Continuation of 08.Turkey
Welcome to Iran
30.03.19 123.582 km Day 250
The day started quite funny, we wait directly at the border. Thomas said something was wrong here. We are the only ones here and we don't see anyone around. Expectant and full of energy, half oft he night, we spent clearing the car to make it "suitable" for the Turkish and Iranian border, we went „armed“ with our passports to the only guard in front oft he border and told him we would like to cross the border to Iran now. Again the Google translator became necessary and we had to notice that we got up 2 hours too early, because we did a fatal mistake in the time zones. We now have 4 different times, clock in the car, GPS, mobile phone, tablet. And if yoz believe it or not, in Iran it is HALF an hour later, not whole hours as usual. Never heard before that there is such a thing.
Ok, get back in the car and twiddle your thumbs.
After 2,5h the first people from the Iranian side came over, while nobody moved on at the Turkish side.
To summarize it, we had 3 stops, passport, something else and customs, nobody looked into the car. But we had to wait about 20 minutes each time until they had started up their PC, so that actually the Turkish control took as more than one hour, although nothing was done, except to finally say, we can drive.
Directly after the Turkish gate we stood in front of the Iranian gate. But this gate was built so narrow that we even had to manoeuvre to be able to drive in (the Turks rebuilt their border buildings and placed them directly in front of the Iranian gate, but not in such a way that you are able to continue driving straight ahead, but forced to manoeuvre).
According to our internet research the horrortrip should actually about to start now. Horror trip in the way of language barriers, 1000 points of approach, uncoordinated and hundreds of shady people who are offering kind of help for money. We found nothing at all, but once again the exact opposite. After Thomas had maneuvered the car into the small yard, we both had to get out oft he car and see an English speaking border official, he just had an short look inside the car. In parallel, while Thomas showed the car, they separated us, I was not allowed to wait, they ask me to straight into the first building, which was more a kind of shed, in which I was guided from counter to counter. After my formalities were done, I was allowed to go back to the car, where Thomas was still chatting with the border guards. Now he was also allowed to take care of the formalities inside. No questions were asked. One thing was already curious, they ask for the reason we want to enter Iran, but not like in the USA, where you must disclose e.g. your incoming and capital. Actually a shotz look into the passport, stamped it, thats it. Jerry's papers were also checked.
With our car stood we blocked the court, because there as so less space, so a queue formed behind us, the yard is too small, only comfortable for one car. Now that we had entered the country, it was the car's turn. Here we were asked, again in English, to hand out the Carnet de Passage at the next counter in the same building.
Here we got the first stamp and the responsible person handed over the carnet to a young man and he started to walk through several stations with it. In the meantime 2 officers together with the young man and the carnet returned to the car, checked and compared the vehicle number and again a short superficial look into the car. Another 5 minutes later the young man came back to us, he didn't want any money, but he handed out a tip to him, returned the carnet to us, he said "ready", handed out as well a routing slip with 1000 stamps on it , which we had to hand over at the exit gate. The only negative thing was that a few shady people tried to press and hassle us to exchange money here, but we refused, because we wanted to do this later in a bank.
Approximately after 45 min the was gate opened and we entered Iran. Behnid the gate it was a bit tumultuous, because here isthe bottleneck for all the people who want to enter Turkey. It was completely parked, so many people, many tricksters, trying to get their adavantages out oft he situation, a lot of children and we had really trouble to drive out of the border area.
Since Jerry wasnt out of the car for 4 hours, our next task was to take a pee break and we stopped after a few kilometres. While we went for a doggy walk, the first Iranians stopped by. They mentioned how great it is that we visit the country, invited us for dinner and offered us a place to sleep.
I anticipate the day briefly, we had several contacts and everyone invited us for a meal and to stay overnight. We are still trying to refuse at the moment, because we need to rest, the border crossing was quite easy, but still really exhausting.
Oh, and last but not least, see picture, I now, since we entered Iran I have to wear have to wear a headscarf until we will leave the country.
After approx. 40 min by car, on a quite good road (we have chosen a very small border crossing in the mountains), we reached Khoy, the first bigger city and immediately started to look where we can change money and buy a SIM card. Sounds simple. But it is not. Because you cannot even recognize, what kind of shop is inside when you are standing in front outside. All is written in Farsi, no pictures outside that may help to understand what will be sold inside. The road traffic is also extremely chaotic, similar to the one in Istanbul. But here it is even worse, compared to Istanbul. Every few 100 m extremely high speed reduction bollards are on the road, some of tem very hard to recognize early enough in advance.
We found the first bank (not visible from the outside) after a 45 minute of search, I went in to change money. Inside at least 15 counters, crowded with people, running all over the place. I asked one of the employees if I could change money, or if that is only possible in exchange offices. First he said no, then he called someone. After that call, he said it is possible to change money, please have a seat. People were very curious, they were everywhere, behind me, next to me at the same counter, very close me, curious to hear me about my concern. All of them very friendly, but too close for my european gut feeling. I raised up tob e the hot topic, could here them whispering "Almani", all oft hem smiled, grinned, you could here farsi all around, my Google translator is not yet working without Internet. Finally I got for 300 Euros a thick bag full of money and no recipt.
Note 1: EC cards and credit cards do not work in Iran because of the embargo, so that we had to bring our money in cash (after we tried to calcuted in advance how much we may need) and have to exchange Euros or Dollars here.
Note 2: the currency is Rial, but you pay in Toman (factor 10 less), you have to convert it internally again, which is not easy with these huge numbers anyway, I received 40 million Rial=300 USD here.
The bank employee didn´t sprak english very well, he called his friend, to translate and to talkt o me, hre explained everything to me again, I also offered help for other upcoming issues and offenred me his mobile number. It's incredible, but the whole action took 1.5h, I know all the employees now and I was the highlight of the day. When I asked if many tourists come to this town, I was told out that the number is very very low.
Then we hit the jackpot . We had to find a shop where we can buy a SIM card to have internet access finally . I asked the bank employee if there was an Irancellshop around, and he took me out oft he bank to the shop next door. Called his friend to translate again. The Internet prepaid SIM Cards are super cheap in Iran, 20GB for 8 €, but I had to enter my personal data into the computer, copy of the passport, fingerprints, it took about 1.5h until I had the unlocked SIM card (Irancell).
And another invitation to eat and sleep from the owners of the shop.
Thomas, who was waiting with Jerry in the car, in the meantime while waitung for me had already twice contact with the police. Once regarding parking, after courageous intervention of the bank employee, who quickly runs outside after he realized the police and Thomas outside, he talked to the police man, Thomas was allowed to wait, while all others who parked there got a parking fine. The second time he stood in front of the car and smoked, We feel like celbrities . That can be quite annoying.
Nevertheless, Khoy is a small town, not different than at home, only more chaotic, muslimic, lively.
Now that we have settled down a bit, we are really happy to have embarked on this adventure, to visit Iran and are really curious about the next days as well. Hey, guys, we're in Persia and we're broadening our horizons a lot right now.
