Posts Tagged ‘Tabriz’


‘We are from the information police. Come with us.’
An ID was waved in front of us by one of the young men, clad in a leather jacket, that had pulled us over with their motor scooter. This resulted in a ride downhill back into the village, SD cards checked, sparkling grape juice drank, and word of a letter to all young Americans and Europeans (like us) from the great leader Khomeni.

Eating watermelons

Eating watermelons

Eating watermelons

Eating watermelons

But, of course, we don’t have a photo of the interrogation (thank goodness – a photo of that would have taken some explaining). We do have footage of us consuming watermelons – which has now been checked by the information police. There were many watermelon sellers on the side of the road. We were also invited in by a shop-keeper that is an avid cyclist. He showed us lots of photos of his cycling trips through Iran.

The wind was with us, and had blown us up the hill from Tabriz. We were leaving the small town of Bostanabad, and were pleased to have climbed the last hill before the next town many kilometres away. Not to be, as we were pulled over by two young men, beards neatly trimmed, that had the air of religious missionaries.
‘How are you? Please come with us.’
We really didn’t want to, all the way back downhill, but it became clear that refusing was not an option. Down we went, receiving repeated apologies.
Into the army barracks.
‘This is a camera?’ They were looking at the GoPro. ‘Give me the SD card. And your passports.’
Then we were ushered inside.
‘Do you speak Farsi?’
‘No.’
Then the water came out. And then the red grape sparkling juice.
The great leader was watching us from his portrait on the wall.
‘He is our great leader: Khomeni. Have you studied him?’
Um.. Not sure of the answer there.
‘Have you read the letter he has written to all young Americans and Europeans?’
‘Have you got it there?’ asked James. ‘Is it on the internet?’
An answer was not forthcoming.
‘You should study the letter.’
I would love to.

After about 20 minutes, my GoPro SD card with watermelon consumption footage was returned (formatted with all photos and videos deleted), and we were allowed to continue.

We now find ourselves in the ruins of a Silk Road caravan sarai. We set-up shop, cooked our dinner in a little arched alcove, and did the dishes, all before dark.

Preparing dinner

Preparing dinner

Preparing dinner

Preparing dinner

Oh. And yesterday was our day off – we walked around the Grand Bazaar in Tabriz, seeing fluorescent chicks, piles of sugar cubes, and whatever the heart desires.

Fluorescent chicks

Fluorescent chicks


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.