Armenia!

Definitely worth a little detour: Armenia!

From the small border crossing Bagratashen-Sadakhlo we followed the river through the impressive, contradictory Debed Canyon to Vandadzor. Right behind the border in the middle of wild flower meadows we found a perfect camping spot for the first night in Armenia (ignoring the first moskitos and the short rain shower when putting the tent up….). Perfect spot also for sending our Mother’s Day greetings 🙂coll border camping mothers day

Along the river in Debed Canyon, we drove 1 1/2 days in the valley, along steep, green hills without much traffic – great route!!IMG_6292 IMG_6539
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Along the road: welcoming people, old soviet style Trucks and loooaaaads of good ol‘ Marijuana.coll along the road

The whole canyon was full of strange out-of-place remainders of past times (not sure about the era of this broken Soviet-style American dream?!)IMG_6305

Once our small camera broke, the big one had to serve as a „point-and-shoot“ (while I was watching the traffic…).
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We were already much impressed by what we saw inside the canyon but it got even more exciting as we discovered whats up, outside of the canyon, on the plains above us. Throughout the canyon there are (shabby) cablecars, still from the Soviet times, which take you from the bottom of the canyon up to the plains. A funny way of transport which many people living there use daily to travel between villages.IMG_6420

On the plains, 800 m above the canyon a different world awaits us: like here at the World Heritage Listed monastery Sanahin!Siphana IMG_6353

Graves from the 11th century. Daunting!IMG_6324

And then we are back inside the canyon on the street in 2014 (or not?)IMG_6387

Though there was a lot of Soviet-era infrastructure along the way already, we were not prepared for the sight which was waiting around the next corner…..IMG_6413

We decided to stay the night and have a closer look at the mining village Alaverdi or should we say „Mordor“. The copper mine is still active and to lessen the pollution for villagers and the canyon the mine company has built a huge chimney into the mountain. Together with this smoking mountain and the dead terrain around it we felt like being in another world. Awful such a sight in the middle of this beautiful, lush and green canyon. Shocking and intriguing at the same time.IMG_6446

We risked it all and took the cable car up the hillcoll vallex gondel

When we wanted to take a picture, the conductor was so nice to OPEN THE DOOR for us during the ride. (NO) PROBLEM!
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This time, on top of the canyon we found a a run-down city, the MiG Museum, and another UNESCO World Heritage monastery. What a weird place this canyon…..coll Alaverdi city IMG_6490 IMG_6483 IMG_6460

Our hostel in Alaverdi village (down in the canyon right next to the river)
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The next day was a full day of uphill cycling to exit the canyon, with a mix of sun, thunderstorms and rainbows. A mix of 30 min biking, 15 min waiting in the trees for the rain to pass. Exhausting, but with magic moments.
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We then left our bikes at a guesthouse in Vanadzor and took a bus to Yerevan
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Our few civilized city clothes are out again 🙂
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And yes, we are enjoying our trip, here in one of Yerevan`s million outdoor cafés!!
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We took a one-day trip by bus with a group from the hostel we stayed in. From Yerevan to Lake Sevan, passing by at the cave church Geghard Monastery, Garni Temple and an impressive cementary full of old, typical Armenian cross-stones (Khatchkars).
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Armenian home cooked food is delicious!
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We returned to Vanadzor, met a nice German speaking guy who invited us for coffee and cognac and then took off by bike again, heading back to Georgia (via Spitak, Gyumri, and Bavra).
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Definitely a recommendable route – not much traffic and wonderful landscapes! IMG_6711 coll pass armenia-georgiaIMG_6726

Quiet camping spot, good firewood, 7-year old Ararat cognac – travel life couldn’t be better!coll good spot good wine good firewood

At a height of 2000 m, just before the border crossing to Georgia: beautiful last kilometers in a beautiful country, full of old Christian culture and wide mountainous landscapes! IMG_6751

 

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Made it!!

