Tabriz, Iran
N 038 01.555 E 046 22.119 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
14 Oct 2016
10771 km

A lot of things happen every day when you travel. But some days are more adventurous than others. This is such a day. It is just to buckle up an here we go!

This night we were camping in Egoli Park. This is was the first time to not stay in a hotel in Iran. It is a little bit harder to stay in the car with all the clothes, covering the hair and having to have the blinds down all the time. But it worked better than expected. Bert has to do all the outside work so that Catharina can stay in the car and not having to put on the clothes again and again. A lot of Iranian people like to go camping too.

The park is a recreation area with an artificial lake . Bert took a walk before breakfast and he was certainly not alone. There was lot of people jogging and using the exercise tools in the park.

A man passed by and stroke up a conversation about our car and our trip, when we were making breakfast. Before we knew it we were invited to his home to have a shower and some more breakfast. The man was Mr Abbas, and he lives just a few minutes walk from where we parked our car. He lives in a very nice building , with a big garage looking like a hotel lobby. Mr Abbas is an engineer and he have been studying and working in USA for six years. It is really great to be invited to someones home and to get the opportunity to ask all the questions we have about how things work in Iran. We got to know a lot of interesting things today.

After the shower and the breakfast Mr Abbas took us to the huge Tabriz Bazaar , but since it was Friday and an important holyday most of the shops were closed. But there were still a lot of people there celebrating Hoosain the third prophet, that got his head cut off. There were lots of ceremonies in the alleys in the bazaar . All the men were dressed in black, chanting and stomping the floor. No women were allowed and the guards told Catharina to leave, but Bert was able to enter. Luckily Bert was dressed in black today. Everywhere they had tea , sandwiches, cookies etcetera for free to celebrate the occasion. We went in to a tea house and they got all excited over the guests all the way from Sweden, and they arranged with chairs, tea and showered us in bread and cookies.

After that we had to hurry to the lunch we were invited to at the relatives of Mr Abbas wife . When we arrived we discovered that this was a big family gathering with both young and old , together they were making 600 portions of food in gigantic cookers in the basement. They had been at it since last night. This is a part of the celebration of Hoosain the third prophet. The ones that can afford it make lots of food and give it away to those who need it. They made chicken and rice and put it in to boxes, 100 of the boxes was to be served at the local jail and the rest to families in the poor areas.

An interesting thing is that women do not need to cover their hair in their homes and in presence of their families. And their families are normally really big. Since we were foreigners we didnt really count not being family. Catharina was really happy to take of the shawl behind the garden walls. Because it do get very hot with the shawl , long sleeves and a dress all the way down to the floor in +27 degrees Celsius in the blasting sun

In the afternoon we decided to continue to Teheran. It is 600 kilometers and we wanted to at least get halfway today before dark. The things we have told you about are just a small fraction of all the things we have learnt and experienced today. When we woke up this morning we hadnt a clue that the day would turn out this way. Meeting people like this is the most exciting thing about traveling.

Truckstop, Iran
N 036 39.231 E 048 33.612 ->
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
15 Oct 2016
10771 km

We continued to Teheran. The Iranians drive like they do not have any rear mirrors. They slide across the lanes and in-between the lanes like crazy. All cars are dented, especially in the back, the reason for that is that as soon as they have overtaken someone they slide in too close.

The Iranians drive nice but poor. It is very exhausting to drive here since you have to expect everything all the time. The motto is trust no one! We are lucky that Bert is a very experienced driver.

To find somewhere to park the car in big cities like Teheran is always a problem. But this time we found a good and gaited place in the parking area at Khayam Hotel. We sleep in the car but pay for the cheapest room they have got and get access to toilet, shower, electricity, a bad wi-fi and breakfast. We much rather stay in the car than in a hotel.

Teheran, Iran
N 035 41.243 E 051 25.727 ->
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
16 Oct 2016
11422 km

Teheran is a very busy, noisy and polluted town, and we cross the streets with our lives at stake. We are staying in the Sothern parts of Teheran in the spare part district. That suite us fine since we are looking for a new rear light for our Toppola. There are really a lot of small spare part shops here. And you can find absolutely everything; the trick is to find the right for it.

It has happened a lot since we visited Iran ten years ago, there is more tourists, but still not that many. The women dress feelier. It feels like the chadors are on the decline. A lot of women dress in skinny jeans, thin trench coats or coats just covering their bottom and colorful scarves.

Catharina went shopping at the bazaar for something lighter than the black dress - a thin, cool and colorful blouse. Since more and more women dress more freely, it feels right to skip the black conservative look.

It has really been a challenge to go to the toilet wearing that black thing. It is really difficult to not make the scarves and the dress to end up on the floor during this procedure. It feels great to get rid of it and it will make going to the toilet a whole lot easier.

