DAY TEN… 49.5 miles (79 km)

Thankfully the ride today was easy; downhill with the wind behind us for much of the way and only one easy climb of 400 metres. We did have good weather, sunny skies and amazing, wonderful views of the mountains. 50 miles just whizzed by.

Climbing the one hill of the day, in full sun
Life on the hard shoulder. Riding down to Shiraz.

We stopped for a break by some old men selling walnuts and honey. One beautiful old man said something to me in Farsi, which meant; “You are my sister, what can I give you?”, so amazingly kind. The generosity and kindness and welcome that we receive here is absolutely unmatched. He gave me a piece of very dried crumbly cheese? I tried chewing it… No…biting it…No… so I sucked it, like a boiled sweet, but even that was unsuccessful. I learnt later it was the highly prized Kashk (dried whey) which is used in the aubergine dish (kashke bademjan).

The big heart of welcome in Iran

We passed vineyards, the vines not trained, more like heaps. The grapes, sweet as sugar.

We passed caged goats waiting slaughter, next to their friends already skinned and hung.

Drive-by butcher. Freshly killed goat for sale.

We passed hundreds of colourful water towers, clustered on the sides of hills, men selling sweet grapes, huge piles of apples, sultanas.

Now 9.50pm…. we are in our hotel in Shiraz. It’s a modern hotel, but modelled on the traditional style, with three tiers of rooms clustered around an open courtyard to the stars.