Iran 98    7.8. - 25.8 98

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 Aventure beguns in Istambul. Our luggages not arrived (left in Paris). Next flight was scheduled same day midnight. We found accomodation in old town and bought bus tickets Istambul-Teheran 30 USD each. Quite a good price for such a long distance (we found later on that is possible to go to Teheran for 20 USD only what is really good bargin. Our rucksacks finally arrived but support from Air France was really below expectations.

 Next day, after brief excursion to Blue mosque we went by new air-con bus towards EAST. Within a few minutes bus crossing the bridge across Bospor strait and we're in Asia. Our fellow travelers are rather rich Iranians which made shoppings in Istambul. We're only foreigners. First stop is on a pleasant mountain pass half way between Istambul and Ankara. But we're heading more north and bypass capital. First night in bus was O.K. First rays of morning sun unhides totaly different landscape. Forests and green meadows changed to dry arid hilly countryside. After town Erzurum first military check stopped bus. We are entering Kurdish area and turkish army is guarding main road. Famous Ararat mountain appeared. This 5137 metres high volcano is raising a few thousand metres above the plateau. Small glaciers on a top creates nice snow "cap". Beside bigger one there is a smaller brother - 4000 m high Small Ararat. It's a pity that ascend to Ararat is due to unstable situation normaly not possible. You must obtain a special permit in Ankara and take army guard with you. If everything will go smoothly we will climb even on higher volcano than Ararat is.

The 6 km southeast of Dogubeyazit stay monumental Izcak Pasha palace. There is a nice walk despite taxi drivers will try to tell you that it is very far. Palace is beautifully located on the slope of the mountain overlooking whole plateau. It should me 365 rooms there (I did not count it).The goverment is making a big reconstruction.

Finaly we are on border. And begins 6 and half hour's hardship. All had to moved out from the bus. Fist big que on turkish customs then a few hour's wait in dark, dirty hall and finally big crush and search of ourselves. This is "a must" what you have to overcome to get into Iran. It was first and also last negative experience from the whole trip (not mentioning taxi drivers which bringing negative experience everywhere).

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