Today is the start of the New Year celebrations in Iran. I had breakfast with everyone in the Home Stay, Vail and the Austrian couple Hans and Barbra were off walking in the hills for the day so they were away just after breakfast. I pack my kit push the bike out of the basement and say good bye to the Spanish couple Matthew and Martina wishing them well on their cycling. I
have met a lot of cyclist’s on this trip and to me I think that’s a big task to cycle the silk route they all look totally knackered. I used to do a lot of cycling in the early ninety’s thank god I now use an engine. As I leave the ally way and turn on to the main road, oh my god what a traffic jam stuck for about 15 mins there are people and cars everywhere, I get to the first roundabout and its chaos and the police are making everyone turn right with the road blocked
off not the way I want to go so I point straight on to him and he moves the barrier and lets me through a big thank you smile hand shake and I am off. The temperature is about 4 so not to bad and the roads are clear of snow. Once out on the city limits all is ok empty roads most of the way to Sarakhs the road is good fun lots of bends but the road surface at times is really poor. Riding past the Baluch (spelling) people basically nomads they are amazed to see me, more so I am amazed to see how they live which a tent is dug into the ground and sand bagged in. It gets to about 11 ish and its time for a brew stop and shore enough there is an old guy at the side of the road with a little shop so I ask for some tea and he pours me 2 no idea why it’s all in the language barrier.  But what a great old guy, a nomad turns up out of nowhere dressed like an extra from Star Wars complete with all his goats he is totally amazed at the bike lots of looking and touching. 2 cups of hot sweat tea down the hatch and its back on the road. It’s only a short ride of 190kms to Sarakhs so 1 fuel stop just outside Sarakhs and the attendant speaks English what are the chances of that, I ask him if there is a Hotel in Sarakhs he says yes just by the customs area at the big roundabout. Result I think. So we have a chat and he asks where I am from etc it then turns to football and for those who know me you can image my thoughts now. Then the chat stops, I think to myself sorry my friend but I off can’t hang around here all day talking about mong ball. I reach the Hotel Dosti well, looks like I have found faulty Towers in Iran but for 300,000 Rial (£16) what do I really expect and I think it’s the only hotel here, so iam in. It does however have a garage for the bike. Get to the room oh it will do at least its clean. Then back down the stairs there is no lift for a late lunch
chicken Kebab and rice. This is the last day in Iran and it will be sad to leave I knew when planning the trip that a week would not be enough time and everybody that has been here as said the same but that’s the nature of this trip. I have meet some great people very friendly for people that have very little compared to the western world they are very generous. The high lights of Iran have been the people especially staying with Vail and his family, not really a specific place as the whole place is very scenic I have really enjoyed Iran, the food has been great and the driving in the city’s is really something else. I think they have the answer to London’s traffic congestion: - If you have 3 lanes let’s see if we can fit 5 cars across them as for traffic lights and roundabouts let’s just keep going and see what happens if you want to overtake just do it, it really doesn’t matter what is coming the other way surely they will move over, wont they. Strangely enough I have not seen any accidents.  But there car certainly have May be we get it wrong in the west. I DON’T THINK SO!! They drive some great wrecks/cars here this still the Hillman Hunter which is strange as it was my first car. The Iranians brought the rights to make it 40 odd years ago and still make a pick up version. Good bye Iran. Tomorrow Turkmenistan awaits.

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