud. We had to be careful not to get too close. Of course having Ataxia doesn't make that too easy and I ended up leaving with a lovely gray muddy stain on my dress.
Gobustan: Our second stop was Gobustan National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. Here, we saw rock art engravings done by the people who lived there over 40,000 years ago. Our guide gave us a tour and then we were able to roam around for a bit on our own.
Ateshgah(Suraxani Fire Temple): This is a place of worship for the Zoroastrians(fire worshippers). We started off with a tour of the temple and then our guide went on to explain to us that the Zoroastrians cleanse themselves with fire by swiping their hands quickly through and rubbng their faces. They do this because they believe it represents eternal purity. There was a platform with a burning fire in the center of the temple where we got to try it!
We then had a lovely lunch at a traditional restaurant. Unfortunately, the food is not included, but it is inexpensive and I thought the meal was very good.
Yanar Dagh(Burning Mountain): Okay, I'll be honest. I wasn't sure what to expect on this stop. I think I was expecting something more like The Door to Hell in Turkmenistan. Needless to say, I had high expectations that were not met, but the legend behind the continuous burning is quite interesting. It is said that a sheperd lit it on fire by tossing a cigarette and it's been burning ever since. No one really knows how it started because it's been burning for as long as anyone can remember.