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35 travelers at this place:

  • Day119

    Merry Christmas from Yazd in Iran!

    December 26, 2017 in Iran

    What can you expect of Christmas while cycling through Iran? Not that much! At least, Isfahan has a large Christian community in the Armenian quarter where it is celebrated. But we left the city behind us a week ago and didn't expect anything. And so did the unpredictable happen...

    By chance, we met 4 other cyclists from the Netherlands and Spain on our way to Yazd through the desert and cycled together for a few days. And cycling simply connects people... it turned out that there would be 20 cyclists in Yazd these days, so why not having a Christmas party together? Thanks to Silvio & Lena for the spontaneous organization and a great evening! The 20 of us could even enjoy 1.5L of homemade wine :)

    Most of us are staying in the same hostel and we're having a very relaxed time together which makes this Christmas a special and unique experience while temperatures reach 25 degrees during the day.

    Now we're going to hit the road again with a lot of nice group cycling, Persepolis and Shiraz ahead.

    Impressions of our journey from Ghom to Yazd via Kashan and Isfahan will follow.

    We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a great time with your beloved ones!
    Read more

  • Day107

    Crossing the mountains to Isfahan

    December 14, 2017 in Iran

    Uneasy feelings dominated as we left Abyaneh in Western direction, on a road only dotted on our maps nobody would recommend us. But our courage should reward us during the next days. We didn't meet anybody, enjoyed the pure
    silence and felt that we could reach for infinity in the starry winter sky.

    We climbed and partly pushed our bikes up on rough gravel to an altitude of 2875m and the surrounding landscape was so overwhelming that it took a while until we realized that the following 150km to Isfahan would be a single downhill run :)

    While the pass has been the highest we've climbed so far, the night has been the coldest on our trip. Minus 15 degrees made even the water in our tent frozen.
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  • Day131

    Iranian Grand Canyons?

    January 7 in Iran

    After we had climbed the 2000m pass south of Shiraz, we thought that was it - 250km downhill back to sea level from that point on. But then we recalled the terrain map of the southern Iran. Fan-shaped mountain ranges are laying parallel to the coast. It felt like our road was cutting through the sharp ridges of them and our navigation app said it all: 2800 more meters to climb in total make 4800 height meters downhill, nice!

    The road is hard to beat in terms of scenic beauty (if you like mountains). Dramatic canyons, vertical scraps, serpentinous creeks, dry rivers and beautiful valleys reminded us of 'The Land Before Time'. Unimaginable how it would look like if there was more water, maybe in spring?

    The Red Crescent, comparable to the Red Cross, provided us an oasis for relaxation. We had heard that they would accommodate cyclists and we never had the timing to stop by at the end of the day. But this time it was perfect. We had just cycled a new daily record with 117km and then there was their building next to the road. Let's try it! They opened their door, let us in, cooked delicious food, offered us a shower and a bed and we spent a great evening playing ping pong and Iranian card games together. Thanks for everything Mohammed, Reza, Peyman, Ali, Achraf and Erfan!
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  • Day138

    Endless great ocean road

    January 14 in Iran

    We easily noticed that people are dressed different in this region: Turbans with colored checks are common and there are ghosts passing by on motorbikes, their bright white clothes fluttering in the airstream. The women are wearing colorful dresses with metal masks on their noses. Even the mosques and minarets look more modest and we're missing the blue tiles. The clue are the many Arabs living here and being the majority.

    The landscape is partly adorned with cisterns and we're wondering how life looks like in summer as it goes already pretty slow at this time. But surprisingly, we also spot verdurous fields with tomatoes, beans and peppers surrounded by date trees and the powerful green appears almost surreal to us.

    When locals advise us against taking a road, we take the challenge, of course. After all, we want to stay at the coast! But this road has definitely been impossible for cars: Deep, sandy creeks, coarse gravel and rocks. We had to push our bikes many times which reminded us of Samuel's Iceland stories, save that we stayed dry and could jump into the sea anytime :)

    Can you ever get enough of this coastline?
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  • Day147

    Good bye Iran!

    January 23 in Iran

    It's been more than 3 weeks now since we left Iran after spending 2 months there and we're still struggling to process all impressions of a certainly intense time. So, this is a try to roughly summarize:

    We found it incredibly easy to travel through this country. The selflessness, helpfulness, ease, hospitality and kindness of the people knows no limits and when we realized that after some time, there was in fact absolutely nothing we had to worry about. Maybe we've lost this feeling at all and that's why it felt really weird to board a ferry that would eventually take us to another country, where things would be different - and new, which made it exciting of course, as well. After all, that's one essence of traveling.

    We must admit that we felt safer than in any other country and thefts are probably a good example. What's going on in Germany and other European countries regarding bike thefts? It appears unthinkable to us that this would happen in Iran. There are always exceptions, of course, but we got the impression that criminality only plays a marginal role in the Iranian society - the social interaction is simply too warm-hearted! And we're pretty sure that the religion, especially the prayers as a form of meditation, and the absence of alcohol play a key role. It is certainly striking that there seems to be no stress but only calmness, everywhere. We finally got clear about this when we encountered the rude interaction of people in Dubai for the first time, and were kind of shocked.

