Iran Journey 2015: Hitchhiking from Tabriz to Rasht

Read Nane’s version in Armenian

Sunday, November 15, 2015. We leave Tabriz early in the morning. It’s sad to say goodbye to our host family, but the Road is calling and we need to continue our journey. A dear friend is waiting for us in the city of Rasht, about 650 kilometers away. From the city center, we take a BRT bus and get to the outskirts of Tabriz. We start hitchhiking on the highway right after the row of shared taxis, whose drivers are hunting passengers. A car stops in about 2-3 minutes, and while I talk to the driver trying to explain what we want from him, a girl named Farzan approaches Nane. Turns out, her father noticed us as they passed by, and since she speaks English, he sent her to ask if the tourists, us that is, need any help. They suggest to take us to a police check point about 10-15 kilometers down the road. “It will be easier to get a ride from there,” he says as we get into their car. “Do you like Iran?” they ask a little after. And when we answer that we do like Iran very much, they ask, surprised: “Why?” And they complain about hard life without freedom and mention that they would like to emigrate to another country for a better life.
On the road from Tabriz to Rasht, hitchhiking in Iran

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Iran Journey 2015: Lake Urmia in Photographs

We get off the bus just before the bridge over the lake, and after saying goodbye to Sahlar and his friend, we walk down to the shores of Urmia. Then there’s just sadness. And silence. What we see is salt, mud, dead birds, garbage, truck tires, corroded boats… Some blame the climate change, others the growing demand for water in order for people to grow crops, some others blame the causeway that divided the lake into two parts resulting in the ecological catastrophe. But whatever the reason is, in reality, the lake’s fate is no different from Aral lake’s. From what we’ve learned, Armenia joined Iran in its efforts to revive Urmia by redirecting some of its water sources into the lake, but what we see leaves us hopeless. I think in the first place the remaining waters should be preserved so that the lake doesn’t dry out completely, and then only think of the ways of reviving it.
Read the full text about our visit to Lake Urmia || How to get to Lake Urmia from Tabriz

Corroded boat on the shores of the Lake Urmia, Iran

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Iran Journey 2015: How to get to Lake Urmia

Once the largest of the three lakes of the Armenian Highlands, the Lake Urmia today is facing the danger of completely drying out. Some blame the climate change, others the growing demand for water in order for people to grow crops, some others blame the causeway that divided the lake into two parts resulting in the ecological catastrophe.

Read the full text about our visit to Lake Urmia

How we got there:
Because it was our last day in Tabriz, we decided to take a bus instead of hitchhiking to the Lake Urmia. We left the city at 9:30 AM and in about 1,5-2 hours we got to the lake. We spent about 2 hours wandering on the shores of the lake, and managed to return back to Tabriz before it got dark, so we could explore the city. If you want to save time, then going there by bus is the best option. Besides, the bus is cheap and you’ll have a chance to talk to locals while on the road.
Information on how to get to the Lake Urmia in Iran

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Iran Journey 2015: A Trip to Lake Urmia

Read Nane’s version in Armenian

Saturday, November 14, 2015. We leave the house early in the morning and walk our way to the Mohaghgheghi street. The city is waking up to its everyday life. People are rushing to their jobs, students and pupils – to their schools, shop owners open their stores and get ready for a new day. The weather is sunny, the air is fresh. Today we are heading to the Lake Urmia, once the largest of the three lakes of the Armenian Highlands.

We decide to take a bus instead of hitchhiking. It’s our last day in Tabriz, so we want to explore the city in the afternoon, too. The bus departs from the terminal at 9:30 AM. In the bus, we get acquainted with two guys who speak a little English. They are “bus friends” as one of them, whose name is Sahlar, says. They travel together from Tabriz to Urmia and back by bus, and talk and discuss different topics on the way.
On the bus to the Lake Urmia in Iran

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Iran Journey 2015: The Village of Kandovan in Photographs

Despite the sunny weather, the air is very cold here. The slopes of the mount Sahand surrounding the village are covered with snow. “I imagined it bigger,” says Nane as if reading my mind. We wander around the village, take photographs, and observe the locals, passing by their souvenir shops with handmade bags, spices, herbs, magnets and other colorful items that attract strangers. I was hoping to see a small and quite village where we could spend time talking with people and exploring their daily life. Instead, we came across big groups of tourists walking up and down the muddy alleys. As we will learn later, most of the inhabitants live here only during the summer months, and only few families spend the snowy winters in the village because of cold.
Read the full text about our visit to Kandovan || How to get to Kandovan from Tabriz

The historical village of Kandovan, Iran

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