We flew to Tehran and got the bus to Tabriz where the tour started. We rode through Ardabil reaching the Caspian Sea at Astara. We then mostly followed the coast as far as Sari then got the bus to Tehran and spent a few days touring in Tehran before flying out.
Climbing east from Tabriz, even in mid-summer the snow doesn’t melt. This is big country with big mountains. Notice the blue ute being loaded with hay. Iran is the world capital of blue utes.
Big country and the best way to see it and to actually be there is on a bike. Women need to cover up but it is not too difficult.
Trying to prove me wrong this garlic seller has a white ute. There isn’t a friendlier country than Iran in the whole world.
The roads are very good. For example, far better than the USA or Australia. Smooth and wide shoulders. Quite often they commemorate martyrs. Signage is good.
The southern end of the Caspian Sea is a very rich agricultural zone. Rice is one of the main crops. Also, tea, kiwi fruit and nut crops. Although the rainfall is low the snow melt provides ample water.
Exquisite ceramic work abounds. Not just on mosques. Many public buildings, even water fountains, feature beautiful ceramics.
We played the tourist role and took the cable car up to see the view of the coastal are at the south end of the Caspian. This sea is below “sea level” and extremely salty.
These guys have made sunhats out of pieces of cardboard.
The food in the bazars is amazing. So many nuts and dried fruits. You can get lost in them and need to take care. Not that they are dangerous. It is normal to see businessmen counting out thousands of dollars in public. That means it is safe.
Tehran itself is easy and safe to cycle around. This guy is selling watermelon right out in the traffic. These days with a gps on your phone and a downloaded map you won’t get too lost. Note though that google is blocked in Iran.
Time to go so the cardboard search is undertaken. Some refrigerator cartons are soon found. Note the leather saddle being test-ridden. It was a fail. A Taiwan copy of a Brooks Team Professional.
At the airport (which is a blue-ute ride out of the city) the plastic wrapping machine finishes the job. It is a good idea to look at airport websites to see if they have these machines as they save a lot of worry.