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.
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.
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.
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.