This post is part of the series Overland ’18. The aim is to drive a scooter from Iran to Switzerland.
An overview of the articles can be found here.
This post is about the second part of our ride through Iran, mostly about the places we visited and the people we met. I will also be writing an article with some basic travel tips in separate posts.
On our long way to Yazd we slept in the desert in our tent. The crazy wind forced us to tie the tent to our bikes.
Yazd itself is an amazing city. I would say it is the city where the most can still be felt of ancient Persia. It is home to the religion of the Zoroastrian, dating back to ancient Persia. There is a beautiful Fire Temple in Yazd, although I must admit the interior of a Fire Temple in Tehran is much nicer. More on that later.
Couchsurfing in Iran
We were about half way through the trip before we found out that couchsurfing is actually illegal in Iran. We got assured that the police never go after the tourists, but that hosts can get in trouble. That’s why I will unfortunately not write much about the amazing experiences we made with these daring locals during the first half of the trip in too much detail. Some tips on couchsurfing in Iran will be in the tips blog. I will mention here, that a VPN is necessary to open couchsurfing in Iran (and many other pages too). Some are illegal, others just don’t work
A nice surprise was that there is a lake in the middle of the desert in Yazd. It is, however, not natural. The locals say it is from a refinery. 4WD trips are offered to the lake for something around 10 Dollars per person (this was of course two daysbuget for us, but we had already safed this much by now).
Act of random kindness… again
We were setting up camp on our way to Esfahan, while a man found us. This had never happened before, as we try to hide. He called a friend of his and then handed me his cell phone. The man in the speaker explained in perfect English that we were near a military area and that it would be best to either set up camp far from there or that we could come to his Guest House and set up camp in his garden for free. As it was already dark we went to his guest house. This amazingly friendly man even let us sleep inside on a carpet for free, as he was a big fan of motorbike-travelers. This winter it looks like we will be paying him back with a letter of invitation to Switzerland 🙂
I usually don’t make ads for hotels, but this place is amazing and is in the heart of the beautiful old town of Toodeshk. It is called Tak Taku Guest House and is on google maps.
Everybody always says Iranians drive dangerously. Even on Wikipedia it says that Iran is the country with the highest dearth rates in traffic accidents. While it’s certainly wilder than in Western Europe it is simply not that bad. I have seen much worse, like in Nepal.
In Esfahan however, the driving is much crazier than the rest of Iran. Nobody stays in their lane for even a few seconds. Driving here without rear view mirrors is an equivalent to suicide.
We could have spent weeks in Esfahan looking at all the mosques, but as always time for travelling was limited.
Unfortunately, Esfahan is the place where we started to become the “dollar-sign” as I call it. In front of all the monuments people would come up to you and start chatting with you, until you noticed that they wanted to get you in to their carpet store. The usual game with tourists. This would get worse the farther north we went. Although I must say that they were all very friendly.
A couchsurfing experience
Without mentioning where this was (for reasons already explained), hosts of us once took us out into the desert in a 4WD with their local friends. We spent the night around a camp fire looking at the amazingly clear night sky of Iran.
We had not heard of this village in advance. After many Iranians told us that we absolutely had to see this place we decided to do so. Abyaneh is a traditional clay city in the mountains with many lush green fields around it even during summer.
Not much needs to be said about Abyaneh. It is simply wonderful and is very soothing after such a long time in the desert.
In the middle of Abyaneh there is a parking lot that can be used for camping for free (many Iranians spent the night here).
Abyaneh has an entrance fee of approximately 2 Dollars per person.
Mechanics in Iran
We had to go to mechanics a few times during our time in Iran. The first problem was that Martina’s bike needed a new chain. With a big bike this would have been a big problem. With our bikes and our couchsurfing host to translate it only cost 5 dollars in Iran. The mechanic did not want to accept any payment for the longest time, but I really insisted. Every single time we went to mechanics they were amazingly friendly. They are everywhere in Iran, but sometimes a bit tricky to find when you need them. Once we stopped at a car mechanics and asked him for directions. He went to go get his boss. His boss then jumped into his car and had Martina get in. He then drove to a motorbike mechanic with me following him on the bike that needed fixing. We then arrived at a shop that did not fix Hondas. Within a few minutes a whole swarm of men trying to help had gathered around. One of them knew where we should go. Iranians always will help you if you are in need. And sometimes they will try to help even if you don’t need any help 😊. So if you stop next to the street to drink some water expect a few cars to stop and ask if anything is broken.
This was part 2 of our ride through Iran. Don’t forget to continue reading 🙂