Finally, finally Iran. The country we were so looking forward to! Until now we planned our trip (season wise) around this country. The best time to travel into Iran is during spring (March – May) or Autumn (Sept – November). And what an incredible first month it was. Iran is everything we wished for and more. The people, the country it’s overwhelming! It is an amazing country with the kindest people. If we would say yes to every tea and diner, we got offered we still would be in Tabriz (the city we started). The hospitality is unbelievable. Sometimes without even wanting to (it’s part of the culture) but always helpful and friendly.
We arrived in Tabriz and had to get used to the fact everybody wants to talk and take photos of us. The first question always is “where do you come from”. Then; “Welcome to Iraaaaaan (we think in Farsi a lot of people “sing”) and they all start with HELLO!! Morgan is the biggest attraction. People are queueing to take a photo of here. We always tell everybody just please ask (luckily here they still do). Morgan decides. If she says yes then it’s ok. When she says no, we run away ;-). She is almost turning into a model. She keeps on posing for everybody. If we ever come back to Holland, she will be so disappointed that nobody finds here interesting anymore… The other big change is wearing a Hijab for Lillian. No more shorts and t-shirts for both of us. Slowly Lillian is getting used to the Hijab but she is very glad it’s not obligated for the rest of her life. Training is also much harder. For Lillian it’s almost impossible to run. Even in parks where nobody is around early in the morning, she gets stared and followed by the guards. Long trousers, shirts, head it doesn’t’ change the looks on their faces. We try to find as many wild camp places as possible with nobody around so she still can do a bit of exercise.
The history of Iran is incredible. We learn a lot about Zoroastrians, which is the first believe of the world. Of course, we learn about the Muslim religion (we are in the year 1398) and about the Persian empire which conquered the world for a while. Everywhere we go there is so much history that we are constantly ‘googling’ all the different things we hear and see. Political it’s unfortunately a big mess. 50% off the people is liberated and is trying to be as “free” as possible. The other 50% are strong believers and agree with the regime. We met many Iranians who disagree on their government. Especially against the religious part. They tell us they have to have so many different faces. When they are with friends, family, colleagues. They always behave differently. There is a lot of corruption and the value of the money is worthless. In Iran the currency is Rial, but there are so many zero’s they use Tomen. When you see fe. on a menu 25, you have to pay 25.000 Tomen. The money is Rial so again you have to convert this and you will pay 250.000 Rial. Can you imagine how many times we got lost with all the calculations? Apps don’t work (the money is worth 3 times as much) but we have our calculator with us and slowly we get used to the many zero’s
Tourist are still not very common in Iran and all the Iranians are so happy when tourist come and visit. When we are driving everybody waves and honks at us. We are even causing accidents (twice now) due to people staring at us instead of the road………. The highways are fine. The Iranians always think they can go first so if you keep that in mind, it’s perfectly fine. The cities are like big anthills. When we drive through cities we get into the funnel and just go. If you don’t just go, we would be on the same spot the whole day. It is really funny to see everybody ignoring every rule there is. As long as we don’t have any bumps yet were ok driving in Iran!
Normally we see a lot of nature and we often go into the mountains. In Iran the mountains are brown (also because we came after a very hot summer) but the cities are amazing (which is such a difference way of travelling for us). We started our trip in Tabriz and went to down to Qazvin. From there we went up into the Albortz Mountains and the beautiful scenery of the Alamut Castle. After the mountains we decided to skip Teheran due to the fact we “just” had a visa of one month. We went down to Kashan and into the dessert. Morgan loved to have the biggest playground she could find. And we as well 😉 After the dessert we drove to Isfahan. What a great city!! We stayed in a super hostel, Nargol guesthouse (first time we didn’t sleep in our camper) and got spoiled by fantastic food and people. We still are biking a lot and definitely in cities we take our bikes. We have so much fun to bike through all the crazy traffic. The pollution is unbelievable horrible, but we also see much more of the city with our bikes. Ladies will put their thumbs up for Lillian because ladies on a bike are very rare.
Between Yazd and Isfahan there was a caravanserai (camel drink – and sleeping place for people), we stayed here for 3 days. We had the place to ourselves and we had our own party and danced till dark. At night we were watching the stars from the rooftop. After the caravanserai we went to Yazd. In Yazd we easily got our extension of our visa and we are allowed to stay till 10thof January 2020! As soon as we got our extension we got in reverse and are taking it slow. We have all the time we need to see the country without hurry. It’s a fantastic feeling. After Yazd we moved to Taft. We got an advice to go to Nartitee Guesthouse to do a coffee, ore tea (there is not a lot of coffee in Iran). We stayed for 4 days. It felt like home. We also had to fix some issues on the car (our expansion vessel was leaking) but we absolutely didn’t mind stayed a bit longer.
Before we drove to Shiraz, we went to Persepolis and Necropolis. The palace of Darius I and his sons. A magical place with a lot of history. It was destroyed by Alexander the great around 330 v.Chr. Now we are in Shiraz, the city were the official Shiraz wine stocks are coming from. Unfortunately, nobody can use the stocks officially (no alcohol allowed) and so the stocks were sent to France and Australia. We are exploring the city again on our bike but last night someone stool my front wheel L. There is a first time for everything. My bikes have been stolen multiple times in Holland but never have I experienced that someone only steels the front wheel.
We also got good news today about the visa for Pakistan! The first couple of 100 km are tricky and we will be guided by police escorts all the way to Quetta or Lahore. We hear a lot of different stories but Yahoeee for all the Facebook sites with questions and stories from other travellers. India and the rest are still very vague and we leave it for now. There are so many different parts of our trip where we are unable to get straight answers yet. One step at the time. Pakistan is in the pocket and we can request our visa for India in Islamabad ( or so some people say)
If you haven’t decided yet were to go for your holiday, try Iran! It will blow your mind away. It’s safe, has a great culture, long powerful history and the people are extremely friendly! Media only shows you the political issues and doesn’t show you the daily life and lifestyle.
Love from us!