Towards the Caspian shore

Soon after Tehran the scenery improved dramatically, as we decided to cross the mountains to reach the Caspian sea. Many tunnels, bridges, deep valleys and breath taking views.
On the shore there are many resorts. We also found a gondola lift.
We spent one night camping on the beach.
We changed course towards West after reaching the border. After the barb wire fence is Azerbaijan.
Soon we were once again in the mountains, climbing towards Ardabil.

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Tehran museums

The Golestan Palace, a former Qajar royal residence, today houses 6 museums focused on arts and crafts, as well as gifts received by the monarch from abroad.

The Iranian National Museum is focused on archeology, bringing together artifacts from all over Iran and beyond.

The Glass & Ceramics Museum has a collection of old and new objects. Very wide variety.

Live craftswomen working inside the Milad tower.
The Saadabad Palace is the residence of various former Iranian royalties. It is located inside a park where 10 other smaller museums and exhibits are available.

This awesome estate houses a time museum. Some time pieces shown here are more than 400 years old.

The National Jewels Museum is located in a vault under the Iranian Central Bank. Various objects made of gold and gems are shown. Photography is prohibited.

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Feels good riding the motorcycle in Tehran: wide avenues, many expressways and no longer dependant on buses and unscrupulous taxi drivers. Most guide books advise travelers about the high pollution and extremely dangerous traffic. Perhaps the authors who wrote that haven’t seen too many Asian countries. In fact, we found Tehran to be the cleanest capital (among those visited during this trip), with many parks, gardens and clean streets. Very livable conditions!

Skiing in Iran, at end of May? Yes, only 20 minutes away from Tehran. Just take the Tochal gondola lift and you will reach an altitude of 3740m.

A good observation point is also the 435m high Milad tower, completed in 2007.

One of the many sweets stores in Iran. Absolutely delicious!

Special thanks to Ali and his family for hosting us while in Tehran. You were great!

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Desert riding

Feels good to be cruising at 150km/h, for the first time in this trip. The road from Bandar Abbas to Tehran is good and traffic is light. With 960km in one day, we managed to break the previous record (950km/day in Argentina).
Chatting during lunch with some Kurdish truck drivers on the side of the road. They deliver the Kurdish oil to Bandar Abbas for exporting, avoiding the Baghdad government’s restrictions.

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Bandar Abbas

After a 12 hrs trip by night train we arrived in Bandar Abbas. Even though we got off at 7AM, the heat was unbearable. By noon, it was already extreme. I never felt such heat before in my life (from natural causes). You have to feel it to believe it!

In the first picture we are with Hamid (from the ocean shipping company) and his family at the Strait of Hormuz beach, separating the Gulf of Oman from the Persian Gulf. The water was hotter than I would use for a shower!

The next day, after some 6 hours spent in the port, we managed to unleash Palomina. The process involved obtaining approvals, signatures and stamps from more than 20 officials but, as opposed to the situation in Vietnam, all of them were friendly and even served us with tea and coffee while waiting.

Now, with only 13 days left on our visa, we are preparing to cross the desert as soon as possible, to use the remaining time in Tehran and Tabriz.

Funny thing: while in other Asian countries the local calendar is used merely for ceremonial and religious purposes, the Persian calendar is used in Iran for all official business. Meaning that, in my Carnet de Passage, the entry date for Palomina was recorded as 31.02.1391 🙂

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