On the way to Seki. I am amazed by the wealth of culture present in this part of the world. The Azeris love life and culture. They will spend hours at the table feasting with their guests. Each toast is a poetic tribute to life, to their values (family, beauty and emotions). Mugham, their traditional music, has exceptional qualities. Their modern versions have jazz tones and even “fusionned” with jazz at the Montreux Festival. Each traditional song is immediately embraced by the whole restaurant singing passionately their love for their country’s landscape or just some happy/sad love story. Till now they have poetry national competitions (des joutes oratories) widely followed and discussed by the whole population. Poets become national heroes and are remembered till now. The theatres and opera house have a full spring-summer programme from ballet to Don Quixote, Aida and Carmen.
Wine is another wonderful surprise. I would know whether we should qualify their wine as coming from the New World since it was an exceptional Shiraz, given that Shiraz the Iranian city is just a few km away. Yet another example of a very moderate form of Islamic practice. A discreet and respectful way of following one’s religion.