Translation to english by Mila T. <3
What a permanent up and down of feelings in Iran. In the end, I spent 35 days in this wonderful country and Luca 25. Our time was marked by many success stories and great experiences, but also by various setbacks.
While it took Luca a full 9 days from Turkey, Georgia and finally Armenia all the way to the Iranian border to finally enter (Here you find his personal adventure), my border crossing on St. Nicholas’s Day was relatively smooth. After my visa was checked, the officials had a quick look into our car and the roof box and that was it. Fortunately, an acquaintance on the Iranian side was waiting to help me get the necessary stamps for our Carnet de Passage and to help me get an insurance. The whole procedure was done after about two hours and we were on our way to Urmia to his family. There, for the first time,in the following 48 hours, I was able to enjoy the extremely hospitable nature of the Iranian population.
After these extremely relaxing days, I spent most of the time until Lucas’s arrival with Hamid and his family in Tehran. A volunteer whom we met on Chios brought us into contact with each other, which, as it turned out later, was an absolute stroke of luck for us. Small repairs to the car, the preparation of our first donation in Iran and the attempt to support Luca from afar on his odyssey filled my days. As uneventful as the majority of this time has been, that’s how memorable the highlights were. For just under 24 hours, I plunged into the world of a ten-story mountain village, located about two and a half hours south of Tehran. A friend of Hamid’s brother-in-law lives there with his brothers. Apart from them, two other families are part of this small community, which earns its daily bread by livestock and enjoys taking their days slowly. Fortunately, the village even has a small school where children are taught by the teacher of a nearby village.
When after a felt eternity the long-awaited “go” came from Georgia, because Luca had his Iranian visa in his pocket, I set off on my way to the border, which was about 800 km away, to pick him up. Now, finally, we were able to explore the almost unkown country together. No matter where we went in Iran and what problems we faced, Hamid stood by our side and always had a friend, that would be able to offer us a place where we could spend the night. We benefited from it in one of the first nights when we traveled the north-west of Iran and were able to stay south of Ardabil at Mojtaba’s,his wife and also with his extremely sweet little daughter. During the day we roamed the surrounding woods with him and his father and in the evening we enjoyed the delicious Iranian cuisine. Afterwards we went over the Caspian Sea to Tehran, where we spent the festivities around Yalda with Hamid and his family and also made a donation in a village outside of Tehran.
Yalda is a party celebrated on the evening of 21.12 before the longest night of the year. Since the sun can be seen a few minutes longer every day after this night, the celebration is dedicated to the symbolic victory of light over the dark. This is when the whole family comes together and after dinner one of the present family members reads from the collection of the legendary poet Hafis. Every poem chosen by chance deals with the biggest problem of each family member and should show its solution. They begin with the Elder, until finally a poetic text was read to every family member, all the way to the youngest. The whole thing has become more of an entertaining tradition since nobody seems to believe in divination anymore, still this rite has given us great pleasure.
On the Saturday before Christmas and at the same time our last evening with Hamid, we cooked for him and his family a goulash with bread dumplings to show our gratitude, which in the end , surprisingly, turned out better than initially expected.
Since the weekend in Iran,doesnt take place on Saturday and Sunday, but on Thursday and Friday, we spent the whole Sunday morning in the Indian Visa Application Center. After we had successfully completed this administrative procedure, disaster beyond all expectations should take shape more and more in the afternoon. One day later, we found out that it should be impossible for us to apply for the Pakistani visa in Iran. It was clear to us in advance that we would not get the necessary stamps in the Pakistani embassy in Tehran, but that due to the sanctions imposed on the country, we had no opportunity to send our passports back to Germany,was devastating news. After much consideration of the supposedly remaining options, such as transiting Pakistan, the best-sounding solution for us was the temporary return home to Germany. Coincidentally, this Monday fell on Christmas Eve and the prospect of spending the holidays and New Year’s Eve with loved ones at home, let the bad mood over the situation disappear quickly. So we booked our flights to Cologne and Munich for the same evening and spent the rest of the day at the TV tower in Tehran, while we couldnt stop picturing, how crazy and incredibly cool it would be, to see all our friends and family spontaneously on Christmas. Especially for Luca ‘s girlfriend the short visit should be a big surprise. We quickly parked the car in a 24-hour monitored car park, then quickly packed up a few things before we started the first part of the journey back to Istanbul.
The twelve days in Germany, of course, flew by, but were enough, so that Luca could even witness the birth of his godchild. At the beginning of January, we were on schedule with the Pakistani visa in our pockets, back in Iran, freshly motivated to tackle the second half of our journey.
The second part of our time in Iran follows ..