Blogs from Tabriz, North, Iran, Middle East


Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz November 19th 2017

Saturday. Another day another castle! Some of our group decided that a day exploring Tabriz would be fun, the rest of us headed for the hills to see Babak castle. This remote site on a crag was three hours from Tabriz by bus then about 20 minutes in ancient four wheel drive jeeps followed by a 40 min walk. Not as strenuous as we thought it might be but the final steps up and across the cliff felt exposed to the drop. The views were worth it when we reached the top. After a good bumble about and picnic snacks we headed back the way we had come. Back in Tabriz we all went out for dinner, a good 40 minute walk away from the hotel - sadly the restaurant recommended in both the guidebooks had ... read more
Spice section in the Tabriz bazaar
Takht e Soleyman
Avicenna in Hamedan

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz November 18th 2017

Tuesday. To Qazvin via Alamut Looking back I can’t work out whether I enjoyed this day. We spent quite some time getting out of Tehran and driving to the outskirts of Qazvin where we changed to a smaller bus to tackle the mountain roads. One of the odd, but nerdily interesting, events was realising, when the driver filled up, that petrol/diesel costs about 6p a litre (compared to around £1.20 in London). Our objective for the day was the Assassin sect’s castle of Alamut. Three hours or so from leaving the motorway we arrived at the foot of an outcrop which seemed to be crowned with scaffolding and corrugated iron….the castle. The surrounding countryside was either bleached by the summer into a pale brown dustiness or covered in trees that were turning beautiful shades of gold ... read more
autumn colours near Alamut
Most of the gang at Alamut

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz September 14th 2016

TABRIZ. REST DAY 13 SEPTEMBER, 2016 What a difference a single room makes, no snoring, no lights being turned on in the middle of the night, a dry bathroom !! Small things I know, but after 30+ nights, memorable! Headed off for the bazaar at 9am as it was opening later due to yesterday's religious holiday. A huge expanse, bustling with people. The alleys were named for the products sold, shoes, jewellery, pots, etc. More like a flea market with mostly home products - soap, etc. To my mind not as magical as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. After a few hours I needed to escape. Later spoke to other riders who visited, spending 5-6 hours there. Lucky for me I went independently!! Phil and I then went in search of the Blue Mosque, which was ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz September 13th 2016

ZANJAN to RIVER CAMP. 10 September, 2016. Stage 95 120.50 Kms SubT. Kms 2156.90 kms . Road Condition: okWeather: BLUE SKY MILD 29c Time in Saddle: 4:15:11 Av Speed: av. 28.3 kph. Av Cadence. 78 RpmElevation: 50 m up; 50 m downCalories burned : > 5500 Today there was no headwind and no climbing, so a relatively easy day. Road was busy with trucks, mainly tip trucks, no idea where they were carting loads. Dinner last night was in a Turkish Restaurant on the outskirts of the CBD. An excellent meal! Zanjan was a large city as I discovered riding out this morning. The city roads were very busy. Large roundabouts added to the complexity! The original camp site was to be adjacent to an old bridge. The bridge and surrounding rocky mountainous scenery made it ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz March 8th 2016

Day 44 Wednesday 2nd March 2016 Another day in Iran, another town, another taxi. Heading off to Kashan today by bus, but as we got the taxi to the bus terminal the driver tried to talk us into letting him drive us to Kashan for US$88 including a bit of sightseeing but we opted for the much cheaper bus. We had not prebooked our tickets and were not sure of the timetable but the taxi driver recommend a bus company that runs regularly to Kashan. It was 9.00am when we arrived at the counter and the bus was leaving at 9.30am how lucky, the trip was uneventful but it did give me time to think about why all men want to have their photo taken with Scott. Is it because of his good looks ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz October 3rd 2015

The route of our journey through Iran resembled the Persian number seven ۷ It is in no way a reflection of our guides but writing the blog entries for Iran has made us realise that having everything arranged for us and without using public transport while making things easy also makes travelling less interesting and gives little to write about - we don't want to read a laundry list of “then we went here, then we did this” so can be sure nobody else does. Therefore this final Iranian entry is also going to be short and cover quite a long distance – Esfahan to the Turkish border via Tehran along with some reflections. Iranian driving has been an “interesting” experience. Iranians love to talk and when they do they look you in the eye, this ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz July 19th 2015

Geo: 38.081, 46.2901 Donned our Islamic clothing and headed the eerily quiet 30 kms down the road past Turkey's Military check posts, guard towers, tanks, bushrangers and other general displays of might to the border.We had heard this to be a confusing border crossing and had read various tips from previous overlanders. If you can imagine arrival at an international airport, it kind of goes pretty standard immigration and then customs. Overland borders particularly with a vehicle follow no known standard and are further complicated by having departure from one country back to back with arrival to another. Sadly we timed it badly as there was a bus load of Iranians returning from Ramadan festivities in Turkey. Given 40 odd people (conservative estimate) arrive at the one time we could well understand why there was only ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz October 14th 2014

From Ramsar traveled East, back up towards mountains. Mr Yazd has many contacts, one is building a villa in hills West of Lahijan. So we stayed in Hamish's place who works for an airline in Tehran. Villa was warm and dry, but still bit of a building project. In-a-Jungle bit of an optimistic description, more woods or scrub, still very different to other city stops. Tabriz was nearly last stop in Iran, some how this place feels Turkish, which is just 300km to west. Well educated people, but girls are now segregated on buses (section at back of bus), but do travel with the men in a taxi. Getting colder, now 18°C on bike, where was well over 40°C only 8 days earlier, Romania could well be 15°C lower again - brr!. Maku just 20km from ... read more
Lunch in Lahijan
Hamish's villa
inside Villa

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz September 24th 2013

It has been seven years but I am back in Iran and this time I will concentrate on the north west of the country. I left Agarak a little after 8 am and was driven to the border by a very old man in an even older car, I then had quite a walk from the Armenia border post across a bridge spanning the Aras River, getting my passport checked by a multitude of officials, police and soldiers along the way. Finally I arrived at the Iranian immigration area and after a short wait passed through changing my dram to rials before exiting the building and meeting my driver and guide. First stop will be the town of Jolfa which is on the border with Azerbaijan where for some reason they dropped me at the hotel ... read more
Caravansari Abbasi
Now a beautifully restored restaurant
Dining rooms

Middle East » Iran » North » Tabriz May 15th 2012

Geo: 38.081, 46.2901The Iranian border, has to be one of the most nerve racking experiences I have ever had the pleasure of going through.Our last night in Turkey was spent in a place known as Dogubeyazit (Doggy Biscuit as we all called it!), sitting just under the shadow of a snow capped Mt Ararat. It was a beautiful view, although the campsite had a little to be desired. It was basic lets say, with the toilets requiring somewhat of a pre deep breath before entering. For this reason and the lack of sleep from the Lake Van storm, the girls and I decided to upgrade to a room, with our own private bathroom, with an actual toilet rather than a poop covered squat! This cost us a whole 5TL each…. equivalent of less than 2 quid. ... read more
our upgraded room for all of 5TL each
Mt Ararat
The campsite reception

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