Stories from Iran

July 1, 2012 in Iran, On the road

Many things are different here – very different. Even after three weeks in this country, we have not comprehended many things. But we want to tell you about some particularities, that have surprised us, or that are very characteristic.

1. Hospitality

Nowhere else have we experienced such a big hospitality like here in Iran. We are regularly invited for tea and food – and occasionally also to stay overnight. Sometimes, when we were camping, we had to make a kind of schedule, where to go first for tea or dinner, and in which order. As soon as we start to put up our tent, people come and bring us tea, food, or fruits.

But the warmest hospitality so far, we have experienced in Talesh, a city at the Caspian Sea. Shahrokh and his wonderful family, consisting of his friendly wife Mojhgan, and his two sons, Rastin and Radin, invited us to stay at their house, and we were allowed to spend three interesting days at their place. They prepared wonderful tasty food for us, showed us around the place, we were allowed to wash our clothes, and we could even clean our motorbikes at Shahrokh’s petrol station. We are very thankful for their warm hospitality, and their true interest in us and our home country.

The time in Talesh has allowed us very interesting insights into the Iranian life. We want to thank them once more and from our hearts that they took us in, treated us so warmly and provided us a wonderful time at their home.


2. Traffic

Traffic in Iran is crazy – or at least very different! You have to be 150% alert all the time. It can happen any time that in a bend you suddenly find a car on your side of the road. They overtake at the most unsuitable places, and in cities the following rules apply: never use the mirrors, push into every little gap you find, and regularly use your horn.

Of course, with our motorcycles we are an attraction (because in Iran only 250 cc machines are allowed), and often cars overtake us just to take pictures or to wave at us. But they do not consider that this causes some dangerous situations from time to time.

It is difficult to describe, you have to experience it yourself. But in any case, it is probably a good preparation for what awaits us in Pakistan and India.

3. Nose surgeries

Iran is the country of corrected noses! Everywhere you meet people with plasters on their noses, indicating a recently operated nose. Our travel guide informed us that it is a kind of a status symbol to have this surgery done, and that some people even use plasters just to pretend that they went through such a surgery – rather peculiar!

4. Money

Since we have entered Iran, we have spent Millions! Unfortunately, this is not because we suddenly cracked the jackpot, but due to the change rate: 1 EUR is approximately 24000 Rial. And therefore we now carry big bundles of cash around in our pockets, and are constantly busy counting the zeros on the bills.

5. Prices

Iran is a rather cheap country for western tourists. To give you orientation, we have listed the prices of some typical things:

  • Petrol : approx. 27 Cent
  • Big Falaffel sandwich: 70 Cent
  • Can of Coke: 23 Cent
  • 1.5 liters of water: 20 Cent
  • Grilled chicken incl. drinks and side dishes: 7 EUR
  • Basic hotel: 8-17 EUR
  • 5 scoopes of ice cream: 80 Cent
  • Soft ice: 20 Cent

6. Mountains

Did you know that Iran has a lot of high mountains? Just north of Teheran is the Damavand located, with 5600 meters quite an impressive mountain. We took the motorcycles for a  tour through the mountains in this area and we could drive with our motorcycles up to an altitude of 3280 Meter – on paved roads.


7. A camping and picnic nation

The Iranians are completely mad about camping and picnicking. Everywhere in parks, at the beach, in the mountains, or simply beside the road, the carpets are spread out in the evenings, the tea cooker and the grill are set up, and enormous amounts of food are piled up.

For holidays, many Iranians visit the Caspian Sea, and in the evenings they put up their tents in parks or in special camp sites and sleep there – after an extensive picnic of course. We also use those places regularly for camping, and enjoyed the atmosphere – except one time it didn’t even cost any money.