Overland 1972 - Day 35

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March 17th 1972
Published: March 21st 2013
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Day 35 - Friday 17th March

The coach left at a few minutes before 6am. We were given seats at the back. The coach managed a pretty impressive speed and the driver was excellent. The scenery to the border was still snow covered mountains and small poor looking villages of mainly mud huts. The road was virtually empty of traffic. At the border everything was unloaded from the coach and our passports and health certificates were scrutinised by the Turkish side. The Iranian border guards declared that Michael's visa was invalid which was annoying as all three (Michael, Heather and mine) had been issued at the very same time by the Embassy in London. After a lively discussion, they eventually stamped the visa and let him through. The customs area checked our luggage and added "camera" next to our visa. There was a restaurant at the border and we enjoyed a good filling meal of meat and rice for 55 Rials - as stated earlier in the series of blogs, the proportion of meat in meals gradually reduced as we travelled east and butter was added to the top of mound of rice. We were pleasantly surprised that we received a pretty decent exchange rate at the border (£1=200 Rials).

We were told that the coach would be stopping overnight in Tabriz - good news as not travelling through the night is not fun. We stopped en-route once more for a tea before arriving at the hotel in Tabriz at 7.30pm - another long travelling day survived. Since the border, the scenery had changed. The villages seemed larger and there was more livestock to be seen - sheep and cattle and clumps of hay. There were also several camel trains. As we entered Tabriz, there was a beautiful glass clocktower. We were taken to a cheap hotel but it was reasonable for the price - Hotel Palas for 50 rials. There was no hot water again but some heating the room (not much though). I shared with John and an American who did not return for the night. It was trying to snow and was cold. We walked around the corner from the hotel and within a few minutes found a clean looking restaurant and ordered the now normal rice and meat. Back at the hotel, our only outstanding problem was that no-one seemed to know the departure time for the coach tomorrow morning.


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