Up north

Caro is back on the bike and we work our way back up to the city of Yazd via the smaller roads. There is a cozy, busy athmosphere and we stay at a traditional Iranian hotel once again. As we ride into the city center, my attention is drawn to Caro’s left pannier dangling in a pretty unorthodox way. The pannier frame appears to have cracked. I manage to explain the problem to a bunch of guys using hand gestures and in no time I am taken to a local welder. 20 minutes and €3 later, the frame is welded together and fully functional again! Shaking hands, smiling, hopping on Caro’s bike. Sociability everywhere. Later on we go see some sort of sports event where locals in funny clothes are juggling with giant heavy ninepins and make some weird dance moves. We enjoy the delicious local camel stew and go to bed early. It’s been a very long day…

Trip report: Iran 2013. Route of the Assassins - Motomorgana, nomads riding around the world on a motorbike adventure.
Route of the Assassins
We underestimated the distance somewhat en the fierce side winds are slowing us down somewhat. The bikes lean in a 60° angle and for the very first time on this trip the wind feels chilly. The roads are filled with heavy, soot spawning trucks again and it’s getting pretty late already as we arrive in the northern town of Qazvin. The mandatory picture of the child on the bike takes a little longer than expected and we are disappointed to find out all restaurants in town are closed. All we can get is a lousy tepid meal in an empty hotel restaurant. We wipe away the suspicious curly hairs from our, again dirty, sheets and enjoy a well deserved, albeit somewhat restless night.

We are ready for the “Route of the Assassins”, a 100 km long series of tricky twisties. The bikes are cutting through this magnificent landscape and it must be said, the road is well worth the ride. The reward at the end of the road instantly makes us forget the dirty hairs from the night before: the superb view from the castle of Alamut …

Rain and caviar

From Qazvin, we are heading for Rasht, a major city near the Caspian coast. “How did that look again? A sea?” That last dive in the ocean seems ages ago. So Rasht it will be. I remember having read somewhere that Rasht is the place to be for Iranians during the holidays. We have high expectations. This must be like the Iranian version of Malibu beach. I have visions of a sea full of caviar with the local bourgeoisie scooping out potfulls of the expensive stuff. I am wearing fresh boxers today, for sure!

But as we see thunderclouds rolling over the mountain ridge, we know something isn’t quite right. The first drops splash on our goggle visor and cars coming from the opposite direction all have there lights on, something they never do, not even at night… It doesn’t take long before it is pouring down with rain and as we finally enter the hotel like two soaking wet floorcloths, the hotelmanager greets us with a friendly smile: “Ah mister. In Rasht aaaaaalways rain!”. It appears that Iranis from all over the country come to this city to spend their ‘rain holidays’. Groups of Iranian tourists drive through the city center, windows down, hands outside and screaming like hyperkinetic children. “And caviar, sir, that HAS to be cheap around here right?” “Caviar is illegal here, sir. Not for consumption by Iranians. Only for export.” We’re fucked big time… A lousy kebab just outside the hotel in the pouring rain is the best we can get. That’s called faith. The highs and lows of adventure travelling…

The next 200 kms, we have to take it easy because of the continuous, heavy rain which doesn’t combine well with our tyre pattern. In addition, Caro loses her shift lever and we look like two moorhens as we are looking for it in the deep puddles at the roadside. Wrenching in this shitty weather… We’ve had better days. But as little by little we ride away from the seaside, the rain clouds make place for that typical clearblue sky and it doesn’t take long before our gore-tex jackets feels like a steambag.

Güle Güle

Trip report: Iran 2013. Armenia - Motomorgana, nomads riding around the world on a motorbike adventure.
The rain has slowed us down quite a bit and we have to make an unforeseen in Ahar. Some kind of unfriendly, greedy maffia crook runs a hotel monopoly here in town and has a way overpriced, dirty room available. This makes us realise it does exist after all: the unsympathetic Iranian. But the congeniality and warmth we experienced in the restaurant, instantly make us forget this nasty experience. It feels great spending this last evening on Iranian soil.

The final awesome twisty ride takes us through the mountains to the Armenian border, where we leave this scorned but fantastic country behind. So long, Iran! Güle güle!

Time for a beer…