Day 113. 67km. Jolfa – Marand

Posted: July 6, 2015 in Cycling, Iran
Tags: , , ,

Mohammed’s face is lit by the flickering light as we sit around the fire next to his little hut, perched on the top of the hill overlooking Marand. The shepherd has brought his flock back to sleep, and we sit and breathe in the silence.

The sheep at sunset

The sheep at sunset

James and I are the 545th and 546th cyclists to be welcomed by Akbar in Marand. We are the 6th and 7th guests that have had the fortune to stay with Mohammed in his solitary hut. We walk around the bald hill as the sun sinks behind the mountains, bathing the landscape in an orange, soft light. The sheep grazing in the evening light are being moved on by the shepherd on a donkey. It is an idyllic place. Around the campfire and in the hut, silence reigns. Just the crackling of the wood stove and the whooshing of the light breeze.

The hut perched on the hill

The hut perched on the hill

Sunset at Marand

Sunset at Marand

Riding the donkey

Riding the donkey

The shepherd

The shepherd

Akbar is known far and wide in the cyclist community. The truck drivers plying the highway alert Akbar of oncoming cyclists, and so he is always there to greet them and usher them back to his shop. And so it was today. Sitting in Akbar’s shop, sipping tea and eating cake, looking out at the street bathed in sunshine, we think back on the day. We feel like we have entered a different world. The sun is shining, it is warm, and it feels like we are finally in the Middle-East.

Akbar's shop

Akbar’s shop

Friends in Marand

Friends in Marand

  1. valerievolk says:

    A lovely account, Matthew. I could almost feel the peace on the mountain. And hear the wind and the sheep.

  2. jovialspoon says:

    A magical place it seems, what an experience! I’ve always heard that people in that part of the world are very welcoming and hospitable. Looks like that’s true.

  3. ton smeets says:

    Already in the first kilometers in Iran it seems like heaven on earth for adventure people like you both are. Wonderfull photo’s and I say it to all your followers : enlarge the photo’s on your computer because it is as if you are self in the beautiful landscapes !!!
    Thanks for your messages every day and all the work and time that you need for it.
    Sorry for my bad english.

  4. valerio says:

    so inspiring matt. thanks a lot!
    next year i’m planning to get Iran from Italy cycling more or less your route. so i ask you some infos..i have red around that appling for iranian visa as a cycletourer is now mandatory to purchase a tour. have you heard about it? which was your experinence? which was the tour operator you ask to apply for the visa?

    hope to hear,
    wish you wind behing your back


    • Hi Valerio. It is only mandatory to have a tour if your have a US or UK passport. You don’t need to book a tour otherwise. Good luck with your tour!

  5. Ah! The famous Akbar! I’ve heard a lot about him!

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