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, the plane which can take you away to more pleasant climate zone. Some quick search of tickets and prices and right before eyes appears the name of the mysterious country of Iran, where the New Year is actually celebrated in the spring. The choice is made.
The initial plan is not to run away from winter but to enjoy a beautiful mountain route from Tehran to the Caspian Sea. There is where the first difficulties begin, on a day of departure bad weather comes to mountains and fills up all roads with impassable snow. There is nothing to do; we draw the new plan, to go to the place with warm weather and the Persian Gulf in the west of the country.
The first challenge is the movement in infinite chaos of traffic in Tehran, it seems that there are absolutely no rules. In the beginning it feels terrible, but then the stream carries you away and you understand that is quite safe. Such actions as driving on an oncoming lane or changing four lanes, doesn't seem something wild and not safe, it's just a necessity and you have more and more often resort to it.
The train spits us out, two guys from Russia at the station of the city of Shiraz. The first thing you hear is coming out of the station building: it’s a machine gun fire in the distance, and at that very moment you think that maybe stories about Iran are true, but the rest of the time we have met no one with a weapon. The station for some reason is in 25 km from the downtown, and there’s an infinite steam of cars again. It’s warm and it is also impossible to breathe because of a traffic exhaust. Take a quick look at the ancient city and finally have a rest, your main adventure begins tomorrow.
No plains, the road begins to swerve to passes, sharply breaking into descents. The traffic moves in different directions. Awfully dry air with a heap of an exhaust flow disturbs your breathing. Asphalt goes deep into yellow mountains, a desolate dead wasteland that seems like a painting. Sometimes ruins of old aqueducts or fortresses of the beginning of the first millennium come along. The sun strongly heats on the back, but in a face the penetrating cold wind blows, and it doesn't allow you to take off all jackets. During the next pass the descent begins and your legs want to thank to it, but the descent is surely followed by the long desolate plain with the blazing sun and ferocious winds.
The air cuts your throat, and your water supply is about to run out. It proceeds day after day but eventually there’s a view of the Persian Gulf ahead. There is no icy wind, and it’s finally possible to take off your jacket.
In the memory there’re only uncountable number of passes and yellow mountains reach as far as you can see. It’s a beautiful and harsh landscape. Generally its inhabitants do the atmosphere of Iran. Just before the trip the issue was resolved if the tent is necessary, and it was decided not to take it. It was a right decision; you just have to stop at any village in the evening as you are immediately dragged right there to visit somebody’s house and then citizens gladly put you to a bed for the night. There is always a random car at the top of each pass with a big family inside which is 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 are needed to describe all impressions about the travel over this country, but it’s a 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 all-day bike ride in the desert.