    We're also wondering which value love and sexuality have in a society where it's almost impossible for boys and girls to get to know each other because they grow up apart (meaning separated classes, sports and music activities, no bars and clubs) and the traditional 'marrying somebody off' is still common practice. Some unmarried men in their late twenties told us that there is a 'modern way to get married' as well, but we felt that they were desperate to find or even get to know a woman. When they asked us about our relationship and we started talking about emotions and feelings, we could feel their uncomfortableness and consciously didn't mention 'love'. We don't want to judge about all Iranians, but we've thought and talked about this topic a lot and we believe that the various restrictions of the Iranians by their government prevent a development of love and sexuality from happening - with exceptions, which, in the public, immediately catch one's eye.

    The Iran is absolutely huge and so diverse, you can go skiing in the North and swimming in the gulf in the South at the same time, the variety of landscapes and climates, the natural beauty, the contrasts between bustling cities and the silence of mountains, deserts and coastline, the fresh fruits and vegetables, the spices, the tea and bread culture, the picnic and camping culture - traveling through this country is an adventure and each day is a different story.

    The fake news in the media and the fact that World War II propaganda is still alive is certainly one of the sad stories we experienced. How often did even young people praise the 'strong leader' in our past or tell us that Iranians, Japanese and Germans are of the same (Aryan) race? How can a father be so proud that his son looks 'almost German', after dying blond his hair? How can a TV program spread rumors that 1.7million Canadians are threatened by starvation in their country (we saw this in the police office for foreign affairs where we extended our visa - and where Iranians try to collect their passports to leave the country, Canada is a popular destination...)? Not everybody is questioning things and makes use of other sources to overcome the manipulation. We see the root of many issues in the educational system which is probably the strongest weapon of the government to keep control over the Iranian folk - and we hope that the Iranian people will never lose their courage, for a better future, and for more freedom.

    Here are some statistics of 59 days in Iran:
    Cycled kilometers: 3052
    Wild camping: 32 nights
    Hosted: 18 nights
    Hostel or Guesthouse: 7 nights
    Hotel: 1 night
    Max/min temperatures: 30/-14 degrees
    Fellow cyclists met: Karamat, Lena & Silvio, Mohamed, Abbas, Jan & Hannes, Valerie & Stijn, Gabriel, Lorenzo, Dennis, Anneke & Tane, Lorenzo, Frederic, Robert & Florian, Jakob, Philipp, Jean-Baptiste & Stephane
    Invitations, selfies, honking and waving, consumed bread, tea, fruits and nuts, mountain passes >2000m: countless :)
    'Where are you from?' answered: 15 times/day in average

    Read more

  • Day125

    We wish you all a prosperous and healthy 2018!
    We bumped into the new year with 12 fellow cyclists from the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France and New Zealand on a dried out salt lake. We cooked plenty of food, had campfire twist bread, delicious cream puffs and chocolate pudding. Our bonfire reached its peak at midnight and our resolutions are all the same: Keep peddling and living our dreams.

    Comments on recent protests against the government:
    It's said to hear that people were killed. We hope that there will be freedom of speech and the right of free assembly one day in this country and that the people never lose their courage.
    When we see that well educated Iranians make their living by selling nick-nack on the bazaars we feel that it's reasonable to protest against unemployment and rising prices.
    However, we didn't notice what's going on until we received your messages and checked the news. Some internet applications had been blocked and we encountered slightly more policemen while entering Shiraz. Nevertheless, we felt safe at any time and the locals we talked to so far are all criticizing the exaggerating media coverage. We can hardly judge if this is the case.
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  • Day123

    From Yazd to Shiraz

    December 30, 2017 in Iran

    When you find a nice spot for the night with other cyclists it can be quite amusing to watch everyone performing their after-cycling rituals, like yoga, stretching, gathering wood for a fire, doing a quick wash and so on. Gabriel usually sleeps outside and just puts his sleeping mat on the ground, builds his 'kitchen' around so that he can sit and relax in the middle, cook food and tea without moving. And from time to time, everyone disappears in stellar directions to relieve oneself.

    Stopping by in a village with such an amazing group to grab some food and stock up provisions usually attracts the whole village, it rains invitations, selfies and we have difficulties to continue. We sometimes ask ourselves if these people have no job and nothing else to do? And also class times seem to be very short in the countryside... instead even 10-year-old kids know how to ride a motorbike (not scooter!) - with 2 or 3 younger brothers behind! But there are many kids who like to follow us on their mountain bikes as well :)

    We had chosen quiet side roads to get to Shiraz and were once again impressed by the beauty of the landscape and how fast it could change, from beige sandy deserts to sharp grey mountains, from steep canyons to red soil and reddish hills, to greenish vegetated mountain slopes and back and forth - wow!
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  • Day126

    Stopover in Persepolis

    January 2 in Iran

    It is more than 2500 years old and the remains are still highly impressive - this is Persepolis, an ancient symbol of the power of the former Persian empire.