Although this blog might suggest that we are still hanging out drinking wine in Georgia, we have over the past months cycled on …. and by now arrived HOME!!!

The last kilometers were full of tingly feelings… the first car with our hometown’s number plate… first yellow road signs with familiar city names… and then finally, slowly rolling into our hometowns. It still feels unreal, but wonderful 🙂

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P.S. Reports for the „missing“ countries from Georgia to Germany will follow soon.

Georgia

We heard a lot about Georgia before we came here, about how beautiful it is, how great and full of variety the food, how good and plenty the wine, and how lovely the people … and indeed it is all true: an amazing country in the middle of the impressive Caucasus mountains. The only “trouble” we had was to get used to the wine instead of tea when invited along the road. All the homemade wine did surely cost us some km, but oh well, the time spent at a cheerful Georgian table was always very much worth it!!

Georgische Einladungen

For the fellow cyclists reading this, here a quick info on our route: we entered Georgia at Lagodekhi (border with Azerbaijan), then crossed the Khaketi valley up the hills to Sighnaghi, then through the famous wine region on to Telavi, then over the mountain pass down to Tbilisi. From here we cycled south to Armenia (more info see Armenia blog post). We re-entered Georgia at the small border Bavra/Madatapa Lake (extremly beautiful area), then continued via Vardzia to Akhaltsikhe. Till here we can definitely recommend the route, it was stunning! Unfortunately the not-paved, but direct and supposedly very beautiful, mountain pass to Batumi was not accessible due to heavy rain, so we took a (not so spectacular) detour via Bormjomi, Kutaisi, Kobuleti to Batumi from where we took a Ferry (UKR Ferry) to Odessa.

But now first some impressions of the beautiful Northern route along the Caucasus… (here I was celebrating shorts and T-Shirt. When entering Georgia we also did recover a piece of our personal freedom after a long time in more conservative Muslim countries)

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Up the 900m to the picturesque hilltop valley ‚Sighnaghi‘ (thanks Stephen for the hint, it was worth the steep climb!)

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Small market in old soviet building in Sighnaghi

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In Sighnaghi we stayed at the guesthouse of Manana. A cozy place with great home cooked food and a beautiful garden –  warmly recommend! (Contacts Manana: M.Axmeteli@mail.ru; Tel: +995598899799)

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And look what/who we found in Manana’s cellar: Stefan the great Georgian shepherd

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Travelling onwards through Kakheti valley

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Some Georgian style wine tasting on the market: as usual homemade and served in plastic bottles

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Georgian Snickers (Churchkhela) – amongst cyclists well know beyond the countries‘ borders for its welcome calories (nuts covered in chewy grape paste)

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Yummy fresh bread along the road

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We were looking for a short shelter from the rain… and got a full table with food, wine, and some dancing…

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…  how are we supposed to bike in this country?!?! 😉

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The nice scenery helps to ignore the hangovers 😉

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Across a mountain pass down to Tbilisi…

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We loved Georgian letters (especially when  they announced a descent 🙂 )

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And so we entered Tbilisi with 79 km/h (still our record so far 🙂 ). But this was not the only superlative, Tbilisi convinced us as one of the best capitals we visited on our trip.

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Castle in the city from where you have a great view of Tbilisi

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Nice house in the old town

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One of many (much visited!) churches. Religion still plays a very big role in the life of most Georgians.

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Visit to Georgia’s very rich and interesting National Muesum of History

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Clear message on this museum map: „Occupation continues“

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Not to forget Stalin! He was born in Georgia and every now and then pictures still stand beside the road, though he is surely not very popular here either

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From Tbilisi, since so many people had told us to go there, we did a little detour to Armenia and took the road southwards….

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Back to the laid-back country side

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[For report about Armenia see Armenian blogpost]

After about two weeks in Armenia, we re-entered Georgia at the small border crossing at Bavra/Madatapa Lake (2000m), where we found the most beautiful camping spot!!