300 Euros exchanged for 42 million Rials. Funny: I give 3 Euro notes and get back a plastic bag full of money. As it turned out in the meantime, this will be enough for a whole month, including refueling. After one week our average consumption per day is 10€ and including absolutely everything, 2 x SIM cards with 40 GB, 3 x full tanks, food, food, entranve fees, toll, a carton of cigarettes.
Not recognizable from the outside, that was our mobile phone shop. For us, all shops look the same from the outside and we have to puzzle over what's inside. Larger supermarkets, as we know them from home we could find here. But we were told, occasionally, in bigger cities we will find them (but we have already driven through some bigger cities and have not found one).
Khoy, our first impressions. Strange, chaotic, mixed up, traffic horrible, you have to get used to it.
Day 251, March 31.2019 123.582 km
Since the weather is still bad and as we finally want to have warmer tmeperature and dry and sunny weather, this morning we decided to drive direction south and have a deeper look at all the attractions oft he surrounding on our way back. It was a very rainy day and we drove as far as we could direction south. The traffic here is very exhausting, again and again bollards and roundabouts, which are very chaotic for us. Because of the bad weather, we didn't see much of the landscape. Instead of getting warmer it got colder during the trip. And finally had the first snow, then we reached the City Park in Saggez, completely under water. We looked for a silent, quiet corner, retired relatively exhausted. And while we talked in the car about our first impressions of Iran and came down a bit, an big ordeal began. First it was knocking on the car, parkkeeper asked us emphatically,to leave this beautiful lonely place, where noone took notice of us and could not see us and park instead directly in front of the small office of the parkkeeper, all of Thomas arguments to explain that this is ok for us to stay at our to rest at our original lot failed and we had to resettle. And now the loneliness was gone. Because our car was in the headlight, visible for everyone. Now people came again from all sides, tried to get in contact with us, took photos of the car, put their children in front of the car and took photos. Obligatory there was again a tea ceremony in the house, the parkkeeper invited us and he called all his friends, who arrived soon and asked for a photo. The Google translator was the only chance to „talk“ somehow. After half an hour we excused ourselves, we are really tired and exhausted and went back to our car. But that shouldn´t be the start to a silent night.
The next knock was probably a guardian of morals, because now Thomas had to explain that we are married, after tellig him that, everything was ok, with a satisfied smile he left. Another half an hour later, meanwhile it was already 10 p.m., it knocked again and now it was the police who told us that they were looking after us and that they find it gre at that we were in their country. After we were already in bed and almost asleep, we still heard the people around the car outside. Around 1 a.m. in the night there was another knock. And three young Iranian ladies invited us to come to their home, because it is so wet here and not nice, they would be happy if we stayed overnight in their house. But since we were already in sleep mode, we refused, although it was difficult, because it seemed that they just came because of us in the middle oft he night, because they cared.
As you can read now, Iranians are hospitable, cordial, curious, you are welcome everywhere.
Picture 1: this is how the shops look like, in the front CocaCola, potatoe chips in rough quantities and tons of varieties, and inside you can also find cheese, sausages, butter, bread, but very spartan and hardly any selection.
Picture 2: simply zoom in, here the banana boxes are also reused (looks relatively overloaded)
Picture 3: you often see that, many, many flags (you also often see many big photos of the leader)
Day 252, April 1, 2019 123.956 km
After waking up in the morning, we were invited for a tea. If there were about 10 people who wanted to see us last night, there were twice as many today, a huge crowd of people stood in front of the car and waited for us to get out. We had no chance, we were invited for tea again and everybody wanted to take a picture with his mobile phone. But now we have a full water tank as well, because we also got fresh water there. We are still in the Kurdish part of Iran. Now we had to make a decision, there are two ways to Kermanscheh. And since the weather was still bad, it should rain the whole day, we decided to take the better road and not three one across the mountains. As we learned later, this was a golden decision. Because exactly there was today a heavy earthquake, according to the media strength 6.8 and in addition still another strong flooding. We didn't really notice it, but we were only 120km away from the epicentre. But as the pictures show, our chosen route also guided us into problems, we mostly drove at an altitude of 2000m and there it didn't rain, but snowed extremely hard. And it should went on like this the whole day. We saw a lot of sliding trucks and cars, several accidents, but on the one hand we have snow chains with us, if it would have got worse, on the other hand we have very good tires so for us it has possible to drive up the mountains. Thomas had a lot of fun, it was an adventure for him to cope with these weather conditions.
I have to say, he did well, we never slipped once (except my heart, which slipped a few floors down). There were some minor problems here and there, but this was due to the fact that many cars had very bad and old tires and overestimate each other and start to slip and block everything standing across.
The day passed very quickly in this way, as we had to fight our way through these masses of snow with great concentration. Oh well, for Jerry it was really bad, because the snow was half a meter high and he almost sank into it and of course he couldn't find a tree.
In the afternoon we realized that we would not reach our destination Kermanscheh iduring daylight and decided to spend the night in a park in Hamedan. And 20km before Hamedan Thomas stopped at a gas station, like every day, we always want to keep the tank as full as possible, because it's not so easy to fill up, on the one hand there isn't diesel at every gas station, on the other hand it's always an adventure, because you have to deal with the gas station attendant. The price is individual for us, because we couldn't get a fuel card.
A full tank of fuel costs us here 6$, sometimes only 4$, depending on the negotiation.
The refuelling was done very fast and now the story started. As I said, it was already about 5 p.m., it was already dawning and now everyone who was at the gas station was pouring towards us and wanted to invite us to stay overnight. We had 6 invitations within seconds. And they even argued with each other about who was allowed to take us with them. So that we first withdrew back into the car until the situation had cleared up again. At the end the gas station attendant was the one who helped so much and organized someone who speaks English and so we decided to get involved. Now we had to wait, because we were supposed to be picked up, which took about 45 minutes, because they came here from Hamedan to pick us up. The gas station attendant was totally happy, embraced Thomas constantly. Concerning that, more about this topic later, I'm treated more differentially here because I am a woman.
Suddenly a car arrived, not only one person came to pick us up, but the whole family was in the car. After they welcomed us, we followed them. We were assured that our car could stand very save in front of the house. Thomas fought his way behind them, the snow was really high everywhere, even on the streets, the city of Hamedan was overwhelmed with these masses of snow. Everywhere the cars still slid around and slipped in the streets, it was adventurous. The bollards were especially hard to see through the snow, and there were hundreds of them again, some of them we took very roughly. There are no lowered cars here, they couldn't drive a single meter here. We were really lucky, the place where we parked was very good, also for Jerry. And we were asked to come into the house, into a nice flat and invited to dinner by a teacher couple, whose children and niece spoke English. Our first opportunity to finally exchange ideas, since the language barrier had been lifted, we got a lot of input about Iran. It was a very nice evening.