    The Persians build it on a huge terrace they cut into a mountain and incorporated Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Ionian ornaments into the pillars, walls, palaces, squares and other buildings.

    Definitely a must see!

    It was time then for the five of us to continue to Shiraz and get a shower after 8 days without :)Read more

  • Day129

    No wine in Shiraz

    January 5 in Iran

    It was not the perfect season to visit the famous gardens but we saw other things like the beauty of the first lights in the 'pink mosque' and the holy shrine 'Shah-e-Cheragh' (probably the last one we would see in Iran). We cruised through the city to ascertain that everything is calm and peaceful and spent some time to maintain our bikes, to free them from all the dust, salt and sand of the weeks before.

    In this country, it's always exciting to get something done, like getting shoes repaired in Shiraz. You usually just ask randomly chosen people who send you to someone somewhere who sends you to someone somewhere else and so on. Thus, Hauke dipsy-doodled through the city, met tons of people, found himself on a lot of selfies and ended up in a pharmacy where he was fed biscuits and sticks of cinnamon and told to wait for an old man who would appear at the corner of a street sometime. Eventually, the shoes got fixed by this old man and the experience would be remarkable.

    Contrary to this, Shiraz has also been about a sad story because we had to say goodbye to Valerie & Steijn who want to be in Nepal by the end of January to help building a hostel for kids of a remote school. Time passed by rapidly but the last weeks with you two and the others were really incredible, see you in Nepal guys!
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  • Day103

    Holy Qom

    December 10, 2017 in Iran

    Qom is the second holiest city in Iran after Mashhad and an important pilgrimage destination. We became aware of that at least since Ali, our host, asked Silke if she could put her chador on (a few minutes after we met). Which chador? Luckily, she carried a long, black summer dress, her black jacket over it, finished. By the way, the Iranian word for 'tent' is 'chadore' which describes the look of this piece of clothing very well, as you can see in the picture :)

    The reason for the holiness of Qom is the shrine of Fatima Masumeh who was the sister of the 8th imam, a well-respected strong woman. After her death she was buried at this place.

    Ali has been a great host for us during the two days in Qom. He invited us into a cosy, historical tea house and even took Hauke into the shrine secretly which is actually strictly forbidden for foreigners ('Look down, maintain a low profile, and enjoy!'). The atmosphere was incredible, people walking around the giant, cubic grave, touching the pure gold, along with the sounds from the prayers of hundreds of people, awakening memories of TV scenes from Mekka - so we're really lucky to visit this place on holy Friday!

    Another highlight of our stay in Qom was a short trip to a relatively unknown, reddish mountain called 'Salt Dome' with Ali and his brother. Climbing down to the salt lake, admiring the views of the surrounding mountains, and wandering around them felt a bit like being on mars. Having a blue sky above and a diamond of pure nature
    in front of us finally led us to stay there also for breakfast. So we had Iranian chai, Lavash with cheese and carrot jam as well as boiled eggs. Of course, we salted them by the use of lying around salt crystals. What the nature is able to create, will forever remain beyond mankind's search.

    So far, Qom has been the city which fascinated us the most in Iran. The holy atmosphere at and around the impressive main square, the beautiful lighting of the numerous minarets and domes, and noticeably less rush compared to all other Iranian cities we've seen, made it a unique experience.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Islamic Republic of Iran, Iran (Islamische Republik), Iran, ኢራን, Irán, إيران, ܐܝܪܐܢ, İran, Іран, Ісламская Рэспубліка, Иран, Iraŋ, ইরান, ཨི་རཱན།, Írán, Den Islamiske Republik Iran, ཨི་རཱན, Iran nutome, Ιράν, Ισλαμική Δημοκρατία του, Persujo, Iraan, ایران, Éran, An Iaráin, ઈરાન, איראן, ईरान, Islamska Republika, Իրան, Íran, イラン・イスラム共和国, iran, ირანი, Uajemi, អ៊ីរ៉ង់, ಇರಾನ್, 이란, ئێران, Persia, Yiraani, Irâ, ອີລ່ານ, Iranas, Ira, Irāna, Īrāna, ഇറാൻ, ईराण, အီရန်, इरान, Iran (Islamitische Republiek), ଇରାନ୍, ايران, República Islâmica do Irã, Irã, Irani, Iran (Republica islamică), Iräan, ඉරානය, Iiraan, ஈரான், ఇరాన్, Эрон, อิหร่าน, ʻIulaani, ئىران, Ісламська Республіка, Eron, Lirän, Orílẹ́ède Irani, 伊朗伊斯兰共和国, i-Iran

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