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The journey goes on through wide landscapes, on ancient roads…

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…which suddenly disappear!?

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Note to ourselves: an onroad bike is not for offroad…. wheels were completely blocked

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…. and we had no time to loose as the next thunderstorm was coming closer!!

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And then we are suddenly at the end of the world and realize that the village we wanted to reach that day lays down in a steep canyon…

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We were looking for shelther from the thunderstorm at the farmhouse right next to the canyon and were considering whether we could this day still descent the steep twisting road down to the Canyon. But two hours later when it hadn’t stopped raining and it was about to get dark we were lucky to be offered a warm home for the night at this cozy farmhouse.

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Looking much better the next morning!! (when going down the steep canyon we saw a dead cow on the road which had crashed the day before during the thunderstorm – good for us that we stayed up in the village)

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The reason for coming here: Cave City of Vardzia

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YEAH! Our most favorite road sign: no beeeeeeping please!!

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During those rainy days….

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…we worshipped the hours with sun!

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Next destination is Batumi at the black sea. BUT due to the rain people tell us we should better not take the direct way through the mountains around Khulo, with small and partly unpaved roads and over a nice pass… tricky decision because from other cyclists we have heard how nice the road is… after a lot of weighing pros and cons (and remembering the note to ourselves about onroad bikes), checking Google Earth and You-Tube Videos about the (beautiful) pass, and double-checking weather forecasts on http://www.yr.no (more thunderstorms) we did decide to not go direct but take the big detour. And so we left Akhaltsikhe and our Tower-of-Decisions at 5 p.m heading back inland towards Borjomi 🙂

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Yey! In Borjomi we got a police escort (with flashing blue light!!) to bring us to our guesthouse (to which they didn’t know the way 😉 )

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To avoid the big high way and its scary tunnels (after Surami) we took a small road over the mountains (Rikoti Pass). Going up was a paved small road and going down was a nice, long, tricky muddy downhill parcours 😉

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Celebrating our 3000 km with a 2ltr bottle of beer which some nice (already drunk) guys along the road gave to us

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Feeling at home in the wild 🙂

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Magical day: one after the other we met first Jürgen (from Böblingen to China), Bea & Pitt (also heading to China) and Pavel & Manuel (heading to Kyrgyzstan). During our whole trip we didn’t meet any cyclists on the road – guess it was our special lucky day 🙂

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Camping on a football field is perfect for making friends 🙂

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Arriving at the Black Sea!!

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A perfect goodbye to Georgia as we have come to know it: we stopped at the beach for only a short break, Georgi invites us to sit with him on his terrace, delicious food appears on the table, then wine, then homemade Super-Schnaps… it was soon clear that we would not cycle on to Batumi but accept his wonderful invitation to also stay for dinner with his family and sleep at their hotel at the beach (www.facebook.com/hotelgeorgeureki). It was perfect. გმადლობ to Georgi and your 5-Star-Family ;-)!!

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Batumi a.k.a. Caucasian Disneyland 😮 (view from the Ferry)

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Looking forward to hop on the Greifswald Ferry: three relaxed days for crossing the Black Sea to Odessa, Ukraine.

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Yes, Georgia we do. We do want to come back!

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Iran

Once upon a time, in the year 1393, we travelled through Iran with our bicycles… and it was so impressive that it took us 9 weeks to sort out pictures and stories for this blog! By now we have crossed the Black Sea with a ferry to Odessa and have cycled through Ukraine and Moldova to Romania. But even after such a long time, thinking about Iran we could still lose ourselves in endless descriptions about the great hospitality of Iranian people, beautifully contrasting deserts and jungles, a booming fast food industry, the unfortunate waste and concrete filled Caspian coast, crazy Islamic politics and fascinating ancient Persian culture and so much more… but knowingly pictures say more than a 1001 words. So, see for yourself below – or maybe in a next holiday to Iran!? We can definitely recommend it to everyone!!

