Iranian Surprises

I left Turkey with the sorest legs you can imagine, sorer even then when I went kickboxing with Catriona…. Couldn’t walk properly for nearly 5 days but now I’m already thinking of walking up Mount Damovand, with it 5671m the highest in Iran.

I also left Turkey with Wilbert who, apart from being Dutch and having cycled from Holland, I have completely nothing in common with. For example;
He likes spending lots of money, I try to make it last. He likes cycling when it’s real hot, I prefer it cool. He likes to leave late and cycle till dark, I like to start and stop early. He likes cities, I prefer the country. He breathes through his mouth, me through my nose. He likes tea, I like coffee. He is right-wing, I am left. He is a fussy eater, I eat everything (it shows, he lost 10kg since Holland, I lost none) He can’t remember the last time he sang, I love to sing & cycle. He likes his clothes sparkling clean, I’m happy as long as I can’t smell myself. He thinks he’s always right, but of course I am…
We do both talk a lot which certainly keeps things interesting.
Now were going to cross the deserts of Iran and Turkmenistan together in midsummer. See how that goes.

So far Iran is a very interesting country. Cycling you see very poor villages build of clay next to the roads in perfect condition. Funny that we’ve had 4 punctures in the first few days.. it’s the left behind and fallen apart truck tires on the side of the road with little bits of metal. But in the cities you almost think its Europe, it looks modern and people are very well-educated and dress fashionable –when you can see it-. In most places the women are covered up in their chadors and Ayatollahs are looking down on you at every street corner. That’s a difference. I have to cycle with headscarf too which is not very comfy.

It’s getting warmer as well, at first we cycled still high up through hills and plains with lots of green and little streams. Now we’re getting lower and the temperature higher. The landscape isn’t too interesting. We’ve been cycling on the highway since it’s a lot safer then the other road where there’s no space and many trucks. On the highway there’s hardly any traffic, that might have something to do with the fact petrol is rationed. Everybody gets just 100liter the month. Great for cyclists! The traffic that is on the road waves and smiles and often stops for us to give water, tea, food or fruit. One truck driver even cooked us a complete meal out the side of his truck!
The distances between towns are getting longer as well, we camped out a few times and I’ve taken a ‘bottle-shower’. It’s funny to cycle all day completely covered up and then standing somewhere in Iran in just a bikini… But the water heats up nicely on the back of the bicycle.

The people have really been amazing! It’s even friendlier then Turkey!!! But the one that really surprised me is Ali.

We met Ali and his friend Mokhtar at a roadside restaurant where we (I) were recovering from a bit of a climb and the heat. He insisted on paying our bill and then invited us to come and stay at his “small apartment” in Tabriz. When we made it there after 121km we found out his “small apartment” was nearly a penthouse! So in luxury we spend two days in Tabriz. Ali himself had to work, he owns a few oil factories and an office in Dubai, but for us he arranged a car and a driver who took us around town and showed us the sights, bought us lunch and got my back wheel repaired (for the 4th time and it’s still no good). In the evening, after buying me a dress/jacket in a fancy boutique ’cause he didn’t want to get me arrested, he took us to a restaurant on top of a 5-star hotel that turns around so you can see the whole of Tabriz. Except it was raining so hard you didn’t see much. That surprised Ali but not me. It has been raining in every single country I’ve been so far so why should Iran be any different…

Ali had also invited us to come and stay with his family near Tehran when we got there. So after a few days of struggle against headwind, or well… Wilbert struggling and me staying in the slipstream :-DVery Happy We’ve arrived and were welcomed as old friends and introduced to the family. Especially Ali’s daughter who is 15, speaks perfect English and wants to work for NASA is great to talk too. She knows much about the world and the country she lives in and explains us about the way things work around here.

So we’ll be staying a couple of days to get my Uzbek and Turkmenistan visa before heading south to Esfahan and then across the much dreaded dessert… we’ll see.

