On the 1rst of July, after our break in Dogubayazit we were heading towards Iran.
We wanted to cross the boarder as early as possible; due to the time
differerence between Turkey and Iran we have to add of 1.5 hrs. We were slightly nervous and wondered if everything would work out smoothly. The first hurdle was the Turkish exit control. First we queded with the cars, but we were sent inside, to pass through a cage7gate (5m long 2,5m high and 0.8m wide) where we could get the exit stamp. With the bike there was no way we could get through, so we parked them in front of the gate and qued. Slowly we move forward, quite many people were passing us without queing. After 2hrs very close to the cage againsome guys tried to sneek in in front of us. Here we complained loudly and got some nasty comments in Turkish that we ansered in Swiss German, it helped. After we had gotten the exit stamp, we had to fight back against the stream through the cage to reach ower bikes. The Immigration in Iran was much smoother; we did not even have to wait. We were brought right away to an officer that asked some questions and gave us some information material and even argued with her colleagues to ensure that our passport got the correct entry stamp and even more important the correct duration of stay. Finally we were in IranJ
What are our first impressions about the country?
What we have been telling about the hospitality in Turkey cannot be compared with what we experience in Iran. Wherever we stop, be it only to check the map we are always offered help. It even happened that they showed us the way to the hotel, driving their car in front of us. When we stopped in Marand, a small boy came with a bowl of apricots and cherries. After we finished our refreshment he came back with cakes …on top we got offered 2 cans of cold drinks from someone els. All the time we hear “welcome to Iran”. Many ask us questions like where we are coming from, about Switzerland and what we think about Iran. Many are very interested, but regret as well that they cannot travel as we do.
Villages and towns differentiate very much in architecture from Turkey. Dominant are colours in brown and ocher and brick colour. The buildings fit well into the landscape. The mosques are mostly made with blue mosaics on the main entrance and golden towers.
The weather is nice and the temperature is hot. If possible we bike in the early morning to use the morinng freshness. Recently we started to have a siesta in the shade, to avoid the hottest hours of the day. We have seen and pictured the first herd of camels. We have adapted our dress for biking: I am wearing a scarf under the helmet, long trousers and a blouse that covers my butt. Markus is wearing as well long trousers and a shirt to protect against the sun. I have to get used to the rules here: I have to wear a scarf whenever I leave the hotel room.
We made the first experience with a guesthouse; the room was ok, bath and toilet was shared on the floor. For me this was not ideal, as I had to put on the scarf all the time I left the room. The restaurant was filthy, but the owner put a lot of effort to do everything correct for us. He even served the breakfast himself at 0700.
Fortunately we have experience with heavy traffic, that helps us to move in the chaos of Iranian traffic. The driving needs a lot of attention, not only you have to check what is coming from the back, it happens rather often that cars are backing up in our lane and we have to go round. But overall we as biker are more respected than in Turkey.
All in all we like it and look forward what we will experience.
What else happened?
After Marand we stopped to drink water, a motor bike driver saw us and stopped as well. First he aske us why we had not contacted him via “warm shower” (app for bikers), we could have slept in his house. He told us that 2 Swiss bikers had spent last night at his house, and that they were on the way to Tabrizas well, being a bit behind us. We asked for the Telefon number of the two Swiss guys and sent them a message. In the evening we met them together with 2 Irish bikers and a Dutch Motor biker in Tabriz for a nice dinner.
The first day in Tabriz we went shopping and sight seeing: Blue mosque, Armenian Museum and the Bazar were on the program. We got the first insight into the history as well as the presence of the country strolling through the Bazar.
I bought a nice evening outfit (blouse and scarf) not to look like a tourist at first glance. Markus bought new biking shorts, that was the shopping for the next time!
After that we hoped to find a good restaurant for dinner. All praise the good food in Iran, till now we enjoyed soup, kebab, rice and tomatoes and bred.