…even though for us it all started off very hilly and cold on our way from Sarakhs (border with Turkmenistan) to Mashad…

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We entered Iran during No Rouz, the Iranian New Year (Persian Calender). It’s the most important holiday with two weeks off for everyone and at the border checkpoint we were thus greeted with the very best wishes for a Happy New Year 1393 ! 🙂

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During this holiday the whole country is on the move. Families get together to visit relatives and friends and almost every second car stopped to welcome us, take pictures, invite us to their home, chat and give us heaps of chocolate, oranges, nuts, water, cookies….. it was wonderful!!

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Sometimes also the pets joined the family on their holiday trip

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First camping night in Iran, close to Shurlukh. Niiiiice!!

Camp bei Shurlukh

 

In the late afternoon the smell of fresh warm bread filled the air in small villages. Very often we couldn’t resist and stopped to get some. And IMAGINE, during one month in Iran we have only once paid for bread, all the other times the bakers refused to take money for it (and of course we were following the tricky Ta’arof tradition and tried more than three times to give it to them – without success). More likely than paying for the food we would end up having lunch at the baker’s home with his family.

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Some efforts to push up the bike usually got us to some nice camping spots!

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Other times we were not as successful and ended up in the parking lot of the Emergency Service. Not very scenic, but it got us hot tea and a toilet.
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The worst day of cycling so far was when we entered Mashad: the day started with light rain in the morning, then heavy rain for two hours, so all clothes were already wet when the temperature dropped and it started to hail. From then on it was a combination of snow, rain, hail and wind…. ohhhh it was so awfully cold and wet 😦
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…BUT then we finally made it to Mashad and luckily our couch surfing host Saeid saved us from the 20 cm water on the streets and picked us up with his car somewhere in the city. So, thanks once more Saeid, Zara and little Homa for receiving us with so much warmth and kindness in your home!!
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A typical No Rouz table at home with the ‚Seven S‘ on it. –>Note the round pot of grass, it will come up again in our foto-story later on 🙂
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Mashad city impressions:
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Saeid even got us into the for non-muslims hardly accessible areas of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza, one of the most important pilgrim places in Iran. It was fascinating and a bit crazy during No Rouz when it feels like the whole country squeezes in for prayers.

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Trip to a nice mosque outside of Mashad

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After 5 days in Mashad we cycled on towards the Caspian Sea, down through Golestan Jungle and then along the coast to Fereydun Kenar.
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Enjoying the people and typical food along the way…

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Besides the many many positive experiences there was of course also the quite unpleasant propaganda of the religious conservative government, for example this poster campaign for Hijab (covering up for women).

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Below is another distressing poster on the street in one of the bigger cities (probably hard to see on this picture are the two rings on the hands: one shows the American and one the Israelian flag)

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„A woman without Hijab is like a chair with three legs“ – this was another sentence written on a poster in a hotel. Although trying hard to keep a neutral distance, reading such words felt quite offensive. Luckily this campaign also felt out of place in the modern Iranian reality and from our impression most people also disapproved of it. Generally it was remarkable how many people on the street openly said that they do not like the government and especially the strong power of the religious leaders over the president.

So, we liked to think of this poster campaign as yet another desperate and maybe in the end even contraproductive move of the conservative religious leaders.

 

But now back to the really important stuff: camping options ;-). These were often quite limited in Iran due to the high population density in some areas. In this case below we were thus watching out for too friendly farmers who might see us camping on their field… and invite us to their home 😉

coll camp feld bei Aq Qalen (vor Banda el Turkman)

 

First time to see the Caspian Sea! This was a little disappointing though. So we better took a nap to dream about how nice it could be without the waste, cars on the beach and concrete buildings.