Now it got a bit uncomfortable for a second when we wanted to go to sleep, because they insisted that we stay in a room that had been vacated just for us. But we refused because we didn't want to leave the dog and the car alone overnight. This was quickly accepted, but we had to come back for breakfast in the morning and spend the day there, because there was a party with guests and we were cordially invited. We went back into the car, this night nobody knocked, we slept very well.
Early in the morning, 9 a.m. in Saggez, City Park, everybody wanted to take a picture and amount of arriving people was increasing more and more
Pure snow chaos. It was really hard and we saw a lot of accidents and cars that couldn't cope with the conditions anymore.
1 and 2: Accidents
Dinner with our hosts in Hamedan. As we learned later, they usually eat on at the table as well, they did it just for us in the original, local way this time. We learned a lot about Iran that evening and our luck was that Sama (in the picture on the left side) could speak perfectly English and so there was a lively conversation.
Day 253, April 2, 2019 124.330 km
After an exuberant breakfast we said goodbye to our hosts. Now it became exciting, how to leave the parking lot, because the snow was frozen over night and partly 30cm high also on the road.
After 2-3 times back and forth jerking, we could make it back to the road and we drove further south. Within one hour there was no more snow, no more mountains, now everything was flatter, we had 15 degrees and sun. Finally we have this rainy week behind us. And also the mood in the car rises, we are more positive again. And while reaching our destination, Isfahan, tonight, we are already almost in the middle of Iran. Again a few words about Iran. It's warm, it's totally different than we expected and due to the different culture sometimes a bit exhausting (we don't want to make a mistake here either), they are very open and cordial to us.
The trip to Isfahan was wonderful. The first 300km was a main road with little traffic, we could enjoy the changing landscape, we had a little party in the car.
The 2nd half of the way the road was again very difficult to get used to with many potholes. For Isfahan we had found out three possibilities to spend the night.
1. outside the city a park on the outskirts, is for free, disadvantage, it is far away from the sightseeing (Park Fadak Garden)
2. a hostel, relatively close to the attractions, 10€ for a parking place in the courtyard,(Amir Kabir Hostel).
3. a hotel parking lot directly between the 3 main attractions, all within 10 minutes walking distance and guarded, for 22€. (Abbasi Hotel)
We decided to use the hotel parking lot. And that turned out to be absolutely right. Because we visit the whole thing once in the evening with lighting and on the following day we enjoy it again in daylight. Furthermore we had grilled chicken with chips, it was super tasty and we found the small take away by simply following the smell in the narrow alleys. This city fascinates us, you can feel the long history, 1001 nights, everything is clean and very tidy.
From Khoy to Isfahan we did not see any magnificent mosques, that was also the Kurdish part of Iran. And since Isfahan there is a monstrous mosque in every village.
Isfahan is a city in central Iran known for its Persian architecture. The spacious Imam Square (Naqsch-e-Dschahān Square) is home to the 17th century Imam Mosque, whose dome and minarets are covered with mosaic tiles and calligraphy. The Ālī-Qāpū palace was originally built for Shah Abbas and completed in the late 16th century. It has a music room and a veranda overlooking the fountains of Imam Square. The Sheikh-Lotfollāh Mosque is known for its elaborately designed tile patterns.
Early Qajar School and Chaharbagh Street The Chaharbagh School, also known as the Soltani School and the Madrassahi School, is the last great Safavid monument in Isfahan, which dates from AD 1116 to 1126 during the time of the last king of Safawid , Shah Sultan Hussein, taught religious scholars. The school with four gardens, which many scholars, both school and mosque, have an area of 8,500 square meters on the east side of Chaharbagh Street. Today the Imam Sadiq is called School of Theology
Isfahan at night is beautiful like a dream. You feel like in 1001 nights. Oriental smells, it is another world. But miraculous wonderful.
The Khajoo Bridge is a landmark of Isfahan. Built in 1650 at the request of the Safavid Shah Abbas II on the foundation of an older Timurid bridge, it has since been used as a transition between two parts of the city, the Zayandeh Rud River. According to an inscription, it was restored in 1873. Lock gates are attached to the arches under the bridge, which can be closed if necessary and raise the water level by about two metres. This is the case when the water level falls too low and is used to irrigate the upstream gardens. One of these gardens is the Sa'ādatātābād, the "Garden of Happiness". The lower part of the bridge is accessible to pedestrians and is a popular place to stay with steps leading to the water. In the middle of the bridge there is an octagonal building with a viewing platform from which the Shah and his entourage followed the competitions on the water. The historical bridge is very beautiful to look at, even at night when it is illuminated.
We were really lucky, actually there hasn't been any water in the river for years. But due to the many rainfalls lately, we were told that it hardly rains, everywhere is high water and there are also roads washed away, the river had water again.
Of all the palaces with Safa and the cultural properties that were built next to Chaharbagh, only the palaces of the eight paradises remain. This magnificent manor house, once again called the most beautiful palace in the world, was built in 1080 AD and in the time of Safavid Shah Suleiman near the nightingale garden. This two-storey building with beautiful vaulted ceilings and ornate decorations has paved the way for one of the brilliant examples of Safavid era architecture. All travellers and tourists visiting Isfahan who have managed to enter the Palace of Eight Paradises have called it the best buildings in the world. One of them described the palace of the Eight Paradise as "... more frightening than the most luxurious palaces in European countries". The great garden in which the villa is located is part of the great garden of the world, built by Shah Isma'il I, and during his successors, especially Shah Abbas I, it was divided into several parts. This magnificent palace was from the beginning called the "Eight Paradise Villa" "eight to eight" and "eight in heaven". Palace building: The central part of the palace is built in four phases and its veranda faces north. The roof over the four-storey building is covered with glamorous gypsum yogharnas.
