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Here is our Newsletter #11!
This newsletter features our travel diary from our last days in Armenia and the first two weeks in Iran. As usual, you will also find one of our favorite photos as a full resolution download below. Have fun!
Hello! Welcome to Iran!

We are in Iran. Salaam!

Almost every conversation starts like this: "Hello! Welcome to Iran! Where are you from?" And we hear this several times a day.

Around 1.5 weeks ago, we entered Iran. Our last days in Armenia went by quickly. We drove up to Lake Sevan, the biggest lake in South Caucasus. We visited the capital Yerevan once again, and picked up our Iranian visa without any problems. Afterwards, we headed down south. We drove by two other great monasteries, both listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. The first, Noravank Monastery, is settled in the wine region of Armenia. Besides visiting the monastery, we had a wine tasting and enjoyed the fruity red wine. The second, Tatev Monastery, is located more to the south, overlooking a river. We could camp next to the monasteries both times and had great views in the evening and morning. The last day, we met two guys who invited us to share lunch - and for Heiner a few shots of booze.
The border crossing to Iran went smoothly. On Armenian side, we had to play a small game like in that Asterix comic. We had to go to desk 1 to get Heiner's passport copied, then to desk 2, where the lady checked the copy and printed two bills (we still don't know, what exactly we had to pay for). On desk 5, the guy calculated the sum of the two bills and printed another one. On the bank counter, we had to pay the bill and go back to desk 2. The lady there checked the receipt and called lady from desk 1. This lady called a guy who accompanied Heiner to the car, and Anna to the desk for getting the exit stamp. After checking the car twice, we finally could leave the border. And we thought Germans love bureaucracy..
On Iranian side, we just had to answer a few questions about our itinerary and our jobs. We got our stamps in the passports and in the Carnet de passages (a toll document obligatory for temporarily importing Willie). They didn't even check the car inside or asked anything about it. If we had known this before, we would not have emptied our fully stacked bar the day before.
Then, we entered our country number 11! We drove through a valley to the closest city, named Jolfa. We immediately liked the dry landscape, the rough mountains and the endless views. We visited, now really for the last time, an Armenian monastery close to Jolfa (a UNESCO site once again). We passed some mountains and entered a greener, more arboreous region. It could have been somewhere at home in Germany in autumn. We hiked up a steep path to Babak fortress - a ruined defending base from 810 AD. Half way up, we met a group of Iranian hikers. We shared some cake and tea. At the top they invited us to share their lunch with us, as well. We had a lot of fun with these guys. We talked about everything, including politics and religion. We noticed, that they are really relaxed about all of this. The ladies put down their head scarfs during lunch and there was a close relation between the guys and ladies. They are really cool people!
The next days, we got to know the endless hospitality of the Iranian people in many more situations. Two boys handed us pomegranates (perfect with oatmeal for breakfast!) over into the car and drove away with their bikes, waving goodbye. We were invited to tea in the Bazar of Tabriz, northern Iran's main city. There, we met a bunch of young men, visiting a friend. We joined them on their tour around the city and had a fun afternoon.
Kandovan, a beautiful village, was our next stop. There are houses in the caves, more than 800 years old. Very similar to what we had missed in Cappadocia (Turkey). In Soltaniyeh, we were impressed by the huge mausoleum. Now this is really a nice grave!

We visited the town of Qazvin and entered the Alamut valley. There, we spent days with amazing mountain views. After crossing the Alborz mountains, we arrived at the Caspian Sea.
We are already overwhelmed by the hospitable and honestly kind people of Iran. The kids like to shout out loudly: "Hello!" when they see us walking in the street. The drivers honk and smile. Everybody is laughing when we greet back "Salaam!". They ask, if we need help, how we like Iran and where we are planning to go. It looks like we will have relaxed weeks in this country - we like that a lot!

Next stop: the capital Tehran!
Latest blog posts
There is lot of new stuff on our website! We added some galleries from Greece and Turkey. Additionally, you get all the relevant information and stories from our trip through these countries!
To see all the galleries with cool pics, just click HERE. For all the stories, HERE.

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Here it is! Our regular gift! The best picture, made by us, for you! Nice evening light enlightens the vast steppe landscape and Willie.
Just click HERE
See you on the road!
Anna and Heiner
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