Teheran, Iran
N 035 41.243 E 051 25.727 ->
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
17 Oct 2016
11422 km

Now we move on to Esfahan. All day we have traveled through a dry and dusty desert landscape. The roads are great and we have been able to drive 100 kilometers per hour all day. The driving time to Esfahan is five hour. But this means that we spend all day in the car when adding stops for petrol, lunch and trying to find somewhere to stay arriving in Esfahan. After a whole day in the car we really felt like taking a walk in the evening.

Esfahan, Iran
N 032 39.809 E 051 40.176 ->
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
18 Oct 2016
11891 km

We visit a lot of bazaars but it is a great way to experience the everyday life. It is not always that easy to find your way around them, and Catharina asked a shop keeper for guidance. The bazaar in Esfahan is a bit more alive than others with people making handicraft in the shops.

In Esfahan there is a lot of beautiful buildings, mosques, parks and squares. When you see advertising for trips to Iran you often see pictures from Esfahan, for example Naqsh-e Jahan Imam Square.

We met a man whose relatives have been making Persian prints by hand for three generations. We got a presentation of the process and what all the prints mean.

Esfahan, Iran
N 032 39.809 E 051 40.176 ->
Today: 87.8 °F ( +31 °C)
19 Oct 2016
11891 km

Today was an unusually short day of traveling, only 100 kilometers. We arrived already before lunchtime. We are planning a small desert detour, and we are starting with a stop in Tourdesk Cho, a small village with only 700 inhabitants. The whole village is built in a traditional style with house in clay and straw.

We have found a very nice place to stay, Tak-Taku Guesthouse. It is a traditional family house built around a courtyard and you eat and sleep the traditional way on the floor. The owner Muhammad Jalali is a great host, friendly and helpful.

We took a walk in the village to buy some fruit and vegetables. This is a very quiet place with only a few small shops and a man selling fruit and vegetables from his car.

Toudeshk Cho, Iran
N 032 43.991 E 052 40.744 ->
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
20 Oct 2016
11987 km

The plan was to move on today. But this place is so nice that we decided to stay one more day, just to do nothing at all and just to chill out.

Catharina have been doing yoga and meditation. It has been a while now because it is difficult to find places to do this when traveling.

Bert have been taking some photos of this place so that Muhammad can put them on his website, for example pictures of the rooms, parking, toilets , showers etcetera that can be of interest to other travelers before making a booking here.

When Bert took a walk in the village he got invited to a family just like that. They showed him around the house and gave him two grenade apples.

In the afternoon a Russian couple on motor bike showed up for a cup of tea. They are also heading to India via Pakistan.

We have been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner here at the Guesthouse. The food is great! It is a lot of flat bread and tasty stews and soups.

Friday 21/10, Toudeshk Cho, Iran
N 032 43.991 E 052 40.744 ->
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
21 Oct 2016
11987 km

Now we are traveling 320 kilometers strait in to the desert of Dash-e kavir to the village Farahzad that Mohammad recommended. The sky is blue but close to the ground there is a kind of mist of dry desert dust.

On the road side the warning signs for camels are showing up. When we stopped to take a photo a truck driver turned over just to say hello and give us some walnuts. It is like this all the time and everywhere in Iran. Iranians are really very friendly.

Bert gets all excited over the old Mercedes-trucks, that according to the rumors are not that old as they look like. Bert also drives trucks now and then, and here are a lot of cool trucks and Bert takes the opportunity to talk to his colleagues.

The deeper we get in to the desert the fewer cars and trucks we see. It feels like we are completely alone sometimes. The desert is so cool it is so different. It is dry, dusty, vast and empty.

Arriving in Farahzad we got guided to a place at the sand dunes where we could stay for the night. Before we even got there we were stuck in the sand. But help arrived before we knew it. At the sand dunes we took a shower to get rid of the desert dust. Us, the car and the inside of the car was covered in dust. Then we waited for it to get really dark to do some stargazing before hitting the bunk.

The desert in Farahzad, Iran
N 034 06.164 E 054 46.783 ->
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
22 Oct 2016
12294 km

When we woke up this morning the desert was absolutely quiet and calm. It was lovely! Bert was out looking for snakes and scorpions but found only a gecko. We rolled out our mat and had breakfast in the sun. It was still very quiet and calm. Almost like beeing in vacum.

After that we took a camel ride across the sand dunes. The camels seemed a bit angry at each other and the cameleers had to rearrange the caravan to make some order in it. It was a lovely ride and it was just the two of us.

