Journey Reports

Iran   September 29th 2016, Tehran, Iran


Jakob & Ernest:

After an extraordinary stay in Georgia we came to Armenia. In this new land, we found many similarities with Georgia. There are old cars from the past Soviet Union, which are still in use. Away from the roads one sees many abandoned factories that have been shut down many years ago. Armenia is economically even weaker than Georgia. In the villages, people live from agriculture and livestock, while there is little work in the cities, and salaries are very low. The roads are in poor condition. On one of the main roads on which we traveled, we constantly had to dodge the potholes; otherwise we surely would have to bring our bikes again to the mechanic.

The road to the capital was not too tiring for us. We only had to cross a mountain pass, past the Sevan lakes, which gave us spectacular views of waters and mountains.

Yerevan did not surprise us very much. In the area around there are a lot of abandoned buildings, and in the city center there are mainly large, long boulevards and avenues, which give the city no particular flair.

But there’s an anecdote we can tell, which happened to us with the taxi drivers. The first took us from our lodging to the center, a distance of 5-10 minutes, for 300 Drams (0.60 Euros). For the return trip the next taxi driver wanted to have more than doubled the price. While we discussed with him, two women appeared who asked if we needed help, and at the end they gave us more than half the fare price paid, so we put the distance back very low. The next day we told the taxi driver by showing of hands the price we wanted to pay: 300 Drams (If you want to take a taxi, you always have to ask for the price first and only then drive off). To our surprise, he showed us in response the number 100. It seemed odd that he wanted less than offered, but we have yet accepted joyfully. Arriving at the destination, we gave him 100 and he looked at us in disbelief. He did not want 100, but 1000 Drams, but we refused because it was more than three times the normal price. Finally, we gave him 300 which he, completely incensed, threw out the window ... this time it was even cheaper: 0 Drams.

We left the capital behind us and drove south. Only 400 km separated us from Iran, and we looked forward very much, to get there in a few days. Once at the border, our daily ritual began: we bought food and then rang at a door and asked for water. We planned to camp to the right of the road on wasteland with bushes, but when we saw the garden which belonged to the house, we asked the residents if we could pitch our tent there. The family urged us to come in immediately, and in conversation we learned that we were just 1 km away from the border with Azerbaijan. Between Turkey and the south of Armenia, there is a small area that belongs to Azerbaijan. The information was new to us. So we would have camped very close to the border of two countries that are in conflict. The host, a former soldier, told us that it would have been very dangerous to camp there: "They would have spotted you with their binoculars and snuck in at night. The consequences could have been tragic." That night we slept in the house, because the garden was "not sure too".

The next morning we rode quietly towards what would be one of the hitherto harshest physical and psychological challenges. In the last 5 days in Armenia we had to overcome four mountain passes. The first was endless and led us to 1,800 m. Then it went down to 1,200 m. The following day was one of the toughest of the trip (comparable to the Alpine route Tweng-Villach and the Katschbergpass in between). Towards the middle of the morning began the next pitch, this time up to 2,400 m, with cold and headwind, which exacerbated things. And after reaching the top, we had another 60 km drive ahead, as it was impossible to find a supermarket, in order to eat ... Yes, again we made the mistake to not have packed food reserve. So we closed the day with 105 km and more than 1,600 m positive height difference. Wind and rain contributed significantly to get us down psychologically.

Before leaving Armenia, the next two days were not simple: two passes of 1.800 and 2.535 m were waiting for us, and they completed one of the most demanding weeks in all aspects since April this year. We celebrated the arrival on the highest point of the last pass with a beer. We had made it and had to use the last chance, since it would be impossible in the forthcoming weeks to find a cold beer. In Iran, alcohol is prohibited. In this case, it will help us to get tighter and more resilient.

Now we already spent the first days in Iran and notice that we entered a completely different world, very different from the ones we know in Europe. We are very excited and eager to know more of this new world.

Read more about this country in our next report! Follow us!

{Translation from German: Webmaster}

 i20160929-01Lada, typical Soviet Union car^ Lada, typical Soviet Union car ^
Armenian working style^ Armenian working style ^
​Typical Soviet Union building^ ​Typical Soviet Union building ^
Our first hosts in Armenia^ Our first hosts in Armenia ^
 i20160929-06 i20160929-07 i20160929-08​Lake Sevan^ ​Lake Sevan ^
 i20160929-10 i20160929-11​Overnight 500m from Azerbaijan^ ​Overnight 500m from Azerbaijan ^
 i20160929-13​Wine region^ ​Wine region ^
 i20160929-15 i20160929-162.300m Pass^ 2.300m Pass ^
 i20160929-18 i20160929-19 i20160929-20 i20160929-21​Last pass in Armenia^ ​Last pass in Armenia ^

Comments to this report:

heidi orlovius writes:

September 30th 2016, 12:53

Lb. Jakob, lb. Ernest!
Ich verfolge euere reise mit spannung und freue mich über jeden bericht, den ihr schreibt, einschließlich den bildern ! Weiterhin viel glück und alles gute!Bin stolz auf euch!
Euere ehemalige ZPA Ruhestand!

martin heilscher writes:

October 04th 2016, 12:09

Hallo ihr 2. Krasse Bilder, euch zwichen den alten Autos zu sehen. Voller Neid werden da bestimmt euere Räder betrachtet. Der Iran, ist ein Land, wie es wohl kaum ein Anderes derzeit gibt. Voller Vorurteile und Abgrenzungen. Wie schön, dass ihr die eigenen Erfahrungen in den fremden Kulturen sammeln könnt. Ich hoffe die Menschen die euch begegnen sind weiterhin offen und freundlich den Fremden gegenüber.Wir freuen uns schon auf weitere Bilder und Berichte. Passt auf euch auf, wir begleiten euch!!!

Susanne writes:

October 09th 2016, 17:42

Ihr Lieben,
was sind das für niedrige Mauern auf dem 10ten Bild von oben gezählt? Im Hintergrund ist eine Kirche zu sehen. Für einen Friedhof kommt mir das doch etwas fremd vor.Hier an der Stelle noch einmal ein Danke für die schönen und auch oft ungewöhnlichen Fotoansichten;dank ihrer bekomme ich eine Ahnung, wie euer Leben unterwegs aussieht und auch einen Eindruck der Landschaften und Menschen.
Der liebe Gott halte weiterhin seine Hand über Euch
Herzlich Mama

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