The rooms on the first floor in the four corners of the villa are glued and painted. On the second floor, the property adds a series of verandas and chambers, arches and windows to its beauty. This floor is divided into corridors and chambers, each with a special decoration. In some water ponds and in some wall heaters. The walls also cover many mirrors. All the ceilings of the palace are also covered with beautiful mosaics, and the corridors surround the beautiful and harmonious rounds. The decorations of the villa during the Safavid period were so magnificent and artistic that no one would ever have dreamed of their admiration. What is important in this villa is a connection between spaces and their different parts. This connection has made the 8th Paradise of the Isfahan Villa more diverse and versatile than unity, uniqueness and decoration. Unfortunately there are no traces of woodcarvings and crystal frames and crystal cups and fine coloured glass springs today, because there were many changes in the times after the Safavids, especially in the Qajar period. These changes are so great that some tourists have thought of them since the Qajar era. At the end of the Qajar era, the Mansion of Eight Paradises was privately owned and robbed of precious and precious jewels of the Safavid period, so that today it has all the splendor and charm of the palace and banana trees and the white and red jasper flowers on the edge. With all the influences, says André Godard, who has been responsible for archaeology in Iran for years: "...the palace of eight paradises with a section open on all sides, with four pergola houses on the ground of eight paradises in its four corners Nevertheless, the original and short combination of grace of the past has been preserved
Day 254, April 4, 2019 124.820 km
As already mentioned above, the morning consisted again of walking through the attraction yesterday's positive impression was also reflected during the day. The sun and the warmth did the rest for a perfect day. We miss something (do we really miss it?), since we are in Iran, we have not seen any tourist buses bringing out hundreds of Asians. Around noon weh ave to decide: spend the day here or drive on? That was really difficult, because Isfahan is deeply impressing us and is worth the stay longer. But since the visa is limited and we still have muc more beautiful impressions in front of us, we decided to drive further south, in the direction of Shiraz (but we reserved the right to pass here again on the way back). The remaining 500km we did very fast and arrived at Persepolis which is 50 km before Shiraz at 5.30 p.m.,. hell is going on here. Although Persepolis closes in 30 min, there were still thousands of people here. What a big luck that I can be the first one in tomorrow. We will spend the night here on the parking lot (for 2€), when Persepolis opens at 8 a.m., I will the first one to visit the ruins of the ancient capital Persepolis. While we write this text (10 p.m.), first a very strong thunderstorm pulled over us, followed by a hail, as we have never experienced it before. Thomas jumped up and covered the windshield and got back into the car completely soaked.
Addendum: nothing broken. After about 15 minutes everything was over.
The Shah Mosque, or New Abbasi Mosque, Royal Mosque or Imam Mosque, stands on the south side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square and was built during the Safavid dynasty. It is considered one of the masterpieces of Persian architecture in Islamic times. The mosque is together with the Naghsh-e Jahan Square UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction began in 1611 and the magnificence is mainly due to the beauty of the seven colored mosaic tiles and the calligraphic inscriptions. The mosque is depicted on the back of the Iranian 20,000 rial banknote.
The Naghsh-e Jahan Square is 510x160 m large and after Beijing's Tiananmen Square the largest and at the same time one of the most beautiful places in the world (and that's how I felt, I suddenly didn't just want to take pictures anymore, but just stand and be amazed). In Safawid times it was not only used for parades, but also for polo games and other entertaining events.
Impressions of the shops in the bazaar at Naghsh-e Jahan Square. What really impresses is that really beautiful craftsman work is sold and not cheap trash for tourists.
People at Naghsh-e Jahan Square
Directly after Isfahan the desert begins. Very fascinating for us, just 24 hours ago we were standing in the snow, 30cm high and now we have 25°C and T-Shirt weather (…. for Thomas, not for me, dress code, long sleeves, long trousers and headscarf)
Day 255, April 4, 2019 125.314 km
At 8 a. m. I set off to visit Persepolis. The pictures speak for themselves. You can see everything in about an hour, you don't have to walk long distances. When I returned to the car around 9.30 a.m., I was amazed. The parking lot is about as big as 4 football fields and we parked in the back (more quiet) part and around our car already the first Iranians sat on the ground, several groups. They had put blankets on the floor and picnicked there.
Today we continued direction Shiraz. Originally we wanted to visit some things here, but the traffic here was incredible, so that we only photographed the Karim Khan citadel, to drive to it by car was a nightmare and afterwards we left the city. After Istanbul this city has been the most difficult one we had to cope with by car so far. Oh yes, on the way there we stumbled across the first real supermarket in Iran. So of course, we went straight in and stocked up. First I felt like I was in a land of milk and honey after such a long time without a supermarket. Ok, the cooling rack was very pure, actually mainly different forms of cream cheese, natural yoghurt, milk. Just as I was stretching out my hand for a cream cheese, an Iranian woman who had an employee of the supermarket in tow approached me. She wanted to know what I was looking for and how she could help. All right, the cream cheese I had chosen on suspicion failed, everything I touched was replaced by something that seemed to be of better quality. I couldn't read prices, everything in farsi numbers. All the other customers in this shop forgot their own purchases while I was present, watched at me and smiled, tw oof them tried to talk to me but couldn't speak English. Unfortunately there are no fruits and vegetables here, only packaged goods. In addition there was a butcher who was just about to cut up something big and a bar where whole chickens were lying. Then I had a full shopping cart and paid the equivalent of 10€ for it. Our original plan to drive to the Persian Gulf, from here about 400km, but the temperature predictions are between 35 and 40°C , we discarded it. Instead we turned towards Kerman into the desert. There the temperatures are between 20 and 30°C.
And we already have seen enough coasts on our travels, we are more interested in the desert Lut.
The trip was pleasant. The more we came into the desert, the more the traffic decreased and we were the first time since we are in Iran a little more unobserved and had some time for us. We parked in the middle of the dry salt lake (see photo), which had the consequence that we stood now very calmly, we were visited only twice. We arrived there very early, around 4 p.m. and could finally spend some time sitting in front of the car.
There we also rested overnight
it is already very impressive to come into contact with this 2000 year old culture. We can only recommend to watch it very early in the morning, as this place is extremely well visited.
The ancient Persian royal seat of Persepolis was one of the capitals of the ancient Persian Empire under the Achaemenids and was founded in 520 BC by Darius in southern Iran.
The old Persian residence city of Persepolis was one of the capitals Persepolis was one of the capital citie of the ancient Persian Empire under the Achaemenids and was founded by Dareios in southern Iran in 520 BC.
The citadel was built in 1766/67. Karim Khan invited the best architects and artists of his time and acquired the best materials from other cities and abroad for the construction of the building, which was quickly erected.
The citadel of Karim Khan is located in the northeast of the Iranian city of Shiraz. It was built during the Zand Dynasty as part of a larger complex and served as a residential and military base for the eponymous ruler Karim Khan.
here it is worthto enlarge the picture. A whole shop full of melons
the worst thing we've seen for a long time. Like in Istanbul and it's almost a miracle that we don't have a dent, we felt as if there were no rules here. Driving outside the big cities is not a problem, except that you have to pay attention to the road surface.
Picture 1: you can see this more often here, but we couldn't see if is gas or oil.
Picture 2: this is how the buildings look, not as pompous as we thought they would be
our overnight place, a salt lake east of Fasa
Day 256, April 5, 2019
Today we drive via Kerman directly into the desert Lut. Thomas absolutely wants to see this desert. We are happy that it was a little cloudy, but not raining and therefore only 25°C. We reached at the desert, see picture below, nothing else happened today. Tomorrow we drive another 100 km to the city of Bam. And a few junctions to the right and left of it to discover the desert. We now have a distance of 400 km to Pakistan and Afghanistan, we can see that already here , people look differently as well as their clothing style does. We decided to visit the largest clay brick buildings of the world in Bam and then we go direction Yazd, Tehran, Tabriz, cross the iranian border and leaving Iran direction Armenia. The distance back to Tabriz from here is 2.200 km (Lena, same distance like from Frankfurt to Algarve, ;-))
The desert Lut: normally you may have temperature up to 50°C during the day and 30°C at night. I'm really lucky that we only have 25°C at the moment. Is this now due to the confusion of the climate, recently it rained here, which is not normal or am I just lucky?
