Our Journey through Iran Part 2

Translation to English by Mila T. <3

Back in Iran, to our relief, our car was actually untouched at the place where we had parked it ten days before. Since I was in Tehran 24h before Luca, I had the honor of picking him up the next day at 5 o’clock in the morning at the airport. Of course, there was no time to sleep in, as we had planned to get through the last official tour of our journey as quickly as possible. So, we made our way directly to the Indian Visa Application Center, where we faced no nasty surprises and the application went smoothly. It was even possible for us to specify a delivery address of a friend from Kerman, which should save us a subsequent return to Tehran later on.

With nothing left to do in the capital, we were finally able to set out to explore the rest of this enchanting land. Of course, the first goal was already set. We wanted go to the west of Iran to the border with Iraq, a region that regularly suffers from massive earthquakes.

Hamid put us in contact with Sharam, a middle-aged Kurd who had lived in Norway for 10 years, so we could enjoy living with locals here as well. Despite the distressing situation of the city with all the half-ruined houses and tents standing on almost all open spaces, our time in Sarpol should be the nicest of our trip to date. In addition to the two donations that we were able to make on the spot (School, Footballteam), we especially cherish the communal life with the family, including Franky, a close friend of our host, who lived temporarily in the house, that brought us such warmth and joy, it was really hard to say goodbye after only six days.

Afterwards, a couple of packed touristy days in Shiraz, Persepolis, Pasargad and Yazd were on the program for which we first had to cover a distance of more than 1,000 km to the first destination. Halfway, we wanted to set up our camp on a remote road, where we once again hadn’t reckoned with the local police. After less than an hour, the first armed plainclothes police arrived to tell us it was too dangerous. After a lengthy passport control and what felt like a hundred attempts to explain that we didn’t mind and we just wanted to sleep, we had no choice but to go with them and spend a rather short night in front of the guardhouse. Unfortunately, resistance is pointless here, although people actually only meant well with us.

The next days made up for it. The imposing Persian buildings, some of them more than 2,500 years old, or the remains of former palaces left us speechless. For example, the Achaemenid Empire that stretched from present-day Pakistan to the Mediterranean two and a half millennia ago is considered one of the first advanced civilizations, with the fortunes of the empire ruling from Persepolis and Pasargad, respectively. While there,the knowledge of the Indian peoples, the old Greece as well as from Egypt merged together, in Germany still every clan lived for itself in the forests.

If you know the desert planet Tatooine from Star Wars, you can imagine what the city center of Yazd looks like. Anyone who sips a cay tea here on one of the roof terraces and lets their gaze wander over the dome buildings made of clay, feels directly immersed in one of the fairy tales from 1001 Nights. It was really great!

The travel from Yazd to the nearby desert wasn’t long. At first it was planned that I should finally go flying, in addition we wanted to rent Quads to ride with them over the dunes. Of course, none of that happened. The extremely windy conditions thwarted the plan of flying and the quads were simply not fit to drive. For some, the transmission was broken, for the others, the engine did not run smoothly. But we did not spoil the mood and made the best of it as always. After fighting our way through the vast expanses of the desert all day long, for the first time on our trip, we cooked in the car that evening. The next morning we climbed a nearby rock formation to take in the breathtaking panorama again.

The last stop on our journey through Iran was Jiroft. After a short stopover in Kerman, where we picked up our passports with the Indian visa on schedule, we went to the village about three hours south. Of course, it was not without reason that we ended up in this somewhat remote corner of the country. This region is also marked by great poverty, which is why we made an effort to work locally on behalf of Travel for Smiles.  In the end, we again shared a few smiles and could leave with a good feeling towards Pakistan.

But Iran had one last highlight for us. After we had just fought our way through the desert with the last drops of diesel in the tank, a Baluch told us about a 80 km away gas station, where foreigners could refuel for free. Of course we did not want to miss that and followed him and his tanker truck to the place mentioned. To our astonishment, the gas station actually had a sign reading “Free fuel to foreign tourist cars, Dear Guests, Dear Iran”. Of course, we didn’t need a second invitation and filled our tank and all three twenty liters of reserve canisters, so that we could fill up a total of 140 liters of fuel for free. What an end to a wonderful time!

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