If you think you can rely on the time tables given by the Iranian ferry company to Dubai, you’re wrong! The time table you find on the internet is just indicative and depends on the weather, the season, the number of tickets sold, the faith and mood of the captain, ying/yang and a sniff of Chamber of Commerce… Long story short; the next ferry to Dubai will take off next week instead of tomorrow?. So we had to go for plan B, which meant to cancel our hotel, jump on our bikes a.s.a.p. and try to catch the bus of 12.00h to Bandar Abbas about 180km from Bandar Lengeh. We were just in time, covered in sweat (36°C and 80% humidity…) and the bus left only around 13.00h?
It will take us 3 hours, plenty of time to write this post and reflect on our trip so far. It’s unbelievable how fast time flies when you’re biking and we never had a dull moment.
Ronald: “One of my sisters asked me how I experience life without a busy agenda and long working days and what this does to me. The answer I provided surprised myself a little: I don’t miss anything or anybody because we’re that busy and overwhelmed from nature, different cultures, meeting a huge amount of local people, seeking for food and drinks and finding camping spots or other places to sleep. We don’t watch tv, have a poor access to internet and live by the day, which gives a great feeling of freedom and makes life indeed natural and simple. A nice example was our host the day before yesterday. When we entered Bastak, we should meet with a guy who invited us at his home. He said he would wait for us at the entrance of the village but we couldn’t find him. Then we asked for a hotel at the corner of the next street and were immediately invited by Aziz, to stay in his house: problem solved.”
Maurice: “For me the real journey started once we left Vienna towards the Balkan Peninsula. In the 3 weeks before, our ‘holiday’ as we named them, I was more focused on getting into shape and get my body used to the extra weight on the bike.
After Austria we managed to bike through 8 countries in less than 3 weeks, leaving quite some impressions behind. The Austrian hunters in Slovenia and Kiro in Bulgaria are definitely on the short list.
Concerning the landscape, there was a lot of variety from green forests to dry corn fields. This is something we miss out ever since we left the Black Sea coast in Turkey. Now there were also a few things that surprised me about the balkans.
From Slovakia up until Turkey you are better off knowing the German language than the English. The differences, in terms of economy but also culture and people, you experience when crossing the borders are far greater than initially expected.
About Turkey I was pleasantly surprised. The country is full with nice and interested people, the food is great and for the sportive cyclist a dream.
Iran is a country that I cannot compare to any other country I have visited so far. The hospitable mindset of the people is unheard of. Although having read several blogs about cyclists in Iran, who have been invited by families, it is different and a little overwhelming experiencing all of this at first hand. As Ronald mentioned, during the day we are focused on the essential needs of finding food and shelter. This paired with all the situations we get ourselves into ensures that we never have a dull moment.
All I can say, is that I am extremely grateful to have the privilege of experiencing all of this!!”
So now we’re heading to Bandar Abbas trying to get tickets for the ferry to Dubai for tomorrow evening. Curious how that’s going to turn out.
We arrived in Bandar Abbas on time and asked for the right port of embarkation (Bandar Abbas is a huge harbor city with 6 different harbors). Nobody knew anything about a ship to Dubai; this was promising….
Finally we found a guard who wrote the name of the ticket office in Farsi and it was no surprise at all to us that the ticket office for the ferry is downtown and not in the harbor area. Sounds logical, right??
Maurice saw the shipping agency first, went into the building and came back with two tickets to Dubai!! We even saved a lot of Rials and were rich again. Just to clarify; in Iran you can’t get any money out of an ATM with European cards. So you must take all the money, you suppose to spend, with you in cash.
Then when you pass the border you change your € or $ into Rials. Be aware of the exchange rates and ask at least 40.000,- Rial for €1,-. You become a millionaire right away?… It also means that you must stick to your daily budget, because you can’t get any extra money!
Another phenomenal issue is the confusing Toman. The toman (from Mongolian tümen “unit of ten thousand”, is a superunit of the official currency of Iran, the rial. It was divided into 10,000 dinar. In 1825, the qiran was introduced, worth 1000 dinar or one tenth of a toman. In 1932, the rial replaced the toman at a rate of 1 toman = 10 rials (i.e., 1 rial = 1 qiran). Although the rial is the official currency of Iran, Iranians employ the term ‘toman’, meaning 10 rials. This means that when you ask for the price of something, the seller can say, for instance 6, 6.000 or 60.000. It all means you have to pay 60.000 rials, the official currency…
Today we have a relaxing day in our nice hotel, waiting for the embarkation at 18.00h. The ferry should weigh the anchor at 21.00h and than we can say a last emotional Khoda Hafez to Iran, a country you will never forget…