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13 thoughts on “Iranian Surprises

  1. Nou, heb ik je nog geen uur geleden aan de lijn gehad bij Ali in Karaj, staat je stukje alweer op je blog. Leuk hoor! Door het trage internet zijn de foto’s dus niet gelukt, kennelijk. Maar die houden we nog te goed :-)
    Hopenlijk lukt het met je fiets, genoeg fietsenmakers in Teheran, schat ik zo.
    Succes met alle visa en de groeten aan Ali (en Wilbert)

    Kus!

    papa & mama

  2. ….en nog even n.a.v. m’n bovenstaande stukje: je was er blijkbaar nog mee bezig, want toen ik het geplaatst had zag ik ineens dat er wél fotoá op staan, hardstikke leuk! Ga ze nu nú bekijken…

    papa

  3. good to hear you are ok, I was starting to get worried! Sounds like you are having lots of fun and a great time in a very different world in many ways (and you certainly don´t get bored with your nice travel companion, by the sound of it…) ;-)
    Good travels, i hope for more little reports soon…
    herdis :-)

  4. HALLO MIRJAM,
    WEER EEN LAND VERDER EN DE FOTO’S ZEGGEN GENOEG, JE SCHRIJFT JE VERHALEN LEVENSECHT EN IK GENIET ER VAN.
    WENS JE VERDER WEER VEEL FIETSGENOEGEN EN TAKE CARE.
    RIET SOUER (TANTE) UIT MAASSLUIS.
    Regina uity Tasmanië, als je deze mail leest geef je e-mailadres Jan Cees is ook geïnteresseerd.

  5. Hi Mirjam, Nice to hear you are safe in Iran. My brother phillip said he spent two hours the other day looking at all your photos and stories. He’s amazed. He says you take a very good photo too. I think so too. Well look after yourself my prayers are with you for a safe journey.
    regina.vandonselaar@bigpond.com ( Jan Cess)

  6. ola…
    what beautiful thoughts flow as i read of your adventures.. your life.. and how you interact with the surrounding nature.. keep safe and enjoying..
    a welcome mat when you arrive in australia.. to hear of your many stories..

    peace and love
    steve
    italianvilla9@hotmail.com

  7. hej Mirjam wow wowowow really kool I am so happy your having a great time. it is funny your friend Wilbert is so diferent to you perfect match :-) ;-)

    take care Tony :-)

  8. lieve mirjam wat heb je al een eind gereden een hele prestatie.we hebben je hele verhaal gelezen.je bent nu dus in iran maar goed dat je samen bent al ga je liever alleen maar dat komt wel weer als door dat land bent.we vinden het een hele prestatie maar let goed op jezelf.we zijn blij dat alles nog goed gaat.met ons gaat alles ook naar wens. we blijven steeds op de hoogte hoe het met jou gaat en dat vinden we fijn/verder veel liefs van ons beiden en eendikke kus van oma xxxxxxxx

  9. Hoooooi Mir, goed man dat je al in Iran bent en dat alles goed gaat, ik zit nu vanaf de puter bij Liselot en Daan te tiepen want ik heb zelf voorlopig geen internet maar ik ben blij dat het goed gaat. Succes verder en groeten van mij en van Daan en Liselot!

  10. Hello Miriam! Just imagine – word of your little cycling tour has already spread from Istanbul to Australia!!! Today Steve and I walked into a shop here in Townsville (Queensland) and it turned out that the owner was Turkish and somehow we mentionend you, because he said he goes over to Istanbul for 3 months every year and he said: Oh yes, I remember that girl! There was an article in the newspaper back in Istanbul! She´s really brave! …
    How nice is that!!! hehehe…
    Enjoy your ride
    and take care!
    Herdis :-)

  11. Hey Mirjam, wat ben je al ver… blijf schrijven, we volgen je op de voet (als we d’r aan denken…grapje…)groetjes ook namens Ronald, David

  12. Hoi Mirjam, via je site konden we een leuke blik werpen op onze zoon: Teus-Jan. Bedankt hiervoor, want zoals je wrs. wel weet maakt hij zeer weinig foto,s.
    Mooie verhalen schrijf je en we wensen je nog een hele mooie tijd op de fiets.
    Teus en Sjanie van Oosterom uit Woerden.

  13. Ja nu nog een berichtje van een zus van Teus Jan; wat een mooie foto’s!! You are an artist! levenskunstenares. Thanks for sharing & take care (lukt wel geloof ik).

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