G – Göygöl

It was love from the first sight.
I fell in love with Göygöl way before visiting Ganja. Göy-Göl – the “blue lake” – magically appeared in my life as if out of nowhere while compiling the tick boxes of “things to see in Azerbaijan” and stayed there for good.
“They call it the pearl of Caucasus” our group leader reveals on our way to the magical site. He’s over-joyed like a child.
“It must have been 13 years since I’ve last visited Göygöl” he recalls in an almost dream-like state of mind.
As we walk the distance of about 7 kilometers to get to the other lake, the name of which I can’t remember now, I keep chatting to a local volunteer in my six-year-old-school-girl Russian. He must be in his early 20s or something, the volunteer, an engineer to be.
He doesn’t speak English, but he is probably the most communicative person in the group who knows how to approach just about everyone.
“I’m here to full-fill every-one of your desires” he smiles as we read the little note of his that expresses the expectations for the project. The group laughs, but he actually means it. In the most innocent way.
“It’s the people that matter” he tells me as we speak about life, plans, and future.
“It makes no difference where I’m going to end up after the studies” he says, as I question him about his career path. “What matters is the people around. As long as I’m in the right kind of company – I know I’m gonna be happy.”
When exactly did I stop thinking this way? Having rushed off to the busy city life in a pursuit of some un-defined ambition in my student day, here I am on a hike from my recently encountered love Göy-Göl to some unknown lake, and this 20-something-year-old-engineer-to-be is teaching me a lesson of a life time.
On our way back we hitch-hike the only car that drives by in the midst of the Caucasus Minor mountains. There are five locals that keep picking us, the tourists, up until there is literally no space to squeeze else anyone in.  Packed with twenty passengers, two girls on my lap, we sing happy birthday in all the languages we know to one of the locals who happens to have their birthday. It’s only after we get off, looking at the narrow mountain roads, that it clicks just how dangerous this little road trip must have been. But the joy exploding inside doesn’t allow the fear to wipe the smile off my face.
There’s nothing quite like the healing powers of nature.. and the people to share the magic with.
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