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The 13th of the new year is the last day of the No Rouz holiday. On this day everyone goes out to have a picnic (staying at home is thought to bring bad luck to the family). This trip to the nature is accompanied by a funny habit. After we wondered for a while about the weird, flat, green things on the street and the grass on the roof of the cars it didn’t take long until one of the drivers gave us his grass block and happily explained to us the following ritual: the grass block, one of the 7 S on the table (the attentive reader will recognize it from the picture above 😉 ), is put on the roof of the car. It is left there to eventually fall down on the street during the day. Throwing it away like this is yet another symbolic mark for the beginning of the new year. Of course we were happy to join the fun!

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In order to see Tehran and Isfahan in the center of the country we left our bikes in Fereydun at the coast and took a bus through the mountains.

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Another omnipresent part of the government campaigns along many roads: gloryfing pictures of so-called martyrs (often victims of the Iran-Irak war) together with the supreme leaders.

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And then on the next corner, as so typical for Iran, the contrasting fancy cafe with a little bit of Berlin-feeling in Tehran!!
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We surely loved this one too!!

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Visit to Shah Mohammad Reza’s former palace in Tehran. It is now opened up to the public to see how the Pahlavi royal family lived a luxurious life until the Revolution in 1979.

tehran royal palace

And then onwards to Isfahan, definitely one of our most favorite places in Iran!

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Isfahan truly feels like ‚half the world‘ as the persian proverb says. It’s a lush green city with water fountains, tree-lined avenues, old bazars, colorful Palaces, grand mosques and not to forget the largest square of its kind on earth. On this UNESCO World Heritage site one may allow us a nice cheesy picture 😛

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Through Masood, a nice guy we had met on his motorbike on the road a couple of weeks before, we were lucky to get to know Yahya, Baharé and her sister Camelia who took the time to show us around their city for two days!

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Great bizzare tea house in an old cellar

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Great fancy tea garden of the famous Hotel Abbasi

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And then, to make it a perfect day, we were invited by their parents for a delicious dinner at home. Once more: MERSI MERSI!!

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Through some other people we had met in a hostel before we were once more lucky to meet Ali, a young and motivated photographer specialiced in eco and geo-tourism who took us to his favorit spots around Isfahan.

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A big salt lake surely is a great playground for camera-lovers

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And yet another perfect ending for a day: a beautiful sunset in the warm, silent desert

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After the little trip to the interior of the country we were then back on our bicycles, which we left in Fereydun at the home of Moeen, another nice guy whom we had met riding his bicycle (a rarity in Iran, so we immediately trusted him to take good care of ours while we were away). When returning to Fereydun we were hanging out a bit more with him and his friend Paniz and her joyful family … it surely never gets boring with the enthousiastic and hospitable Iranians 😉

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After a long good-bye procedure we are then finally back on the road???????????????????????????????

Unfortunately not our most favorite road. In fact, we would not recommend the road along the Caspian Coast towards Azerbaijan to any cyclist! If you can, take the inland road via Tabriz or Ardabil. The scenery along the Caspian Coast is quite depressing: a lot of waste along the street, ugly fancy new buildings, unfinished construction sites and there is almost no access to the beach/sea because it’s all private fenced property. Along this way we could hardly even see the sea.

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This road really was nerve-strechting. BUT, along this road we then also met the most rememberable people of our trip so far. It was one day late in the evening, already dark and we had not yet found a camping place/hotel when we met Yussuf aka. Vincente del Bosque, how we would call him for obvious reasons. He’s a smart funny 50+ guy, retired poet, who did not speak any English. He invited us to stay the night at his house next to the beach, where in the end we spent 3 great days hanging out with him and his (luckily French-speaking) cousin Javad. These two guys and their family were the most sincere and warmhearted people you can imaging and we just felt at home and in the right place from the first moment! Vincente & Javad thanks for all the good spirits and laughs – we’re still thinking of you when it’s half past eight 😉

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Little trip to the nearby mountains

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Watching fishermen catching the last fish for this year’s season

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The moment for the final goodbye: seems we were all a bit confused and reluctant. But in the end we managed to leave in good cheer and with high hopes for a reunion sometime in the future….

