Journey Reports

Iran   November 10th 2016, Tehran, Iran
In Iran it is illegal, but...

Mosein and family

Jakob & Ernest:

Just imagine a normal day in Barcelona: you plan to go to the beach to meet your friends. The SHORTS and the TANKTOP quickly slipped over - and out you go to the bus stop. Fortunately, the bus comes quickly and you sit down without having to worry about where you can sit down. Once you arrive at the MIXED BEACH, you go to the sea. After short refreshment, you come out of the water and see your friends, who come with a six pack of BEER in their hand towards you. All of us think about what one wants to do on the weekend. One of them wants to go to the CASINO together with his GIRL FRIEND, while another one proposes a DISCO-evening, in which one can go properly DANCING. You even look at FACEBOOK for an interesting event. One of your friends gets a music box out, and a variety of songs are played over YOUTUBE and other MUSIC CHANNELS.

The things which we marked with capital letters are officially forbidden in Iran. This does not mean that the Iranians adhere to these rules. Iran can be divided into two worlds. The one world is the one we know from the media and the news, it is the world of the mullahs who lead an authoritarian regime and who keep people in check with a massive monitoring and security apparatus. The other world is that of ordinary people. They are like you and me. They go to work, have families and live their lives inside their own four walls, where they feel quite safe. They are incredibly warm, open and social.

During our almost two-month stay in Iran, we were able to get to know both worlds.

With the fear in the neck that we have to jail due to short shorts (which is, of course, complete humbug) we are the first kilometers in Iran with long pants drove. When we met the first Iranian cyclist wearing short trousers, the crispy cyclists were unpacked again, and our thighs were flashing bitingly in the Iranian desert.

Our heading is "It's illegal, but ...". We have heard this saying countless times by Iranians. Nearly all of them have a satellite dish on the roof, which makes it possible to receive stations from all over the world (which is, of course, forbidden). After entering an Iranian home or a house, women's headscarves disappear; long trousers are exchanged for short or jogging pants, and one sits together in the tailoring seat on the carpet in the living room. After 5-6 cups of tea (here called Cay) and a few delicious, dried fruits one comes mostly to politics at home and abroad, to talk about our trip and, of course, to different cultures.

The overwhelming share of the Iranian population detests the regime and its leaders. When they think themselves safe, they do not take a single sheet and leave their frustration to the religious-political leaders of their country.

Now we come to a special topic: the alcohol. Of course, we were prepared mentally and physically for the hard thirst in Iran. No cool, refreshing beer and no tasty, fruity wine. It should be quite different...

In our time in Iran we were able to enjoy self-brewed beer, great wine and raisin schnapps (here called Arak), which restored our inner peace of soul.

The beer is made as follows: imagine a traditional bathroom, where you cannot see the tiles on the ground, since everything is completely covered by empty, non-alcoholic beer bottles. In a corner of the bathroom is a 50-liter barrel filled with a light-brownish liquid. In this barrel fermented for 2 weeks non-alcoholic beer together with a shot of yeast, salt and sugar. Our host proudly presents us his aquarium pump, which is to transport the half-finished beer from the barrel into the numerous bottles. After half an hour, all bottles are full and closed. After another 10 to 14 days, the beers are edible.

Another time we were visiting a rich businessman in his office. He asked us if we wanted to drink tea or Russian vodka...

In every major city in Iran there is an inexhaustible black market selling all the beer, wine and schnapps in the world.


From many other travelers we have heard of the incredible hospitality of the Iranians, which we can now confirm 100% after two months. Countless times we were guests with Iranians. A few weeks ago, we were visiting an Imam in a small village near the Caspian Sea. It was Friday and we accompanied him to the local mosque. In the mosque we were given delicious food and tea, while around us was young and old at the chat and praying. At that time the Shiite Muslims (Iran is almost exclusively Shia) celebrated the Ashura festival, which reminds of the martyrdom of Imam Hossein 1400 years ago. It is common to give food to the neighbors, friends and above all to poor people.

During our trip we were repeatedly stopped, and people invited us to their houses or shops to eat, drink or even to sleep. Many drivers stopped and gave us water, warm tea, fresh fruit and warm bread. After a short acquaintance with strangers, everyone was ready to help or give information. It's just amazing to see that still exists what we are struggling for: humanity.


Taarof is one of the most complicated practices in Iranian culture. The term is best understood by means of a brief example:

We were looking for accommodation somewhere north of Iran. For a few days we had been traveling with two Iranians, who became really good friends during our stay. We stopped our bikes on a busy shopping street. Suddenly a sporty car stood next to us, from which two well-dressed men came out and spoke to us.

As always we talked about our project and our search for accommodation. Then phone numbers were exchanged and the guys drove off. A few minutes later Reza (one of the cyclists) received a call from one of the young men in the car who invited us to a mansion.

We imagined being already in a hot bath with a view of the Caspian Sea, when we were brutally torn from Reza by our daydreams. He said that we could not accept the offer because it was Taarof.

At the Taarof it is about an offer to make or reject, although one would actually like the opposite. For us, it was often difficult to assess the situations correctly. Is the opposite now serious with the offer or not? The probability is 50% that an Iranian really says what he means at the Taarof. The Iranians generally have high respect for foreigners.

