The Christmas season is usually a time for family reunions or complete boredom while trying to figure out what to do to fill up your time on holidays.
When it’s about -20C outside the window – all that remains is to conquer virtual mountains on a bike trainer. However, there is a way out – a plane which can take you away to more a pleasant climate zone. Some quick searching of tickets and prices and right before my eyes appeared the name of the mysterious country of Iran, where the New Year is actually celebrated in the spring. The choice was made.
The initial plan was not to run away from winter but to enjoy a beautiful mountain route from Tehran to the Caspian Sea. That was where my first difficulties began, on the day of departure bad weather came to the mountains and filled up all the roads with impassable snow. There was nothing to do; we drew the new plan, to go to the place with warm weather and the Persian Gulf in the west of the country.
The first challenge was the movement in the infinite chaos of traffic in Tehran, it seemed that there were absolutely no rules. In the beginning it felt terrible, but then the stream carried you away and you understood that it was quite safe. Such actions like driving in an oncoming lane or changing four lanes in one motion seemed wild and not safe. There it was just a necessity and you have to often resort to it.
The train spit us out, we were two guys from Russia at the station of the city of Shiraz. The first thing we heard was coming out of the station building: it was a machine gun fire in the distance, and at that very moment we thought that maybe stories about Iran were true, but the rest of the time we met no one with a weapon. The station was for some reason 25 km from downtown, and there was an infinite stream of cars again. It was warm and also impossible to breathe because of traffic exhaust. We took a quick look at the ancient city and finally rested, our main adventure would begin tomorrow.
No plains, the road began to swerve to passes, sharply breaking into descents. The traffic moved in different directions. Awfully dry air with a heap of an exhaust flow disturbed our breathing. Asphalt went deep into yellow mountains, a desolate dead wasteland that seemed like a painting. Sometimes ruins of old aqueducts or fortresses of the beginning of the first millennium came along. The sun strongly heated our backs, but our faces were experiencing penetrating cold wind, and it didn’t allow us to take off all jackets. During the next pass the descent began and our legs wanted to enjoy it, but it was surely followed by the long desolate plain with blazing sun and ferocious winds.
The air cut our throats, and our water supply was about to run out. It proceeded like this day after day, until we eventually had a view of the Persian Gulf ahead. There was no icy wind, and it was finally possible to take off our jackets.
There was an uncountable number of passes and yellow mountains reaching as far as the eye could see. It was a beautiful and harsh landscape. Just before the trip we were debating on whether or not a tent was necessary, and it was decided that we leave it at home. It was the right decision; you just have to stop at any village in the evening as if you were immediately dragged right there to visit somebody’s house, and then citizens gladly put you to a bed for the night. There was always a random car at the top of each pass with a big family inside which was always waiting for you to take a picture with them.
The passing bus with schoolgirls leaves shouting in the air – “I love you!”. Many words were needed to describe all the impressions about the travel in this country, but it was way better to visit it, to focus all efforts on rising up the next pass and just understand how good it can be to feel the heat of tea spreading over the entire body, or find yourself lying on a patterned carpet after an all-day bike ride in the desert.
Alexander Bochkov – https://www.instagram.com/narmalna/
Dmitriy Vaccinium – https://www.instagram.com/my_stalin/
Enko Cycles – https://www.instagram.com/enkocycles/