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The landscape and roads for the last passage from Bandar Anzali towards the border with Azerbaijan were then also a lot nicer…

… with some biking ON the beach!

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…hotel on the beach and waking up to the sound of waves!

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…camping and breakfast on the beach (ok, this was only possible because we asked if we can camp inside the area of a Caviar farm)

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Enjoying some good food, drinks and Shisha in Bandar Anzali with Amir. From here it’s not far to the Azeri border…

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… and leaving Iran after one month was a strange feeling but it’s a country where we want to come back to for sure. The wonderful Iranian people and culture definitly make up for all its political downsides!

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Small Video from biking in Aserbaidschan

Video

It will be the first Video on this Blog and I hope it will work.

I made this video while we were biking in south Aserbaidschan on the old road close to Masalli.
We had already a lot of confrontations with dogs but this was the only one I filmed. I was happy that I documented at least on of that „attacks“ and Kira gets her best performance allways when there are some dogs around … 🙂

Aserbaidschan

Als wir die Grenze aus dem Iran passieren, kommt plötzlich ein Gefühl von „zu Hause“ auf. Die Menschen sprechen wieder Russisch, die Polizisten tragen große Hüte (und Frauen kein Kopftuch) und direkt hinter dem Grenztor stehen auch schon die ersten Ladas. Welcome back to Lada-Land!

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In der Grenzstadt Astara gönnen wir uns eine Pause und bleiben entgegen der Empfehlung des Reiseführers ganze 3 Tage, um ein paar Dinge zu erledigen, z.B. Friseur (No Comment 🙂

Friseur

Am ersten Abend noch lernen wir Yunus kennen. Er läd uns für den nächsten Tag zu einem Ausflug zu den heißen Quellen ein. Er ist Bürgermeister von 5 Dörfern mit ca. 4000 Menschen und gibt uns erste Einblicke in die aserbaidschanische Gesellschaft. Die Währung in Aserbaidschan ist der Manat mit einem Kurs fast 1 zu 1 zum Euro. Die Preise sind ähnlich wie in Deutschland und die Monatsgehälter liegen im Durchschnitt bei knapp 400 Manat. Wie kann man davon über die Runden kommen?

Wir verbringen einen wunderbaren Tag mit ihm und seinen Freunden in der Natur, mit gutem Essen und natürlich Vodka ohne Ende.

ein Tag Junus and Friends2Wir sind so glücklich über die grünen leuchtenden Landschaften.

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Nach 3 Tagen Astara heißt es dann aber “Vamos, der Drahtesel ruft“. Wir suchen auf der Karte die Nebenstraßen raus und außer ein paar nervigen Hunden, genießen wir die Ruhe und die schöne ländliche Gegend.

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Wir machen ein Bild mit 10 Sekunden Selbstauslöser mit einer Entfernung von ca. 50 Metern zur Kamera. Trotz Vollgas Sprint schaffe ich es nicht mehr ganz pünktlich ins Bild…

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Plötzlich wird die Straße zur Autobahn. Für uns ist das eigentlich ganz gut, da wir jetzt unsere eigene Spur haben, wenn da nicht dieser Gegenwind wäre, der immer stärker wird, je näher wir Baku kommen. Dazu kommt die nervenaufreibende Campingplatzsuche in diesen dichtbesiedelten Gegenden. Nach dem Auftanken im grünen Astara schlaucht das ganz schön.

