We are sitting in the bus to Tehran and are stuck since one hour (17.7.17). Engine problems! As the AC does not work it’s quickly getting very hot. We have expected to be in Tehran within 4 hrs to start our 10 bike free days. It could last till we arrive there. We compliment our bikes, no breakdown for 7000km or more than 400 hrs.
From Bandar e Anzali we have flat stages for the next 600km as we follow the coast.
We do not see a lot of the coast and the beach; the road is a bit inland. At the beginning rice fields are changing with tea plantations. On the right hand we have the green mountains. But then the picture changes quickly, from one kilometer to the other one building follows the other, over 150km distance there is one outletstore after the other with all brands you can imagine: Addidas, Nike, Reeboke, Converse, Lacoste, Zara, Armani, Massimilano Dutti just to mention some. A dream for all those who like to go for a shopping tour. We got told that many citizens from Tehran have their vacation house at the sea. But still we have asked ourselves about the profitability of these stores. The villages and towns seem to be merged together. We only could figure out when a new village started through the fact, that at the beginning you always have car repair shops followed by furniture houses, house hold supply stores, then mobile fruitstores, fast food and finally in the center you find small shops with food and beverages. Big shopping centers do not exist. For fruits and vegtables you go to specialiced shops or buy them on the market. The traffic is incredible, we enjoy every minute which is not that noisy. 2 times we stay overnight in an aparthotel at the beach with seaview. The beach is covered with tents and local tourists, for us in the meantime a well known picture but every time again a fascinating view. The weather looks grey in grey, sometimes it even rains. We are not sure what we like better: rain and lower temps or sun an hot temps, it is humid anyway.
Only after we leave the coast and followe smaller roads in direction Sari the landscape becomes green and nice again and the traffic decreases, what a relief.
By the way: we have reached 7000km, and just imagine, we celebrate this event with a sip of lukewarm water!
In Sari we take it easy, spend time in the park, clean and maintain our bikes, read and organize our trip to to Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan. One day we went to Badab e Surt by taxi to have a look at the Salt terraces and the hot springs. We drove along rice fields, passed lovely valleis and passed some mountains. There were hardly any tourists on the spot so we could enjoy the scenary. Some of the locals went even for a swim in the hot springs and covered themselves with the healthy mud. We did not go into the water, especially as Marie-Claire would have had to wear all clothes including hijab.
In the evening before we travel to Tehran we pack our bags once more. We leave 3 bags and the bike in Sari and take only one bag with us to Teherans. Travelling light works well, just try it out yourself!
We are enjoying Tehran already the 3rd day. The first two days we spent with sightseeing. Today is a public holyday, mueums, bazar, shops everything is closed. We use the time to get our documents for the visa prolongation and the flight to Shiraz ready. After two hrs I got nearly all copies. Problems with printing the boarding pass, to send the mail to the correct place to get the correct amount of copies of all visas and flight documents. Usually this is an easy task but handing the task over to the receptionist makes it a bit more complicated - there is always something missing….Marie-Claire was using the time to sew press buttons to the bottom of the trousers, so the legs do not get anylonger greasy from the chain. Now we are sitting in the close parc and enjoy the sweet doning nothing.