Sunday, September 17: we set out on a long and adventurous (later it turned out to be) journey to the mountains. Thanks to Soroush we visit his family in the Padena region and meet the Qashqai nomad tribe. Moreover, we manage to attend a wedding…

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After the Maranjab desert, the caravanserai, the campfire and the party with alcohol, we continued our roundtrip in Iran with a visit to Isfahan. Well, what can we say, people have yet again been very gracious to us, but especially our CouchSurfing hosts: Soroush, Saied and Simi.

Which of them is an artist? Who invited us for tea and why?

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Kashan was gracious to us. He had nice hosts, had a good dinner and sleep. We went sightseeing and to the desert the next day. What a party (with alcohol!) we had there!

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The Iranian world from above…

The Damavand experience was over, it was time for the full immersion into the Iranian society. The best method is with CouchSurfing, when you stay with locals, getting to know their way of thinking, lifestyle, wage, housing arrangements, opinion of local, regional and international matters.

And the discovery begun: the two parallel worlds were gazing at each other. We were amazed by some of the aspects of Iranian life, the locals were keen to interact with us. If they spoke English, they didn’t hesitate to approach and talk to us. I felt like an UFO discovering a living, speaking treasure…

Almost all of them thought we’re Germans. Some were disappointed that actually we weren’t. We were from Magyaristan…

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Mount Damavand is the highest peak in Iran and the Middle East, and the highest volcano in Asia. A total of nine people from the group decided to attempt reaching the summit – 5610 meters. According to some other calculations, the peak is at 5670 meters. One can see the Caspian sea from there. It’s not a technical climb, it’s reachable if you have an upper-middle physical condition. One has just o tolerate the high altitude.

Day 1: Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport -> Polur (Camp 1 – 2270 meters) -> Goosfand Sara/Saheb Zaman Mosque (Camp 2 – 3040 meters)

Day 2: Goosfand Sara/Saheb Zaman Mosque (Camp 2 – 3040 meters) -> Bargah Sevom ( Camp 3 – 4220 meters)

Day 3.: Bargah Sevom ( Camp 3 – 4220 meters) – Damavand summit (5671 meters)

Did we manage to go right up to the top?

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Camp 3 is called Bargah Sevom and it is located at 4220 meters. It was not easy to reach it from Camp 2 called Goosfand Sara or Saheb Zaman Mosque, located at 3020 meters high…

We returned from Iran almost a week ago, but I still feel the gaze of the Iranian people on me. Almost all of them looked at us like we would be UFO’s. We were also very curious of their way of dressing, living, eating and so on. It was also a time-travel for both sides: we returned to the past, they had a glimpsed to the future. But what if they would revolt to reach this/that future and have an Arab Spring-like movement like in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt?

Of course, they aspire to have what we have in Europe, but they also realize the complete and utter failure of the Arab Spring. After discussing with many Iranians, the conclusion is the following: better following a very slow-pace change (step-by-step reforms, openness to change and opening the country to the world economy and tourists) than chaos, civil war, incertitude, even deeper poverty.

Interestingly enough, many of them thought we’d like to eat pizza, hamburger, drink Coca-Cola and Pepsi rather than local drinks and food. We explained: we can have all these in Europe, we had enough of them, sort of, so we’d definitely not eat/drink these in the gastronomically very diverse Iran…!

But let’s get back to climbing the Damavand (5610/5671 meters, around 18,403 feet)…

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I decided to write the posts about Iran in English, so everybody can understand. Simple English will be used, so those who don’t master Shakespeare’s mother tongue, can use Google Translate. Yes, I know, it’s also available in Iran… using a few simple tricks. 🙂

It’s been a long wish: visiting Iran. Boti and Péter gave the push, did some research, put together a program, so we decided to go.  Last year the failed coup d’état took place in Turkey, we would have had to travel through Istanbul, so we decided to cancel. This year a total of 16 people said: let’s go! The adventure took place between September 9-23, 2017.

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