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Bye Bye Iran - Salam Azerbaijan

AZERBAIJAN | Sunday, 22 July 2007 | Views [2056] | Comments [3]

Rasht to Astara

Before I left Rudsar to Rasht, I asked Behrooz to call my contact, Mr. Nikibina, and get me an address. With an address in hands, there would be no chance I’d miss my contact. Arrived in Rasht and headed to Azodi Sport Complex where I was given a room and the athletes hotel. Stayed for 3 nights, got my laundry done, worked on my diary, and cruised around the city.

Back on the road, I was heading to Talesh, my last stop before Astara. The way from Rasht to Talesh was quite beautiful, away from the coast. The roads were cutting trough forests of pine, berry, and other trees. Both sides of the road were fully green with lots of place to stop and rest – lots of ppl were having picnic under the trees; I did mine by a river.

Got to Talesh, but my contact was not reachable by phone. Asked help for an officer, and he contact Mr. Nikibin. I waited for somebody who was supposed to come meet me, but no one came. Talking to some guys I met, from an English school, I got directions to Talesh’s Sport Complex. On my way there, I stopped to get some vegetables; then, this big guy approached and said: Rasht! Mr. Nikibin! He was my contact. Got to my room, and got introduced to the kickboxing coach, who was responsible for taking care of me on my one night stay. We went out for dinner, had a walk and I went to bed.

Morning comes, and I got back to the road. My last kms of Iran were quite beautiful; I was approaching the coast again.

The feeling of excitement was coming from being near another border, and another country; however, a feeling of melancholy would hit me when I thought of leaving Iran. It had been such a pleasant ride, a very gratifying experience. Its ppl made the cross feel like it was too fast, but it took me about 26 days – the longest time in one country. I did not feel the time goes by; well, I did feel the time stop while listening to: zero zero zero zero zero dollars!

I was truly in love with Iran…damn, these ppl are good! I wondered if every country I crossed would become number one in my list of favorites. Afghanistan sure held for its beauty; but Iran made it everything so pleasant and easy that I’ll have it on my heart as number one on people. Its beauty is immense, but their kindnesses were much more noticeable.

I must say that I did not see much of Iran; I saw the north part of it. People always talk about cities on the middle-south like Shiraz, Esfahan, Kerman (German), etc; but, I did have enough money & time on my visa to tour the whole country. Iran is quite big, and surely could impress me much more on its beauty – maybe next time! I really want to go back to Iran – anyone wants to join me?

This mixed feelings made me ride with full awareness of everyone and everything I was passing by. I had lots of tea cups, lots of stopping and shaking hands, taking pictures, and telling everyone that I loved their country.

Arrived in Astara around 2pm…I did 85km in less than 4 hours – it is a very good time for my average. Remember, I got 50kg on me (bike/panniers.) It was very early, so I decided to skip my contact and head to cross the border, but before; I had to go for a swim to say good bye to Iran’s Caspian. Found a great place to stop, 8km from the border. Swam, took some shots, and got on my bike. I hung my shorts on my back pannier, to dry…few minutes later it was all wrapped on my back derailleur. Got it out, but it got my gears out of alignment; I tried to fix it, but it wasn’t working well. My shorts were all black and pierced in a few places. Decided to look for a bike shop to get it adjusted properly – in less than 1 min he got it done – frustrating. On my way to the border, crossing the city, I passed by the Astara’s Sport Complex, it was around 530pm. Stopped to check it out, they knew Mr. Nikibin, but there was no rooms on the complex. I didn’t need a room, I just wanted a shower before I crossed the border – border closed at 3pm. Cruised around the city, and went back to the park across the border control.

The border opened at 8; I was there half an hour passed. Got in, and to the other side quite fast, nobody even bother checking my bags…lots of smiles, hand shakes, bye bye Iran…or better, see you later!

Time to get my “Energy Hastei Hager Mossalan Most” in the bag…deep inside! It just wasn’t the right jersey to get into Azerbaijan.

On the other side, I heard:

Salam!...and …Previet! Yes, I was in a totally different place. I was now in Astara, but Azerbaijan’s Astara, where Islam is the main religion, but women dress as they wish, and alcohol is an official reality…the signed showed:

Azerbaijan Piva! (Azerbaijan Beer)

To be continued…

Tags: On the Road

Comments

1

Rodrigo,
As you always has been posted, this is another amazing report. As my boss told you a few weeks ago, your reports giving to us the chance to be there with you. Estela and I wish to be there someday. The way you write your experience make me see how many great people we can get to know if we are open to.
Take care.
Rick

  Rick Jul 23, 2007 4:29 AM

2

Hey Rod,
Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Having spent a year in the last country that you've traveled, I'm happy to know you're safe. Take care and have fun, mike

  Mike Jul 26, 2007 12:39 AM

3

Beijos, Rodrido.
Continuo acompanhando e me deliciando.

  Gilka Jul 27, 2007 11:12 PM

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