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Meinen Geburtstag wollte ich eigentlich im Zelt bei den Schlammvulkanen in der Nähe von Qobustan verbringen. Eine Verkettung von Ereignissen führt dazu, dass wir dort nicht ankommen und statt dessen in einem 4 Sterne Hotel am Strand südlich von Baku landen. Das tut zwar im Portemonnaie weh, aber Geburtstag hat man nur einmal im Jahr 🙂 ! Wir genießen die Dusche nach 3 Tagen Camping, ein ausgiebiges Frühstück und ich kann doch noch die letzte Chance nutzen, um wenigstens einmal im eiskalten kaspischen Meer baden zu gehen (mit einer Strandidylle der anderen Art).

Geburtstag feiern

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Verglichen mit allen vorhergehenden Ländern auf unserer Reise ist die aserbaidschanische Gesellschaft nach unserem Gefühl am konservativsten bezogen auf die Rolle der Frau. Die Männer dominieren in allen Regionen das Leben auf der Straße und oftmals sehen wir über längere Zeit gar keine Frau. Der Iran war ein Zuckerschlecken dagegen 😉

Doch Kira kämpft tapfer an der Front!

Kira was war da los

Wir erreichen Baku und fahren aus Interesse durch das “James Bond Ölfeld“ (diente als Kulisse bei „The World is not enough“). Das ist für uns vor allem deshalb beeindruckend, weil es mitten in der Stadt liegt. Zufällig kommen wir mit Ölarbeitern der staatlichen Fördergesellschaft Socar in Kontakt, die uns gleich mal zu sich nach Haus einladen. Wir sind offen für alles und lernen das Zuhause und die Familie von Nurik kennen. Ihre Gastfreundschaft ist wieder einmal überwältigend!

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Biking on the James Bond oil field

Baku die Stadt des Öls, der Lichter, des Windes, der Gegensätze und für uns auch die sauberste Stadt, in der wir je waren. Mehr Schein als Sein?

Baku Stadt der Lichter

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Burning Rocks: Bei Yanar Dag tritt Gas aus dem Felsen, welches vor ca. 50 Jahren aus Versehen von der Zigarette eines Hirten entfacht wurde. Eine schräge Atmosphäre…
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Für die nächsten 300 km brauchen wir ca. 6 Stunden, wir nehmen den Bus nach Säki im Nordwesten des Landes. Endlich sind wir im Kaukasus und Säki hält was es verspricht, eine sympathische Kleinstadt mit einer malerischen Altstadt. Wer dort hinkommt sollte unbedingt in der alten Karawanserei übernachten – Ein Traum! Ein weiteres Highlight für uns sind Steven und William. Steven ist mit dem Rad auf dem Weg von Dublin nach Beijing (www.dublin2beijing.com) und William von Istanbul gen Mongolei unterwegs. Bei zwei Frühstücksorgien und einem Abendessen tauschen wir uns über die Erfahrungen unserer Radreisen aus. Das macht voll Spaß und tut gut nachdem wir in den fast 2 Monaten zuvor nur einmal auf ein anderes Radfahrerpärchen (Franzi & Jona) getroffen sind.
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Und dann entpuppt sich die Karawanserei als Radfahrer-Mekka. Woher kommen die plötzlich alle?

Bikers
 

Die letzten 2 Tage Aserbaidschan führen durch blühende, grüne Landschaften über Qax, Zaqualata in das Grenzstädtchen Balakan. Auf dem Weg finden wir einen wunderschönen Zeltplatz am Waldrand. Doch Nachts sieht die Welt ganz anders aus und die gefühlten 100 Schakale ringsum heulen mit voller Wucht, sodass auch diese Zeltnacht weniger erholsam wird.
Balakan Camping
 

In Balakan schlafen wir in einer einfachen Unterkunft direkt gegenüber einer wunderschönen Moschee. Das ist eine schöne Abschiedsnacht, denn es wird vorerst die letzte Moschee sein, da wir mit Aserbaidschan auch die muslimischen Länder hinter uns lassen.

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Und wieder eine Grenze: Sag Olun Aserbaidschan – Gamarjobat Georgien!
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P.S.: Der Beitrag zum Iran ist in Arbeit 🙂