DAY TWENTY… 16.5 miles (26.5 km)

Morning time and tea with the proprietor. The price is decided very slowly over some discussions about the state of the Rial and Dollar (Iranian currency is Rial and Toman). It turns out to be €15. The old proprietor, obviously very much in charge, eyeing me up, offers me a cup of tea throwing the contents of the used cup first, over his wife, to make it empty for me!!

The wife, obviously long suffering and with very swollen legs, gives me a very loving embrace goodbye, with kisses too. Everyone here is offering kindness from the heart.

Last night, at the camp spot, people kept bringing us food. Each time I looked the pile got higher. We even got offered two freshly cooked corn on the cob, just as we’d finished a handsome trout for lunch. Just to mention, the unfortunate fish is captured from its meagre pool, then left to die in the family sink rather than quickly despatched. I did not notice this until I was sitting beside the sink and watched two further fish flap their way into non existence. It put me off eating fish for life (but I did manage another one for supper).

Beautiful morning ride. Pomegranate orchards abound.
Quiet country lane

The initial morning cycle ride was beautiful as always, but when we drew near to Tabriz, we had to join the main motorway from Turkey to Tabriz (and Tehran). This route into Tabriz was one of the most horrible yet. Miles and miles on motorway, a M25 type ring road, with searing heat from the sun above and tarmac below. Lorries thundering past us. All I wanted was to immerse myself in cool water and die quietly. Eventually, after much deliberations and Tim questioning the route with Ali…. “of course, we should go on the motorway. It is the most direct route”…. that’s Ali’s perspective… we finally arrived at our hotel in Tabriz. That was the end of our cycling for now.

Riding the Tabriz M25
Our final cycle destination, with all the comforts of a mini-apartment