Hiding in the desert isn't always that easy. Once we have found a nice place, almost invisible, but even here it didn't take long and they drove off the road to visit us, but this time it was a bit unpleasant (we are now 400 km before Pakistan/ Afghanistan and you can feel that). The clothes/ the outward appearance already look Pakistani and the last visitor was very unpleasant. That's why we decided to drive on to the next bigger rest area, where we would „hide“ between trucks.
Picture 1: Do you know where to go?
Picture 2: the first impressions of the Lut desert, one of the driest points on earth.
Day 257, April 6, 2019 126.060 km
Today we drive towards Bam, our southernmost point in Iran. Behind Bam is only one bigger city and you are at the border to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The drive was impressive, the landscape changed, the first palm trees appeared. The temperatures increased suddenly from 20 to 35°C. But that wasn't really planned, because we had googled via wetter.com that it should only be mid 20 degrees here and 35°C at the coast. That's why we decided to go this way. Wetter.com persistently claimed that it should be 20°C here. No, it's now 36°C and since I'm not as loosely dressed as usual in the heat, but rather very packed, it's not really bearable for me. Thomas is standing next to me in a T-shirt and is happy about the nice weather, Jerry actually gets along quite well with it, but I sweat and don't really feel well.
If you look at it from home and say, well, then I have to wear a headscarf for 14 days and cover my skin, it sounds feasible, but in reality it's exhausting, I say, very unpleasant.
We reached Bam, a beautiful desert city. After Isfahan the city that we like the most (even if very hot, in summer up to 50°C) and stumbled over an impressive mosque its doors wide open. Thomas stopped abruptly and said, "We'll have a look now. We asked passing pedestrians if it was possible for me to go inside this mosque as a woman. And while someone wanted to lead me in, Thomas approached another young man, his name is Mohammed and asked him to lead me through the mosque because he wanted to stay with the car, see pictures below.
On the parking lot, where tour busses parked, we also stayed overnight, because for the first time after entering Iran time we were a little bit on our own and we appreaciated and needed that today.
From Wiki: On 26 December 2003 at 1:56 UTC (5:26 local time) the citadel and a large part of the city of Bam were devastated by an earthquake. Its magnitude was 6.6 on the moment magnitude scale. 70 percent of the modern city of Bam was destroyed. Officially, 30,000 people died as a result of the earthquake, according to independent investigations there were over 43,000 dead and 30,000 injured. The United States sent salvage troops and medical supplies.
really fascinating, but no fun at 36°C. they are in the process of restoring everything, but what will take another 15 years, it is the largest clay brick city in the world, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mohammed also showed me areas that are not accessible for normal tourists. Thomas simply asked him on the street if he could show us the mosque and the citadel and the adjoining city of clay bricks, he left everything there and asked for 5 minutes to change his clothes and showed me everything there to see in Bam. He speaks broken English, but so that we could communicate. Thomas offered him some Rial several times, but he refused it and said again and again "welcome to Iran, in my country". after about 3h he brought us to a quiet bus station, where we can finally relax a bit. We stand under palm trees in the shade and wait until it gets cooler this evening.
From Wiki : The Arg-e Bam ( Persian : ارگ بم ) is the largest clay brick building in the world. It is located in Bam , a town in the province of Kerman in the southeast of Iran . It is listed by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage "Bam and its Cultural Landscape". The origin of this huge citadel on the Silk Road goes back to the Achaemenid Empire (6th to 4th century BC) and even beyond. The heyday of the citadel was from the seventh to the eleventh century, at the crossroads of important trade routes and known for the production of silk and cotton dresses.
Picture 1: the melon costs as much as half a tank filling, although it was bought by a native (Mohammed, who showed us the city today)
Picture 2: I love melons, perfect at 36°C in Bam (desert Lut)
Mosque in Bam, I was allowed to visit it, but unfortunately no photos allowed inside. Mohammed showed me everything inside
Impressions of the desert city Bam, from here it is only 400 km to Pakistan/ Afghanistan
this is Mohammed, who really inspired us. First he stopped his work, to show the mosque to me and the citadel of Bam, then he takes us to a quiet bus parking where we could rest in the shade (35°C at the moment). The next morning he brought us breakfast
Day 258, April 7, 2019 126.178 km
Today we slept a little longer and last night we sat for a long time in front of the car for the first time and enjoyed the warmth that became bearable in the evening, a pleasant wind did the rest. It was a wonderful evening. And since we also had time to think about the country more intensively, we would like to write something about it.
When we decided to go to Turkey / Iran (we want to follow a part of the Silk Road), everyone said "are you crazy, you can't do that, it's dangerous, you'll be kidnapped" and and and and (these statements we heard as well about Turkey, where we stayed 3.5 weeks). In both countries we were treated with courtesy, respect, thoughtfulness, helpfulness, people who gave, helped and expected no return. Thomas tried again and again to give Bakschisch, or wanted to pay, it was so far always vehemently rejected, e.g. our heating was repaired, 3 people worked one day on it and we were not allowed to pay anything. The refilling of the gas bottle was problem, it was immediately solved, the guide of the campground immediately phone, ask people to come, fill the bottle , or we were invited so far each day to the meal, what we also so approx. 20 times since we have been on the road, noticed, we were invited for countless teas, it was never possible for us to pay for it somehow, we partly refuelled for free in Iran, when we asked for something, they always stoppee their actual work, showed us the right way, or drove in front of us to show it, or took us to suüermarktes in their cars, accompanied us, sometimes for several hours, showed us everything and expected no return. We never had to wait, as is usual in Germany.
Even in the tourist areas, where we only stay for a short time when we visit something, no begging, no rip-off, nothing like that. Altogether we have been begged 3 times by very old people. Our only negative experience we had so far on this trip was the story with the Kurds and this demonstration, which had nothing to do with us, we just had to drive through. But to relaize that situation was very unpleasant, because everything else was so nice before, we had to digest it first. We talk a lot about it and simply don't understand why in Europe it is reported so negatively about Turkey and Iran, why we have such a negative impression and attitude. Here it is neither dangerous, nor is one cheated in any way, rather the opposite. In European countries, e.g. Greece, Spain, Italy etc. you get rather ripped off, the people are not so helpful, the people are not as welcoming as here and I am not talking about Germany now. Us who visited Turkey and Iran and who really did spend a lot of time in these two countries feel much safer here than in our European area. Of course we took great care not to express ourselves politically, but seriously, do you think that Chinese, Russian and American politics are so much better? Do you think that everything is always right in Germany?
Every country has strengths and weaknesses. Of course we don't like some political things, but with all the hatred, with all the negativity, you forget the people who live here and who are really different. Turkey is a really beautiful, warm and cheap holiday country and Iran with its drawbacks that as a woman you are confronted with certain restrictions that are culturally determined, but you still feel very comfortable and safe here. If these two countries wouldn´t be so far away from us, we would definitely prefer them to our "normal" holiday countries.