Then we decided to climb the dunes. The sand was not too hot and we could climb the dunes barefoot. It was nice to feel the warm sand under our feet. After that we had lunch at a guesthouse and met some other travelers before we headed back to the desert again to see the sunset and spend the night.

The desert in Farahzad, Iran
N 034 06.164 E 054 46.783 ->
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
23 Oct 2016
12294 km

Finally we got to see camels on the road! A lot of camels too, we counted to over 60 camels. They were beautiful but a little shy. When the heavy camels were crossing the tarmac with their soft paws, it sounded like they were walking in soft slippers.

Garmeh, that we arrived in today is an oasis and it looks exactly like an oasis should look like - a lush green area in the middle of the dry and dusty desert. Garmeh is a small village, only 250 people live here.

When we arrived in Garmeh the guesthouse owner showed us a great spot to camp right by the water spring of the oasis. In the water supply system there was a lot of small fish and if you put your feet in it you got a free fish SPA treatment. In the water cave there was some Iranian people smoking water pipes. The guesthouse owner said the spring water was drinkable. But when we tasted it, it was very salty and undrinkable.

We had lunch, dinner and took a shower at the Ateshooni Guesthouse. The French couple we met in Farahzad yesterday, stayed here too.

Garmeh, Iran
N 033 31.899 E 055 02.272 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
24 Oct 2016
12398 km

Now we leave the desert to go to back to cities again. This detour in the desert has been a highlight of our trip. We have got a lot of great experiences. We have been camping all by ourselves in the complete desert silence in the sand dunes, riding camels, seen a lot of camels on the road, been eating camel several times and visited a real oasis for the first time. We have been in the middle of nowhere and got to experience all this cool things nice places. The desert is relaxing, it calms your mind and you feel free in the vast landscape.

When we arrived in Yazd in the afternoon the traffic was heavy, the cars made a lot of noise and the air was thick with pollution from the cars. Oh, we want to go back to the nice and calm desert!

Yazd, Iran
N 031 54.058 E 054 22.205 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
25 Oct 2016
12708 km

Today it was like a flashback but for real. We are staying at the Silk Road Hotel, the same hotel as ten years ago. We park our car outside the door, have access to toilet, shower and Wi-Fi for only 5 Euro. And that includes also a big breakfast buffet!

Old town in Yazd is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is built like a maze of tiny alleys with mud brick houses everywhere. When you look out over the rooftops you see the badgirs the old style air conditioners. The warm air is sucked in from the top by a ventilation shaft and cooled down by water; the hot air is exited by another ventilation shaft.

Under the city there are a lot of channels called Quanats, this is an old water supply system that is made from self pressure. The whole system is reliant of gravity. The spring has to be higher than the final destination for the water. And all around town there are steep 20 meter stairs down to the water source. This technique is still used in some cities in Iran, but probably a bit modernized.

In the evening we were invited to Amir and his family. We thought they were living in the neighborhood, but it turned out to be 40 kilometers away in Mehriz. Amir picked us up at the Silk Road Hotel, but after a while he realized that we didnt want to leave our car in Yazd over night and we turned back to bring the Saab to his house. When we arrived in his house we had a late dinner.

Mehriz, Iran
N 031 35.467 E 054 26.727 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
26 Oct 2016
12751 km

This morning we had breakfast with the family . Amirs dad also came over. He is living next door. Our conversation covered a lot of topics like; religion, military service, taxes, insurances and marriage.

We showed pictures of our wedding and they showed pictures from theirs. But only Catharina got to see the pictures of the bride in her dress. She wore a traditional white brides dress with bare arms and bare shoulders and had not covered her hair. This means that Bert could not see these pictures. Only other women and men that are relatives cans see her in the bridal dress.

After breakfast we said goodbye and traveled on towards Kerman. We stopped by Zein-o-Din, a classic Silk Road stop, two days camel ride from Yazd. This place has been renovated almost to what it looked like in the good old days, simple beds for a good nights rest, a small restaurant and outside there is place to tie up about 50 camels.

Today we got stopped by the police for the first time, they wanted to see the drivers license. Bert got a bit nervous since the policeman already had his fine pad ready, and was just waiting for the opportunity to give someone a ticket. But luckily we didnt get one. A few minutes later we passed a bunch of camels just hanging around by the road side of the highway. Clearly the warning signs for camels are needed here.

Kerman, Iran
N 030 17.118 E 057 02.825 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
27 Oct 2016
13079 km

We are in Kerman, nothing much to see or do here. We spent the day doing laundry, and cleaning and the car both on the inside and on the outside. Everything is covered in desert dust.

Here in eastern Iran we are getting close to the more unsecure areas. We are not staying out after dark and we try to find more secure places to stay. Right now we are locked in at the backyard of Akhavan Hotel. We pay 3 Euro per night and 3 Euro per shower. This is a great place to stay if you are an overlander.

