Take The Wrong Way Home, Iran 2017

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Harti, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    36,774
    Location:
    WNY
    Thanks for sharing Martina.

    My riding partner is also female so thank you for your perspective.
    #81
  2. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Berlin
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Abdo lured us into going to Kurdistan right at the Iraqi border. We knew, that this district is always a hotspot for rallies and riots, especially one day before the referendum took place to proclaim a new Kurdish state. We saw a lot of weapons in the area, heavily armed guards and regional border patrols. Made us feel very uncomfortable... We were often asked how we like Kurdistan. Immediately you have to present the political correct answer. We also found out, that Germans are very popular in the region.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At one point we were only a few hundred yards away from the border. We stopped and took photos of the Iraqi side, when suddenly smugglers climbed over the rocks with all kinds of goods on their backs. Then a shot was fired, a clear sign that a) smuggling is illegal and b) their activities should not be photographed by tourists. Momentarily we fled the scene.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These rugged mountains take an expensive toll. A pick-up went over the cliff, a horse broke an ankle and my brake pads lost any effect.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After the repair of my brakes we got invited to a cup of tea. Right in the middle of nowhere...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One hotel manager in Saqqez made us park our bikes in the lobby. For safety reasons, he said.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I must say, as much as I had a weird gut feeling about passing this part of the world voluntarily, I really wouldn't want to miss the experience...

    Finally we arrived in Tabriz.
    #82
  3. 0theories

    0theories Enthusiastically Skeptical... Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    382
    Location:
    Merced, CA
    Wow, brilliant report! Very enlightening concerning an area that is rare to travel. Thank you for your great photos and captivating writing. Just read the whole thing in one sitting (at work nonetheless).
    #83
  4. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
    Great RR + pics.

    :thumb

    Thanks,

    JM.
    #84
  5. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Berlin
    In Saqqez we started with our daily routine. After yesterday's adventure in Kurdistan I thought I should let my folks know that we were fine and that everything was hunky-dory.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yummy...

    [​IMG]

    Vitamins instead...

    [​IMG]

    Lake Orumiyeh not far from Tabriz... The tragedy of the lake is, that damming and diverting of rivers flowing into the sea and mismanagement left just a fraction of its original size under water. The rest is dry. And that also increases the salinity, which has reached almost 30% and kills the last remaining life, such as crawfish and birds...

    [​IMG]

    We passed this powerplant. When I googled "nuclear power plant in Iran", only Bushehr in the south at the Gulf of Persia popped up. So what is this? My map also indicates a nuke plant. So if anyone knows more about it, let me know. It's located near Ajabshir, about 50 mls. south of Tabriz.

    [​IMG]

    Tabriz welcomed us with high volume traffic, just what we expected from a vibrant city of 1.5 million people...

    Get ready for a stunning walk through local markets and to famous sites...
    #85
  6. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,652
    Location:
    UK
    #86
  7. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Berlin
    Thanx David. :clap
    #87
  8. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander still alive and well

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    8,943
    Location:
    Montreal
    In 1970 I traveled overland from west to east exiting through Mashad and later back to Teheran and then south towards Baghdad.

    Your report is a great reminder of the scenery and the warmth of the people doesn't seem to have changed in the passing years.

    Kudos to you guys for heading somewhere different and sharing with us!
    #88
    jmcg and jmacp19 like this.
  9. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Berlin
    Hi Dan, hi everyone,

    that's what I have difficulties to grasp... how can people in countries like Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan and others in the Arab world be so hospitable, helpful and supportive, when on the other hand our political leaders tell us every day, that they belong to the axis of evil? Don't let me be misunderstood... people in South America, West Africa, the US or Norway are also generous and supportive. I believe it's got something to do with the mentality of each individual. Good people do good beyond political orientation. And also: if you - as a world traveling ambassador on a bike - approach someone far away from your home, he or she will never think you have a crooked mind or you are a wretch... at least predominantly. Any other opinion?
    #89
  10. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,652
    Location:
    UK
    I totally agree with you. The locals know they have nothing to fear from a foreign tourist on a motorbike, and quite often it's part of their culture to welcome travellers.
    #90
  11. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,491
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    Great report and trip. I’m always amazed by how much different a place is in a ride report than in a standard news story.
    #91
  12. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Berlin
    Tabriz is one of the biggest cities in Iran. For centuries it has been a huge hub on the silk road. Today 1.5 million people live here. Visiting the many bazaars and regular side streets we get to understand best, how the Iranian people make ends meet and get along with each other.