Why is such a negative picture created when we have a public television for which we also pay a lot of money, which is actually there for opinions about the media should not be falsified. But in the German media it only matters if someone has been shot, that happens in Germany and Europe every day, but nobody writes how obliging, how helpful everyone is here. It really annoys us that the media coverage in Germany always only refers to negative things and over a certain period of time, over years, completely distorts the perception. Even if we now may have lost someof our friend, it was a real concern for us to express this here in such a way (why friend less? Because we already had many discussions about Morocco and we had the same experience there. And we often encountered an unspeakable intolerance). One should take the time to get your own impression by visiting a country and not to listen to prefabricated opinion in mind.
Since many countries are politically different than the ones we grew up with, we started to learn about the country and the people who live there and do not judge them because they have a certain political system. We just concentrate on the people character. We never express or judge our political opinion, but for us the people itselves count and worth who are worth to be visited.
This is ot only our opinion or attitude, but we have also read countless travel reports from other travellers reporting in the same way, h our opinion expressed here is reflected in theirs.
Back to the travelogue:
After we visited, Gondab-e Jabaliye (Gondab or Rock Dome, also known as Gabri Dome, in Kerman, which is rectangular and consists of three floors, which are crowned by a flat, inside empty dome, it was perhaps a Zoroastrian building, we are now on our way to Yazd. Which is still 350km from here.
The desert Lut (Persian Kavir-e Lut) lies in the southeast of Iran. Situated in the middle of the provinces of South Khorasan, Sistan-Baluchestan and Kerman, it is considered to be one of the least explored places in the country. Besides 700 meter high sand dunes there are also some of the largest yardangs in the world - these are eroded, huge bumps that rise out of the desert. The Lut Desert covers an area of 166,000 km² and is one of the largest deserts in the country. Southwest of it lies the Zagros Mountains and to the north is the Kavir Desert. In the desert Lut one of the highest temperatures on earth was measured with a temperature of more than 70° C once. Therefore a journey should be well plannedt - water is hardly to be found here.
Desert impressions out of the car (Desert Lut)
one of the countless sightseeings in Kerman, on our trip we stopped and took pictures all the time. Iran really has a lot to offer.
The Jablilla dome, also called the Gobain dome, is the only stone building in Kerman that was built during the Sassanid period and before Islam. This tourist attraction lights up and shines at night above the city.
The inscriptions in this building contain the inscription of the mosque Abder Ashkan Rabbar. This inscription is one of the oldest inscriptions related to the monument to a mosque in the highlands of the northern town of Rababadi, Aberdeen in Ashkan, in the town of Baft. The inscription was made on a piece of natural stone and made into the Kufi line.
Susanne snacks dates, which Mohammed gave us yesterday. Very very sweet, but tasty
Yes the first
or like-minded people
it turned out to be a beautiful evening.
Exchange of experiences
was at the very top.
Day 259, April 8, 2019 126.744 km
Rest day in Yazd
So far we have spent during our 10 days stay in Iran 140 €, including everything, fuel as well. And we were not economical, have driven 3,200 km, had a lot of food.
Laundry in the hotel worked, it took 24 hours, then two thick bags with clean, dry laundry came back for the equivalent of 7€. Finally we have everything clean again and don't have to watch out for any further opportunities to wash clothes.
Today in Yazd in front of the hotel another German family with three small children joined us with an ancient, converted fire truck. Immediately a lively conversation developed, startet before dinner and after until late into the night in front of the car. Unfortunately our way will be probably won't cross again, since they're taking the route via Turkmenistan, Tajikistan.
the Amir Chakhmaq Complex, unfortunately only photographed by day, in the dark it is beautifully illuminated
he Friday Mosque and again the Amir Chakhmaq Complex
he different mosaics in and around the mosques are very impressive
Impressions of the beautiful desert town Yazd, which we liked very much and which is worth a trip
09.04.19 126.744 km Day 260
There were two choices today,
1. 1-2 more nights in the desert, not far from here,
Second direction Tehran.
We contacted Sama, we met when we were invited for dinner with her family in Hamedan, whether she has time on Wednesday to show us Tehran and have dinner with us. Tehran it is about 700 km from here through the Kabir desert. On the way there are still most sightseeings, e.g. in Kashan and in the pilgrim city Ghom. We assume that we will reach Tehran tomorrow afternoon. The visit oft he desert is only postponed, we still have some more desert to come, e.g. the desert Gobi. The journey from Yazd to Kashan today is completely different from our outward journey to the south. While we mainly drive through mountains there, the road now leads completely straight through a desert, in the background you can see the snow-covered mountain ranges. At around 6 p.m. we arrived at Kashan and had a wonderful evening in a small park on the outskirts of the city. Also Kashan has impressive mosques, but today we have to visit more, we enjoy a warm, quiet evening at 25°C, comfortable for the three of us in front of the car. We are also looking forward to tomorrow like little children, because I asked Sama not to show us the touristic Tehran, but her personal Tehran. And we are looking forward to inviting her to dinner as a thank you for her help. If someone had told us that we would come to Tehran at some point to visit the city with a friend... we would never have expected that in our lives and would have declared him as crazy. Now we see it from a different perspective and have a huge anticipation.
Yazd - our 2-day stop, fun by the side, here was washing day announced, 2 big bags full for 7€ in the Silk Road Hotel. The overnight stay here didn't cost anything, so it became a kind of meeting point for overlanders from all around the world (see right in the picture).
Impressions of a well passable road through the Lut desert
an old abandoned caravanserai on the road. These used to be the overnight accommodation points of the camel caravans. We have seen a lot of them in the last weeks, because we always following the route of the Silk Road.
Day 261, April 10, 2019 127.177 km in Tehran
that we'd ever visit Tehran, we'd laugh at him and say no way. Around noon we reached Tehran and tried to find the address given by Sama. This turned out to be very difficult because there were a lot of narrow streets, we had to manoeuvre sometimes, the streets were sometimes not wider than the car. In the end we ound it and as well a parking place in the shade and Sama came to the car. The joy of reunion was huge, Sama showed me her apartment and we went to Tehran and showed me her personal Tehran on foot. Now I let the 9 million city of Tehran work on me, we visited a bazaar, I felt like I was flashed back in another time, into the tales of 1001 night. We restricted the extremely high amount of attractions by the visit of only one mosque, for which I had to dress for the first time in an extra room and had to wrap a large white cloth over my entire body. We walked for hours through the north of Tehran, looked at shops, let the people work on us, it is very crowded, often you have to squeeze yourself between crowds of people. Sama told me a lot about life in Iran and Tehran. It showed that she likes to live in Iran, Finally we went to a restaurant for dinner and because I was curious, I was allowed to try all the soups that were just cooked, We ate lamb kebab with saffron rice. Around 6 p.m. we were back at the car and Thomas had a surprise for me.
