Posts Tagged ‘Iran’


An early night with zero entertainment seemed very appealing, so, a hotel was on the agenda. Only, we couldn’t find a hotel. Turn left at the roundabout and then straight on. No, back where we came from. Hotels in Iran are hidden, but, we found one. Didn’t find a restaurant though.

Some lamb heads

Some lamb heads

The road was straight and flat with a slight tailwind. We cycled some effortless kilometres along a wide, barren valley. The only interest was another police passport check.

View off the side of the road

View off the side of the road

Quchan seems to be very conservative. All women walk around fully covered in black. Even the hairdresser has thick curtains so as to prevent men from seeing women unveiled.

Hairdresser

Hairdresser


Some acrobatics as I escaped from our humble abode followed by a steep descent and then a long slog up to Bojnurd.

The road to Bojnurd

The road to Bojnurd

Again the scenery changed – from the bare high mountain scenes to a wide flat green valley, still at 1000m. Cycling you see the changes slowly pass by, and you feel the rises and the drops. Michael needed to get a new pedal, and so our destination was the bike shop. We now find ourselves staying with a friend of a bike shop people – a warm welcome in this sunny city.


Farming country, dense forest, picnickers, wild pigs being fed (maybe they should be called tame pigs), rugged, dry, high mountain plains. Tailwind, sidewind. Sun. We are sleeping on the carpets in the mosque meeting room. A beautiful day.

The road to Chaman Bid

The road to Chaman Bid

We started today at 100m and climbed to 1500m, and saw the landscape change. The Golestan National Park marked the start of the greenery. And it was dense. Lots of weekend picnickers were out and about, lying on their rugs in the shade, or feeding the wild pigs. Others were cruising down the road with the car windows open and the music thumping.

Wild (?) pigs in the Golestan National Park

Wild (?) pigs in the Golestan National Park

Golestan National Park

Golestan National Park

Then the scenery changed to dry. It was nice to see the transformation take place.

On the way to Chaman Bid

On the way to Chaman Bid

On the way to Chaman Bid

On the way to Chaman Bid

On the way to Chaman Bid

On the way to Chaman Bid

We’re at the top of the high pass. Tomorrow first down before climbing into Bojnurd.

Day 125. 99km. Aliabad – Loveh

Posted: August 14, 2015 in Cycling, Iran
Tags: , , ,

Sitting in the little village of Loveh, we are the talk of the town tonight. We have just talked with the next group of kids that came to visit with their mothers. Our tents are set up next to a bubbling brook looking out over the valley. It will be an early night tonight.

Our camping spot in Loveh

Our camping spot in Loveh

Given our 2am descent into slumber yesterday evening, our departure was quite late. We waved our kind hosts goodbye, and cycled into the grey. We couldn’t see the mountains, or much at all. A highlight was the stop to celebrate my 10000km. At 10008km we stopped in a town to celebrate properly with cake, and at 10015km our passports were checked.

10000km

10000km

A day on the road on the way to Mashhad.

P.S. ‘Hello!’
I stick my head out of the tent. A man is there with his little boy and a plate of food. He stokes up the fire, and we sit around trying to find room in our stomachs for the extra food. The boy takes a stick, puts it in the fire, and makes patterns in the air with the glowing embers. They smile. We smile. Hand on our heart – ‘mamnun’ – ‘thank-you!’


Then came the stew with rice and yoghurt. And the fruit. At 1am. My head is spinning from experiences and exhaustion – cycling, jungle waterfall walk, fireside grill and live music in the mountain village, live audition of people playing the tar in the town. We must stay another day – we must stay they say, but the kilometres to Mashhad need to be cycled. Happy and tired, I collapse into bed.

Playing tha tar

Playing tha tar

We missed out welcoming committee cycling into Aliabad. They stopped the car and got out as we cycled past entering Aliabad.
‘Welcome to Iran. Welcome to Aliabad.’
We waved, said hi, and cycled on. This happens every 10 minutes in Iran, and we had our friends to meet in the city. Then my phone buzzed – an SMS – we are behind you. Then a call. We followed our friends Mustafa and team to their home.

Our friends in Aliabad

Our friends in Aliabad

The Caspian Sea region is green. Rice plantations and other farms, with high, jungled mountains rising on the horizon. We were taken to a famous waterfall near Aliabad, and ascended through the steep greenery to have a cup of tea admiring the waterfall.

On the way to the waterfall

On the way to the waterfall

The waterfall

The waterfall

Tea at the waterfall

Tea at the waterfall

Then meal number 1 – kebab and rice – at the base of the waterfall.

Whisked away to a mountain village, and we sat down on an open outhouse, warmed by the log fire. The chickens were killed, and grilled. A friend of Mustafa – famous in Iran – came to play the guitar and sing.

The fire and the music

The fire and the music

The music

The music

Then back to the town for a rendition of the tar. Amazing music, and a group of very happy, lovely people. Who knows what is going to happen next. We go with the flow.

Back to our host’s house, another meal is waiting – meal number 3 since our late lunch. What a lovely afternoon and evening.

Late dinner

Late dinner

Oh. And we cycled 93km along some side roads. A lot less noisy and pleasant. ☺


Lying on my mat, I look up at the millions of stars. The frogs are croaking, and the cicadas chirping. The mud flat next to the tents leads off towards the Caspian Sea. Its warm and still. What a cool place to be. And I have cycled here!

View from our camping spot on the Caspian Sea

View from our camping spot on the Caspian Sea

The day started with drizzle and a main road. Getting through the kilometres we need to cover to get to Turkmenistan in time means stretches of straight, busy roads. Rather uninspiring. My mind wanders, thinking of all sorts of things. Then I see a sign to Mashhad, and a shiver runs down my spine. I am really here – in the territory of the world touring cyclist. I have ready many blogs, seen many videos, and now here I am. Then a man and his little boy on a motor-bike stop in front of us and give us strawberries. Another family pull over and welcome us to their home in a town 180km further along. Then back to eating up the kilometres in this friendly country.

Strawberries

Strawberries

A friendly encounter

A friendly encounter

We turn off the main road at Bandar-e-Gaz, and then, there it is – the Caspian Sea. There are a few little clothes shops, and kiosks and people hanging around. I am really excited.

In front of the Caspian Sea

In front of the Caspian Sea

The rush to Mashhad seems less ominous now. We only need to average 100km per day after 3 kilometre-rich days. Maybe a lie-in tomorrow on the Caspian Sea. ☺


Cycling through Iran is about the people. The road to Mashhad was long, hilly, and full of dangerous truck drivers. Then we arrived and were welcomed into our friend’s family. The smiles on their faces – the twinkle in the eyes of 95 year old mother and father of the family – their kindness and lovingness, make cycling in Iran so special.

Lovely family in Babol

Lovely family in Babol

We arrived in Qaem Shahr as exhausted oily grease spots. The road through the mountains leading up to the high pass is never flat, climbing, then falling, and then climbing again. All this was done in the bright sun. Then descending towards the Caspian Sea, the weather changed – it was colder and started to rain. We were almost run off the road several times by some reckless truck drivers ploughing through roadworks. Our altercation with a truck driver was all made good when a man in a little shop saw it, welcomed us in, and gave us drinks and food. He was as angry about the trucks as we were.

Road to the Caspian Sea

Road to the Caspian Sea

Our evening was amazing. We met the whole family – the two brothers and their happy, smiling, welcoming 95 year-old parents. They are all so keen to show us how the people of Iran are – welcoming people, that, like everyone else in the world, just want to enjoy life, and be part of the world community.