I crossed the border into Azerbaijan from Iran. The crossing was rather chaotic on the Iranian side, but the Azeri was just surreal. The immigration post was an old German coach which had come to the end of its travelling life. I was directed to get on at the front to have my passport checked and stamped. I then had to get off, and climb aboard at the back to have my name written in a book.
I took the taxi to the train station - which is a pretty little affair, a bit away from the main town of Astara but right on the shores of the Caspian Sea. It has an 'end of the world' feel to the place, and at one point it might have been an important place, where you could step off a boat and onto a train. But that's all gone now.
There was a train out to Baku at 16:00 but it arrived at 23:00, and seems I didn't have accommodation booked I decided to wait for the 20:00 sleeper train. That would save me the cost of hotel and get me in at a more useful 6am.
The sleeper train was the standard ex-soviet kind, but rather down at heal - the door to the carriage didn't open or shut completely, and most of the electrics had been smashed up, but it did get me to Baku, and on time!
One of the more interesting trips I made was to the Surakhany Fire Temple on the Abseron Peninsula. The building has been restored recently, and the fire that now burns is fed via a pipe, but in the past it was an important centre for the Hindu religion. The fire was fed from a natural gas pocket underneath the temple, but heavy exploitation of the surrounding gas fields meant the flame went out in the late 1960's. Shame really.