First of all I have to say that the original plan was to travel via Tabriz to Armenia, then further to Georgia and Russia, which has the consequence that Azerbaijan can probably not be visited afterwards, because Azerbaijan and Armenia are actually at a kind of war, because the Autonomous Republic Nachitschewan /Bergkarabach , has declared itself independent, what is supported by Armenia, not by Azerbaijan. It is currently not possible to come from Armenia to Azerbaijan, and people who were previously in Armenia will not be admitted to Azerbaijan.
Back to the surprise: actually we didn't want to go to Azerbaijan either, because according to the internet there is a very high corruption of the street police and these visa stories for all the small countrieswhich we now have on our upcoming route are very often complicated or it takes a very long time to get or the visa will be refused, First we actually decided not to visit Azerbaijan. While I was strolling comfortably in Tehran, Thomas googled our upcoming itinerary on the internet and found out that since 1.1.2019 it is possible to apply online for an eVisa for Azerbaijan which allows you to stay in the country for 45 days without having to register daily. Yes, there is a similar thing that you always have to register wherever you are. And that's where he actually applied for these online visas without further ado. Normally it takes 3 days, but he used the opportunity to get it in highspeed within three hours (extra cost 20€). And now he sat in front of the PC and waited for the answer if the visas would be approved. As it was getting dark already and we didn't want to park directly in the street or the night, we decided to drive to a parking lot 2km further from here, where you can park overnight at night according to IOverlander. The parking lot had a fantastic view of Tehran. We stood quite apart, enjoyed the evening and the visa was approved. Sama was informed that she would get us a printout, which we would pick up the following morning, she promised us that too. Am I thrilled to be going to Azerbaijan tomorrow? I don't know.
That mean, new route: Azerbaijan, Baku, the capital, then further to Tbilisi, Georgia and from there another turn to Armenia. Then again via Georgia to Russia and Kazakhstan. These three countries are quite small countries, which can be crossed in 2-3 days, but we want to take some time and take a closer look.
And just as we were about to go to sleep, the parkkeeper came and told us that we were not allowed to park here overnight. Short version: there was a 30min discussion with several phone calls and after Thomas had made it clear that he can't drive a car in the dark (little white lie), we agreed that we'll rest here and continue tomorrow when it gets light (lucky). And so I went to bed with the thought in my mind, do I really want to go to Azerbaijan?
Here we parked for the night
35 km more comfortable driving...still Thomas doesn't know what to expect...then hell broke in on him. Driving in Teheran/ Istanbul, there is nothing worse!
Tehran during the day, below the same thing then at night from our actual overnight place
my visit to a mosque in Tehran, here you as a woman have to wrap yourself in a separate room beforehand. The inner courtyard was very large, I had the impression that people do not only come to pray, but spend time there, sit together, talk, or read. Taking pictures was not possible.
Traffic Jam in Teheran
Impression of the streets of Tehran, very busy and pedestrians do not have an easy life here. Cars don't stop for pedestrians, you have to throw yourself in between and hope to arrive on the other side.
this is my friend Sama, she spend her time to show me her Tehran. On the table the soups we were allowed to test.
our dinner in a Tehran restaurant, lamb kebab with saffron rice. Although a very good restaurant the portion (not small) costs around 4€.
what should darf´s be?
Impressions from my visit to Tehran and the bazaar which I will never forget. 1001 night greets, incomparable smells of spices, teas, dried fruits and flowers.
Tehran by night, it lies in a valley. The size of the city becomes very clear in the dark by the sea of lights.
Day 262, April 11, 2019 127.469 km
As agreed the evening before, we got up at 5 a.m., left the parking lot, parked about 500m in front of the entrance of the parking lot on the street and went back to sleep. Around 9 a.m. Sama had already sent a whatsapp that she had the printouts of our eVisa ready. Since Thomas absolutely refused to drive through these narrow streets with our car again, we stopped a taxi, I jumped in, drove to Sama to pick up the eVisa, while the taxi driver waited for me and then brought me back to our van. Hurray, I'm still alive, because the taxi drivers drive here like executioners, the fun cost 1.50€, the action took half an hour. Happy that we have the visa, we set off towards the border, we wanted to get as close as possible to the border today and then leave Iran tomorrow towards Azerbaijan.
After we managed to work our way out of Tehran for about 1 hour, we drove through a very winding mountain range. Then the landscape changed, it became suddenly flat and green. Rice fields as far as the eye can see. In advance we had googled three overnight accommodations, which lie at the Caspian Sea, on the way to the border, we wanted to decide for one of these later. Already the first one, let's say a kind of camping site, turned out to be good, very big, with a lot of space, we were able to stand very secluded. So we had a relatively lonely corner. It didn't cost us anything to enter, because after realizing where we arefrom, he just waved us through. After we had put our feet in the Caspian Sea, we made ourselves comfortable in front of the car, enjoyed the afternoon, philosophized a lot about the Iran visit, which is coming to an end tomorrow. Because we stood so apart and started to play some music.
the Caspian Sea has a green-brownish appearance on the Iranian side (but this also has to do with the fact that a lot of water and mud flows from the rivers because of the heavy rainfalls of the past days. Further up in Azerbaijan the Caspian Sea was deep blue again.
our usual habbit, when we discover a new sea, we have to put our feet in it
Beach at the Caspian Sea, very much frequented by locals until late evening. From the temperatures in the daytime of about 35°C we have now just 20°C. Today is Friday, thus in Iran the Sunday
Melons within reach
Day 263, April 12, 2019 127.874 km Today border crossing to Azerbaijan
After a quiet, beautiful night at the Caspian Sea, although, it wasn't so quiet at all, because around 3 a.m. the police knocked. We had a language barrier again. We only understood that the policeman said that we could be robbed. But we were very sleepy and answered, everything is ok, we are safe here. After 5min back discussion, he accepted that and we could go on sleeping. The next morning we noticed the concern of the policemen last night. Because after our little farewell party last night we had actually forgotten to close the passenger window because we listened to music through the open window. And this window remained open the whole night. But the doors were locked so that nothing could have been stolen from us. The policeman probably wanted to draw our attention to the fact that we had forgotten to close a window.
We made our way towards Astara, today was the border crossing from Iran to Azerbaijan. Remaining 70 km to the border, for which we should need actually only 70 minutes. We needed however in reality 2 hours, which was because of the fact that we stopped again and again and tried to convert our remaining Rial into food. In addition, the landscape had changed extremely, everything was green all at once. Rice fields, yes really rice fields in Iran and our first ones, which we saw in our life. Many cattles walking along the road, standing on the road. After the 14 days of heat and dust, that felt very pleasant. And around 1 p.m. we arrived at the border to Azerbaijan.
short stop before the border, trying to spend our last Rial. We asked for cigarettes and then two people went out to get it for us, more and more people became curious and joined the group and there was a giant palaver plus tea invitation again.
our first rice fields in our life, in Iran we did not expect them at all and we were very surprised. About 100km after Tehran towards Azerbaijan the area suddenly became flat and green. Further back lies the Caspian Sea
We describe the procedure here exactly for other travelers.
