Thursday, September 18, 2014

The north of Iran (21.08.2014 - 24.08.2014)

Our first night in Iran we spent in Ardebil. The next morning we wanted to visit the Sheikh Safi mausoleum, which was closed. Instead we could witnessed the procession for the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war ending. There where cars with coffins parading, a marching band, military in formal attire and all was filmed by a camera crew (and a guy with a GoPro on a giant stick, lol). Also there were people handing out free drinks on the street, which resulted in a huge traffic jam.

Next city was Tabriz, 200km to the east. A stroll through the bazaar and mandatory visit to the carpet dealer later (without buying anything) we headed further east.

The lake of Oroomiye is shrinking more and more due to the water loss because of the surrounding agriculture. This results in a salinity of 38%, more than the dead sea! Also there are huge flat surfaces around, which we had to race on :D Some giant donuts, spinning wheels and almost overheating motor later everything in our car was covered in dust ;)

Because of the receding coastline a newly built resort now lies far away from the water. When we tried to drive down the "beach" we promptly got stuck and had to shove our little blue bird out of the sand ;)

After crossing the dam/bridge we turned south and stayed for the night in Mahabad. This close to the Turkish border we saw a Turkish truck and one week later a German expedition team. These were the only foreign cars on the street in over two weeks! Hence the stir we cause when we turn up in our car ;) On the motorway they pull up next to us and want to know where we are from. Or shake hands at 90km/h ;) Also often they overtake us just to have a look at us, hehe.

On the way to Zanjan we stopped at the fire temple Takhte Soleiman, Salamons throne. The main attraction is the giant pool/pond in the middle of the ruin which is fed by underground springs. Weird to see water emerging from nowhere in this dry and arid area. Sadly your not allowed to go swimming in it :(

More to come!