To conclude our report, we would like to express our gratitude to a few special people. Without Hamed, Marcia, Reza, Hussein, Mohammad and Javad with their families, we would have failed here in Iran, quite simply and honestly. We have wrongly calculated with the money, since the banking system in Iran is not yet connected to the American and European systems. When we experienced our many setbacks in Iran, angels emerged out of nowhere in human form and helped us over the difficult moments. They became really good friends and confidants because of this unconditional humanity. These people are wonderful, open and welcoming. We advise everyone to get to know this country and its people and not be deterred by a totalitarian regime that abuses the Islamic religion in order to justify its non-compliant behavior in any way. Islam is a peaceful religion that has a far too bad reputation in Western society due to fanatical terrorists who want to justify their actions with their religion. We felt most secure in the only two Islamic countries on our trip (Turkey and Iran). Here, hospitality and humanity were most strongly represented.

After a long wait for the Indian visa in Tehran, we are now looking forward to the new country, its culture and the experiences.

{Translation from German: Webmaster}

Tehran^ Tehran ^
Mosein and family^ Mosein and family ^
 i20161110-03Highest pass 2.700m^ Highest pass 2.700m ^
Highest camping 2.500m^ Highest camping 2.500m ^
Damavand (5.660m)^ Damavand (5.660m) ^
Iinvited by an imam^ Iinvited by an imam ^
 i20161110-08 i20161110-09 i20161110-10 i20161110-11​Drying swety clothes^ ​Drying swety clothes ^
Fog^ Fog ^
 i20161110-14Hosted by the Red Crescent (Red Halfmoon)^ Hosted by the Red Crescent (Red Halfmoon) ^
* In the name of the creator beauty *<br>Hello and devotion lot to friends Ernest and Jakob.<br>Because tonight you're on side, we very happy.<br>We work in deprived area, our facility very low.<br>Because we cannot give you more facility, we are very depressed.<br>I hope is good night for us all.<br>We love you very much.^ * In the name of the creator beauty *
Hello and devotion lot to friends Ernest and Jakob.
Because tonight you're on side, we very happy.
We work in deprived area, our facility very low.
Because we cannot give you more facility, we are very depressed.
I hope is good night for us all.
We love you very much. ^

 i20161110-17Driving to next city after broken spokes^ Driving to next city after broken spokes ^
Excellent bike mechanic^ Excellent bike mechanic ^
 i20161110-20Silkroad  caravanserai^ Silkroad caravanserai ^
Cycling through the desert^ Cycling through the desert ^
Special thanks to Red Crescent for helping us^ Special thanks to Red Crescent for helping us ^
Javad and family^ Javad and family ^
James Bond​^ James Bond​ ^
Jason Statham​^ Jason Statham​ ^
Iranian architecture^ Iranian architecture ^
 i20161110-28Sabzevar​^ Sabzevar​ ^
 i20161110-30Crazy tranport^ Crazy tranport ^
Cologne guys^ Cologne guys ^
Dancing^ Dancing ^
Climbing Shirpala with our friend Reza^ Climbing Shirpala with our friend Reza ^
 i20161110-35 i20161110-36 i20161110-37 i20161110-38

Comments to this report:

Burkhard writes:

November 10th 2016, 21:45

Danke für euren sehr informativen und anschaulich geschilderten Bericht darüber, wie ihr den Iran erlebt habt. Er gibt Hoffnung, dass die Iraner dieses totalitäre, menschenfeindliche Regime beseitigen werden, weil es sich offensichtlich nur mit Gewalt an der Macht hält und nicht mit der Zustimmung des Volkes. Ihr glaubt nicht, wie mich eure selbst erlebten und niedergeschriebenen Zeilen gefreut haben und wie ich sie verschlungen habe!
Für eure Weiterfahrt ins Abenteuer Indien alles Gute.
Jetzt noch die schwierige Aufgabe in der Sicherheitsabfrage lösen, und ab geht die elektronische Post an euch mit vielen lieben Grüßen von

Joan writes:

November 11st 2016, 08:41

Que be nois!! em considero afortunat de participar d'aquesta història!! es cert que sovint podem parlar per wapsap o facetime, però quan llegeixo els vostres informes meditats, puc gaudir de les vostres vivències d’una manera més serena i coneixent molts detalls que particularment a mi em fa feliç en saber que hi ha tanta gent de bona voluntat per aquests mons de Déu. Cal valorar el vostre gest també, sou joves, oberts, empàtics.... i transmeteu un “savoir-faire” que les persones detectant i fa que hi hagi química entre vosaltres, aquesta experiència uns permet gaudir de les persones i que elles gaudeixin de vosaltres, afortunadament moltes vides i relacions es construeixen a partir de gestos com els vostres.
Una forta abraçada a tots dos!!

Gvantsa writes:

November 15th 2016, 12:07

Ich liebe diedes Bericht😍👏👏👏👏

lars writes:

November 16th 2016, 05:28

jungs richtig schöner artikel, was ihr erlebt ist der hammer habt noch ganz viel spaß
und meldet euch sobald ihr in china seid:*)

Martin Heilscher writes:

November 16th 2016, 08:37

Unsere lieben Freunde, wie schön, dass es euch gut geht. Es tut so gut euere positiven Zeilen zu lesen, nach den letzten. Durch euch lernen wir die Menschen und Kulturen aus fernen Ländern. Es tut gut zu lesen, dass ihr überall Menschlichkeit erfahren habt. Dass es Menschen gibt die trotz Angst vor Repression, euch aufnehmen, beherbergen und verköstigen. Und vor allem einen offenen Austausch mit euch eingehen. Von dieser Gastfreundschaft können viele Europäer noch was lernen. Euere Fotos sind einmalig. Keep going in peace.

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