Out of the traffic

Taking a smaller road, especially without having a good map, is always a bet; you never know how long it will be and what you will find. It is also quite tiring, you easily get lost and, after almost six months on the road, I still feel slightly upset or nervous if I don’t manage to locate myself on the map, or if I take a wrong turn; something that doesn’t really matter as long as I have enough food or water. And Iranians are not very helpful, whenever you ask them for directions, they just redirect you to the road you are escaping from, the big and busy one. In an attempt to convince me not to take the (beautiful) small road that goes from Farsesh, a village in the Zagros Mountains where I spent a night hosted by a farmer’s family, to Fereydunshahr, a man even said that I might have found terrorists along that road. Everybody in the room laughed and a boy who spoke some English later expalined to me that ‘we want you to stay in good roads’.

Having to be in Isfahan on an exact day to meet my parents, I had to do some fast km, so after Fereydunshahr it was, again, back to the main road; thanks to a welcome tailwind I covered more than 150 km in a day, but the level of traffic made the whole ride quite unpleasant and I decided to pay more attention when planning my route.

So there I was, carefully studying the map after 10 rest days; there seemed to be an almost continuous line, far away from everything, that went exactly from Esfahan to Yazd and I decided to give it a try. Together with the days in the Howraman valley it has been one of the best ride in Iran.

Tailwind helped me again to arrive to Verzaneh, where I sistematically ignored the word ‘danger’ referred to the route I planned to follow and I stocked up food and water. Camp was set where the asphalt ended, in the middle of nowhere; there was no moon, meaning that darkness and silence were absolute.

A badgir, or windcatcher, in Verzaneh. It is a typical view in Yazd
A badgir, or windcatcher, in Verzaneh. It is a typical view in Yazd
Tempted to set up camp here...
Tempted to set up camp here…
... chose this place instead
… chose this place instead

The following day I rode the whole time along a dirty road, crossing no villages (the few that were on the map didn’t exist) taking water from a shepherd and from another house I found along the road. It was a very basic house hosting the people working on a mine nearby; I arrived at around lunch time, so I was not only given some (beautifully cold) water, but I was also invited for lunch and, while waiting, a bed where to sleep and escape from the hot weather was offered to me. I doubt the same would have happened on the busy highway, where I would have probably spent my lunch in a quite unremarkable place, with the noise of traffic on the background. IMG_2799 (1024x768) IMG_2839 (1024x768)
IMG_2893 (1024x768)

Another long road
The few cars passing would often stop. They often were just curious, wanted to see if I needed any water or food and sometimes wanted to take a picture. The general agreement was that I was lost, being unthinkable for an Iranian to drive along such a road; luckly the main road was way too far to redirect me there!
The few cars passing would often stop. They often were just curious, wanted to see if I needed any water or food and sometimes wanted to take a picture. The general agreement was that I was lost, being unthinkable for an Iranian to drive along such a road; luckly the main road was way too far to redirect me there!

After this pleasant break I continued riding along the dirty track, the road going gently uphill; at a certain point a big caravanserai appeared where an Iranian family was picknicking.

The caravanserai. It is not so close as it seems
The caravanserai. It is not so close as it seems
And the inside. The family is under the shadow, whereas you see the man doing his prayers
And the inside. The family is under the shadow, whereas you see the man doing his prayers
Indecision... Luckly the route was somehow traced on my GPS.
Indecision… Luckly the route was somehow traced on my GPS.
One of the few 'road signs' I've found during the day
One of the few ‘road signs’ I’ve found during the day

IMG_2881

The village of Surk, 400 people living there, but two shrines.
The village of Surk, 400 people living there, but two shrines.

Yazd was not far and the following day, thanks to some other tailwind and the asphalt that appeared again, I managed to reach it in the afternoon; only finding the hotel, riding through the small alleys of the old town, was a small adventure, but it was enough to understand how special Yazd is: I was looking forward to spend the next couple of days visiting my first town along the Silk Road.

Back on the asphalted road, surprises aren't over. This was a big mosque under construction in the middle of nowhere
Back on the asphalted road, surprises aren’t over. This was a big mosque under construction in the middle of nowhere
Inside
Inside
Almost finished
Almost finished
The view of the old city of Yazd from the roof of the hotel. If you google it you can find way better pictures than that anyway
The view of the old city of Yazd from the roof of the hotel. If you google it you can find way better pictures than that anyway
Annunci

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