    I have always felt more comfortable on a local farmer's market than in a supermarket.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My GPS guided us dead on target to our hotel.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    No hotel receptionist ever questioned whether or not it was ok for us to stay in a triple room. Martina is my wife and we made Heli my cousin. Problem solved, worked always...

    [​IMG]

    Even slippers are provided for indoor use. In each room you will find an arrow pointing towards Mekka, so that guests know where to turn to for praying.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Honey

    [​IMG]

    Tea

    [​IMG]

    Spices

    [​IMG]

    Hardware

    [​IMG]

    Tobacco and tomatos

    [​IMG]
    It looks a little like Halloween, but it's just for the daily make-up.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In modern Iran you can also find fast food restaurants. Of course. With all the wistles and bells...

    [​IMG]

    TV and plenty of power sources for cell phones...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A mosque right across the street from our hotel.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The authorities punish traffic violations more often...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A taylor measures outdoor...

    [​IMG]

    Fast food everywhere...

    [​IMG]

    Shoe repair...

    [​IMG]

    Bike repair shop...

    [​IMG]

    The well-deserved break. Time for small talk and relaxation with a shisha.

    [​IMG]
    #92
    BigDogRaven, BillUA, yamalama and 5 others like this.
  13. allroadtoine

    allroadtoine Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    100
    Wonderfull RR.

    Greetings,

    Toine
    #93
    jmacp19 likes this.
  14. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,703
    Location:
    City of the Angels
    Thanks for sharing. These travels are the best features of advrider. You've opened up a window into a world most of us westerners will never otherwise see and your objective perspective resonates very clearly.

    It's sad that differences in political powers taint the perceptions of human kindness and universal good will.

    Good on you for exposing yourselves to all the geo/ politico/ socio uncertainties in your quest for travel, adventure and history.

    The Fatima perspective is also additionally interesting, bringing to light the social suppression and separation induced by a society purely because of gender differences.

    Your travel further highlights the simple luxuries and pleasures those of us are afforded living in a free democracy.

    And the benefits of freedom to travel and share the hope of prosperity with others less fortunate.

    Looking forward to more of your travels.
    #94
  15. Essbee

    Essbee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    Durban, South Africa
    Thank you for sharing. What an informative, interesting ride report!
    #95
  16. Pongo

    Pongo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Victoria, BC Canada
    Fantastic adventure, photos and write up, thanks for sharing.
    #96
  17. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Berlin
    Tabriz, day 2.

    [​IMG]

    Gardens and parks are scattered all over the city.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is the Blue Mosque. One can only vaguely imagine how beautiful this temple must have been before 1779, when an earthquake flattened the building almost completey. In the 1970s the mosque was rebuilt, but major parts of the damage were left untouched.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Everything she produces is hand-made.

    [​IMG]

    As mentioned before, Tabriz was and is an important junction on the silk road. The means of transportation might have changed though...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Martina took the opportunity to visit a prayer service. Therefore she had to wear another bed sheet on top of her already accepted daily outfit...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was not even allowed to join the men... for no apparend reason...

    [​IMG]

    Later we visited a museum that honors Iran's poets and writers, whom Iran is very proud of.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the library of the museum they display a very interesting array of books.

    [​IMG]

    ... for Dummies, Che Guevarra...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Chinatown and Hitler, sandwiched by a childrens book and a book about Napoleon...?????

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The transportation system doesn't match international standards. But we have to put into consideration, that the little alleys in the bazaars are very narrow...

    [​IMG]

    Many water posts are found in the city. Most of the year the temperatures in Tabriz reach 90° F and more...

    [​IMG]

    For those who work in the markets the entire day, a little prayer room is provided somewhere hidden in a side alley, indicated by the green decoration.

    [​IMG]

    Traffic in Iran is a chapter on its own. At the end of my report, I will dedicate a post just for traffic, behaviour and pollution...

    [​IMG]

    ... pedestrian zone...
    #97
  18. stilcrazee

    stilcrazee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    101
    Location:
    Addison, IL.
    Just my observation..
    Is it just me, or in the pictures from Tabriz, are there more males wearing darker or black shirts than pictures from previous cities? Would there be a specific reason for them wearing darker colors (black)?
    #98
  19. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Berlin
    Hey you,

    you are a very good observer.
    The pics were taken a few days before the Ashura festivities, a Shia Islamic celebration in honoring the fallen in the battle of Karbala in 680 A.C. . All men dress in black as this annual festival is a mourning ritual.
    #99
    Parcero, jmacp19 and stilcrazee like this.
  20. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Berlin
    Hi folks,

    I just hit the 10,000 viewer mark.

    Thank you very much for your support and your interest.

    Harti
    Parcero, chudzikb, jmacp19 and 3 others like this.