It took me no more than 10 minutes to get out of Turkey. Border officials wished me good-bye, safe trip and good luck for Iran.
There were hundreds of trucks waiting at the Iranian border. I was prepared for the worst. I had to stop at an iron gate. A soldier wanted to see my visa for Iran. He unlocked the gate, opened it and let me in. He then closed the gate again and locked it. I put the bike on the side-stand and waited. After some time a young man in a leather jacket came up to me and asked to see my passport. He took it and disappeared in one of the buildings. What was going on? Other people told me not to worry. I was then called into the building. The man with my passport told me to wait at a certain counter. I got my passport stamped there after they had filled in some forms. The same man in the leather jacket then led me to another room where officials dealt with my carnet de passages. In the end I was through in about 2 hours and I had paid 10$ to the semi-official assistant, who had indeed been very helpful.
I was glad to be in the country, but I had no insurance for the bike and no card for fuel. I wanted to go to Maku and see if I could sort those things out there.
This is my Iranian insurance policy. I paid about 13$ for 2 weeks. I didn't have the slightest idea what it would have been worth in case of an accident. But the place looked official.
Nobody really knew about any card for fuel for tourists. I didn't want to bother and decided to continue without.
Flat tire, no worries!
I spent a quiet night somewhat off the road. In the morning I had some visitors.
I was impressed.
Rice was always delicious.
Harley model unknown in Europe. In general, men always showed great interest in my motorcycle. They were impressed when they found 2 cylinders, a radiator and an electric start on my Honda. A frequent question was how many litres in the tank and how many kilometres with one tank. Gas is no longer as cheap as it used to be. If I understood things correctly, the locals have kind of a credit card with which they can get a certain amount of gas per month at a much lower price than what I had to pay. When I stopped for fuel, they asked me for the card. I told them that I didn't have any and someone would get out of his car and insert his card in the pump. I would pay the price shown on the pump and then I saw some transactions going on between the pump attendant and the card holder. Just my conclusions. Maybe I'm completely wrong.
I camped north of Tehran in the Central Alborz mountains. It was a national holiday or the weekend and many people from Tehran were picknicking along the river. Terrible traffic jams. I didn't want to go into the capital, so headed up north to Now Shahr and then anlong the Caspian Sea eastwards. A friendly family invited me to have breakfast with them when I had packed up. One of many invitations. Much sincere hospitality in the country and interest in the traveller.
In restaurants you sit on chairs and the food is served on tables. In private homes it's like this. I am so stiff and find it difficult to sit on the floor for more than some minutes. And when I stand up after a meal, I feel like an old man. I can hardly walk.
This was their back yard. The northern part of the country, the only one I saw, looked rather green and fertile to me.
There was even rice.