DAY SIX… 42.5 miles (68 km)

Luckily no rain this morning as we set off on a 28km downhill ride from Abyaneh to yesterday’s lunch stop. Dogs were there again, in a different place, but we rode through as a group, yelling at them and although one gave chase, it gave up with more yelling.

Morning view of Abyaneh
Damp autumnal downhill ride from Abyaneh

At yesterday’s lunch stop, we stopped for tea and to warm up before setting off to Natanz. We ended up driving the last few kms into Natanz due to more rain and spent a little time seeing the very ancient mosque (closed) and the forlorn remains of a Zoroastrian fire temple.

Jameh Mosque (1304), next to an ancient tree

We cycled out of Natanz and then hit heavy rain so back into the van again, and drove to a lunch spot… a children’s play area where we found table, chairs, sink for washing up and a toilet.

We had just resumed cycling again after lunch when heavy rain hit us again and we had to get back into the van. We were cold and wet and spirits began to ebb. However, the weather cleared as we got closer to Esfahan and it gave us a chance to cycle a memorable descent, with mountain backdrop, across desert, to the outskirts of Esfahan.

Late afternoon ride across the desert

Back into the van for one hell of a thunderstorm with huge hailstones, the highway turning into a river and cars sheltering under bridges from the bombardment of the hailstones. Then safely into our hotel; modern, comfortable, expensive looking and close to the beautiful Naqsh-e Jahan Square.

For supper we ventured out to a ‘traditional restaurant’ in the Square. Everything looked very magical with horses trotting round with little carriages and tinkling bells. Everyone was swept up in amazement and their first sight of the lovely Square.

Many short rides, interrupted by heavy, cold, miserable rain