We have been in Iran for a fortnight, but we are still amazed how friendly and helpful the Iranians are. Bert walked in to a tractor store to buy hats for the air input for the tires. And the guy in the store says; I will check, come back in 15 minutes. Then he closed the store and ran off. When he came back he apologized for that he only could find used ones and then he didnt even want to get paid for them.

Kerman, Iran
N 030 17.118 E 057 02.825 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
28 Oct 2016
13079 km

Now we have arrived in Bam. Ten years ago we were here too. That was two years after the big earthquake with 26 000 casualties, and the town was still like a big pile of stones and people were living in the streets, in sheds and in sea containers that the relief organizations had left behind.

Now, ten years after Bam looks completely different. There is a lot of new, nice and earthquake safe houses. The pride of the town the citadel Arg Bam are also under reconstruction.

Bam, Iran
N 029 05.423 E 058 21.758 ->
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
29 Oct 2016
13271 km

We covered 320 long and boring kilometers from Bam to Zahedan today. It was kilometer after kilometer of stone desert and not much traffic at all. The only thing we saw was dead camels at the road side, in total eight of them. Probably road kill.

We wanted to avoid stopping along the road since we know we are in not so safe areas. Along this road Bam to Zahedan overlanders usually get escorted by the police. When we stopped to fill up the car the guy at petrol station asked if we didnt have an escort. When we said no, he looked surprised and said; Dangerous!

After filling up the car we had to eat something and we parked next to the petrol station. Just a few minutes later a white pick-up truck arrived with a bunch of men. Especially two of them seemed very unpleasant. They kept staring at us as the cat do when he focus on a pray. Both of us felt that this was not a good situation. Quickly we got our things together and jumped in the car to get out on the highway again. But then the pick-up truck did the same, but ahead of us. That made us even more uneasy. We discussed how to handle this situation, and decided to get behind a big truck. And when the truck overtook the pick-up truck, we hid behind it hoping that the pick-up truck would not follow.

We felt relieved when we finally arrived in Zahedan and decided to go for a more expensive hotel then we first planned. The security is probably strikter in a more expensive hotel. When we had checked in, they told us that we are getting a police escort from here to the border tomorrow and that we are not to leave the hotel premises without a security guard.

Zahedan, Iran
N 029 29.316 E 060 51.923 ->
Today: 89.6 °F ( +32 °C)
30 Oct 2016
13589 km

Already at 7.30 AM the local police was in the lobby waiting to escort us to the border. There were two of them at a small motorbike, one driver and one gunman. We had to fill up the car on the way to the border. The line to pumps was very long, but they showed us the back entrance, waved the others away and filled up our car . At the same time a police car turned up wanted to see our passports.

On the road again and to the next district to get a new squad at a motorbike and a new police car behind us . But in the outskirts of town we stopped at the police station. There we had to wait for the national security squad to pick us up. We waited for two hours, but they didnt show up. Suddenly we could go on, but accompanied by a policeman in our car.

Halfway to the border he left us with the national security squad. Now we got an escort in a pick-up truck with two men in the front seat and two gunmen at the back, with their fingers on the triggers gazing out over the desert. The last kilometers to the border we got yet another national security squad in a pick-up, and at the border they also helped us to check out of Iran. That process took about an hour.

As soon as we entered Pakistan the man at the border greeted us Welcome to Pakistan. It feels great to arrive in a new country being greeted this way! In a few minutes a Levies policeman (the rural police force) took us under his wings and showed us were to go and what to do to check in to Pakistan. It is a lot of officials that need to check passports, do paperwork and take a look at the Carnet de Passage. As tourists we get the royal treatment. They put us first in line and we get to come inside to sit on a chair while they do what they need to, instead of hanging around outside waiting like the rest.

When all was done we got told that we cannot continue to Quetta today, since it will get dark in a few hours. But we will get an escort to Quetta tomorrow. Due to security reasons we had to spend the night at the police station, behind two thick walls. Needles to say we were not allowed to go outside of the police station, but it was okay to sleep in the car. The police station look like something out of an old western movie, the jail cells too.

In the afternoon 200 Pakistani refugees that had been deported back to Pakistan arrived at the police station. They stayed until 10 PM before they were moved to another police station. They were to be in court the next day, to get a fine.

After that the gunner showed up. He is one of them who is going to escort us tomorrow morning. He brought us to the customs to get our Carnet de Passage stamped. This means we that can go straight to Quetta, it is 600 kilometers and we dont want to lose any time. At the customs we got invited for tea with the manager, while we were waiting for our Carnet de Passage to be stamped. He told us that it usually passes one overlander by car or MC every third week.