Wednesday, 22 August 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day 71

Day 71: The Last Climbing; From Abbas Abad to Gachsar  in Iran 

July 10, 2012; Distance covered today: 120 Km; Total: 5885 Km

Knowing I was safe in the villa, I slept well last night. After eating a good breakfast, I packed up and left. The weather was cool and humid. I soon arrived in Chalus where I had to turn south toward Karaj and Tehran via Chalus road, one of the most beautiful but most dangerous roads in Iran. The road is very narrow with no shoulder. It zigzags up the mountains from the sea level up to 2500 m high in the mountains where the notorious Kandovan tunnel is. And after the tunnel, it’s all downhill.
In Chalus, a gentleman stopped me and introduced himself as a member of mountain climbing federation. He said that he, along with a team, was going to cycle through Armenia, Georgia, into Turkey the next day. He asked me to go to the climbing federation in Tehran and share my experience with the members. I got his contact info and set off for the mountains.

Strange... This is the second wield humongous  bike I saw in Iran

It was the last week before month of Ramadan, so there were a lot of people traveling. My goal was to pass Kandovan tunnel because it would be very difficult to find a spot to camp before the tunnel.
I knew this road like back of my hand. I had been on this road so many times before, so as I expected, in Marzan Abad, riding got very challenging due to the heat. 

Climbing begins

I kept riding and riding. I didn’t stop for lunch or anything… the only thing I ate was some kind of cake (kolooche) with yoghurt. I really pushed it hard to pass the tunnel. My average speed was 7 Km an hour, and the uphill did not give me a break at all. The weather, which is usually foggy and cool in this area, was hot and sunny. It really was hard, but I was pushing it knowing that the next day, I would be home. 

In Syabishe, I stopped and had some more cake (kolooche) with yoghurt when a gentleman and his son came to ask me if my bicycle had gears. I laughed and said that I wouldn’t make it without my 27 gears. He gave me a knife as a gift, and we took a picture together. 

This gentleman gave me a knife to as a gift

At about 7 o’clock, I arrived at the tunnel. Kandovan tunnel is 5 km long and it is very dangerous to ride in. The air is so polluted in the tunnel that even going through it in a car can make breathing difficult. I hitchhiked to go through the tunnel. And after the tunnel, I was the king of the road. I was faster than cars, coasting down the beautiful meandering road to somewhere after Gachsar where I asked a gentleman where I could pitch up my tent. He generously invited me to his cherry garden and let me camp there. 
The Gentleman who allowed me to camp in is cherry garden

After setting up my camp, washing my clothes, and washing myself, I went to his restaurant to have dinner which was some chicken with rice. 

I cannot stop thinking about tomorrow. I am so excited.

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