Posts Tagged ‘Marand’


Sun and tailwind on a boring road. As we approached Tabriz the traffic increased, and we plied the city freeways to the hotel we had to book to get our Iranian visa. Tomorrow a day of R&R to see Tabriz and finally shake off this cold.

Marand at sunrise

Marand at sunrise

The day started with a glorious sunrise at the mountain cottage in Marand, and then a welcome breakfast with Akbar and the team. After that, it was over a hill and along a flat to Tabriz, with my raking cough increasing in frequency and volume.


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