In advance, the border crossing ha staken 4 hours until we were allowed to cross the border to Azerbaijan. On the Iranian side it was very chaotic again. Also the roads in this area were in a very bad condition. After entering the border area , directly on the right side the tank level was checked, they checked the remaining amount of diesel in the tank. We had about 100l, but our tank size was only 100l, so we could agree on 70l diesel in the tank. Thomas had to go right into the first office and paid 16€ (2.3 Mio Rial), we got a green receipt and while Thomas was still paying the diesel price, a guard came from the left building and took the Carnet de Passage and typed something into the computer, stamped it, and gave it back to us, without tearing off the part of the carnet that remains in the country and gave us a white note with some data on it. Then we had to go on, they showed to which house to go to, a house with a big antenna on the roof. Due to the many trucks and exorbitant potholes everywhere, it was not so easy to get access to the house. Inside this house Thomas went, as described in the Internet, crossed the whole room to the last counter, where also the ATM is located and handed over the Carnet. Now he had to wait about15 min and observed how three officers sitting there insulted each other, who now had to take care of this Carnet (afterwards we noticed that they were waiting for him to instruct the smuggler standing next to him. But Thomas remained persistent. But so did the smuggler).
After about 15 minutes one of the three officers took pity on him and accompanied Thomas to the car and compared the chassis number and the license plate with the information in the carnet. But then he found out that we have Jerry with us. Now the papers of the dog were demanded. And now it was about the dog for another 10 minutes. They tried to understand the dog papers/ vaccination passport (nobody can read or understand them here) and nobody had heard anything about microchips. Since the situation became more and more unpleasant, because they were looking for something and we didn't know what and they couldn't read the papers, Thomas unceremoniously took off Jerry's collar, showed him the badge of the German dog tax and now they were really happy, smiled all over their faces and went back to the customs building. Again back to the last counter. The data of the Carnet was now registered by hand in a thick book and stamped again. And now the officer handed over the carnet to the smuggler, who went a few steps aside with Thomas and now wanted a fee for the stamp. Thomas explained to him that this stamp free of charge, left him alone and went back to the car.
Now we were allowed to drive towards the exit gate, where once again everything was clogged by trucks and we had to drive backwards the whole road and forward via another sideway. Visually it looked like an abandoned industrial building, with potholes in which an elephant could have a bath in. Now we had three pieces of paper, a green one for the petrol check, a white one and the carnet was not torn off yet, but stamped. When they saw us coming, they waved us into the driveway and suggested that we go into the building, which attracted the displeasure of a truck driver who was now waiting behind us. Thomas wanted to let him pass, but was not allowed to. In the driver's cabin of the truck there were several clouds of smoke above the driver's head and he cursed uninterruptedly. The clouds of smoke also became really dark, because although we thought we had done in order now, we stood there for half an hour, the truck driver had to wait also that long. We would have liked to make room for him, but we couldn't. Shortly before the barrier Thomas went into the first building, handed over the green and white paper and the carnet. Now we were asked again, what we have done here in the country, which places we visited and for which reason. After about 15 minutes we thought again, we finished all. Thomas said, I really want to see an exit stamp in the passport and asked explicitly for it. Thereupon we were sent 10m further to another counter, we went in there with the passports. Again everything was typed into the computer, where we have been, at which date, what else, we don't know. Thomas wanted the stamp, and after another 15 min we were again sent tot he next counter. The truck driver still waiting behind us ran amok in the meantime. Now the driver was sharply reprimanded by the border officers. And finally we got our stamp, from the police. But who is thinking now, stamp in, drive on, is wrong. Again an endless questioning, where, why, when. Also in the computer the places were entered and inquiries were made. At some point he stamped and now we finally passed the iranian border.
At least that's what we thought
Because directly at the barrier we were stopped again, had to show the identity cards. The car was checked again superficially. And NOW we really finally passed the border.
On the side of Iran this was a pure paper war and apart from looking superficially into the car, it was nothing. Now we had to cross the river and were in Azerbaijan. We were the only ones, beside some trucks. We drove very slowly into the border area.
Part 2 of the day/border crossing Azerbaijan in the next block
just enlarge it, this is the Iranian border crossing to Azerbaijan
Iran - Resumee
here a few final words about Iran. It's really totally different than you think. It is interesting, it has an incredible number of attraction and famous old buildings, in our eyes the country is much safer than Germany, the people are one of the most courteous, polite, nice people we have met on our travels so far. A large part of them speak really good English. The roads are in good condition. You can spend the night anywhere you want (if you find a vacancy, in the upper part of Iran, in the lower part of Iran in the desert it is no problem at all). You also get everything like at home. As a woman you have to make a compromise because of the clothing regulations, but you get used to it. Concerning diesel we had no problems, related to quality (we have an Euro 5 engine) and we always got diesel at the gas stations, we just took care to refuel early, mostly about 40 or 50 liters.
Washing laundry is not easy, we had to look for a hotel, where we ask them for doing the laundry and paid for 2 large bags 7€.
At every gas station there are toilets and some showers.
The driving in cities hast o be done with caution, here everyone drives as he wants. Crossing a street as a pedestrian means suicide, cars don't stop for pedestrians and the cars accelerate instead.
During my taxi ride I feared for my life because of the driving style.
To get the visa was easy, done within 4 days, is valid 3 months and depending on the negotiation 30, 60 or 90 days stay in the country. We opted for a double visa to get in and out twice (75 p.P.).
Crossing the border, easy, not as bad as you read on the internet, the only disadvantage, here you need a Carnet de Passage.
And funny, here there is a HALF hour time difference, so 2.5 hours later than in Germany.
A full tank (120l) for 5€ and food and drink, food is so cheap that we didn't spend more than 10€ per day, if at all.
We got for 300€ in April 2019 the equivalent of 40 Mio Rial. That corresponds to 4 million Toman. You get Rial, all prices are written out in Toman (factor 10 less) and then you pay in Rial.
In the lower part of Iran that consists of desert it is very hot, in the upper part that consists partly of mountains it is cool, the country has brought us into most different climatic regions, we had temperatures between 0 and 36 degrees and heights up to 2800 m.
We met a handful of Germans in Iran, like-minded people, about half of them travelled the country to see the sights, like us, the other half was here, because you can live here almost for free. Because these people use the Taarof, which is lived here, i.e. the locals offer you everything, pay everything for you, because you are a guest.
We are totally fascinated by this country and the people, we are so positively surprised by the reality and will surely come back again someday, this is 1001 nights, this is Persia and you can really feel it.
UPDATE April 15, 2020, now one year has passed by. We would like to let you know, that we still have a very cordial contact to Sama in Iran. It is a friendship that we never expected one year ago. And we really hope that we can meet again in the future. A big hug to Sama, you are in our hearts!