Day 1 Tabriz
Woke up peacefully in the east of the city and then explored the city a bit. Afterward, contacted another cyclist from Germany who was also in Tabriz. It was time to meet another cyclist again. Unfortunately, he took longer than expected, and leaving Tabriz became a bit challenging as it gets dark early. Eventually, camped next to a small police park in the city where we were warmly welcomed.
Doubting the route we would take, considering the upcoming protests in Iran, especially if we took the long route to Tehran. Decided to take longer routes to see more greenery, as both of us had been cycling in Turkey for a while, and green landscapes and beaches had been the view for some time. He had left 4 days before me, and we had taken almost the same route. However, I had somehow cycled 2000 km more. We cycled together that day, but whenever we stopped, we sent each other messages. Camped in a valley after a side street, covering a good distance of about 120 km.
Since he took a bit longer to get started, needed a long breakfast, etc., I left a bit earlier. Unfortunately, we made a mistake and dragged the bikes over a thorny field, resulting in a flat tire. Not a great start to the day. Well, fixed it and continued. Met a man who saw me struggling beside the road and gave me a large bunch of grapes. In a smaller village, I looked for a bike shop as I was riding on my last inner tubes. Naturally, attracted attention, and I was even invited to eat at a restaurant. Continued the journey around noon, faced a climb where I was overtaken by runners. Later, encountered heavy traffic and, unfortunately, had more flat tires a bit further. Sighed deeply and continued to Zanjan. I arrived in Zanjan around the evening, had some food with people who guided me to a camping spot.
Had some more food in Zanjan, toured around, and then invited to have a real Iranian lunch called dizi. Had a lot of conversations again and met a Warmshowers host who offered to host me for a night. Taking it easy in Iran was working out reasonably well with all the kindness and hospitality. Still, I had to move on since I was living on 85 euros for almost two weeks in Iran. But it wasn’t that difficult. However, if you run into problems, you can’t buy anything, and that’s a problem. Slept at the host’s farmhouse outside the city and had some Arasagi together since it was a festival at home.
Received a message the day before that other cyclists were in Zanjan, and we would travel together with the German cyclist towards Tehran. However, the German cyclist was a bit ahead. In the morning in Zanjan, I met the French and Russian cyclists. They cycled fast, visited an old mosque along the way, and camped together near Takestan after about 140 km. A day of flat terrain and a tailwind.
The guys were taking a bit too long to get ready, so I left a bit earlier. Since they were a bit faster, I could catch up if they passed by. After a few hours of cycling, I reached Qazvin. I rode around a bit and apparently missed the guys somewhere, meeting them in the afternoon. Cycled together for a while, and like yesterday, we ended up together, searching for a camping spot. In a busy park in Abyek, we could camp and make pasta together. However, an older man offered us a place to stay in his house, which was a good idea since we had seen some men fighting in the park. It wasn’t entirely safe. The Frenchman and I were interested, but the Russian wasn’t, so we went without him. The family took good care of us, providing a shower and a hearty meal.
In the morning, after sleeping outside with the family on a mattress, we set off together towards Tehran. There wasn’t much to see in the last few days of the route to Tehran, so we cycled through the day. Before noon, we arrived in Karaj, and Tehran was very close. We planned to stay in a hostel together with the Russian and another German cyclist who was already there. Around 3-4 pm, we were all together in the hostel, and the group of cyclists was complete again.