To Armenia アルメニアへ
The first day of Armenia.

As always, it's exciting to cross a border because things, culture, language, religion etc, would be totally changed from the border. This country also have been on big conflicts with neighbors. Very curious about how people here are.

The border town, Agarak.
国境の街 アガラク

In Iran side, there were nothing. Only I could see was custom buildings but find some exchange box in front of the gate. There were not many trucks neither, so seemed they, Iran and Armenia, don't have strong relation.

I got a visa at the border, $10 for 21days. I didn't get checked any baggages so went through smoothly.
国境でビザ取得(21日有効 $10) 特に問題無し、荷物チェックもなく余裕の入国を果たしました。

At the custom, there was a bank, so I could exchange, $1=407Dr
イミグレには銀行もあって1ドル=407Dr 良いんだか悪いんだか。

In Armenia side, there were a hotel, 3000Dr/night. I had not used all of my budget for Iran so stayed there one night and prepare for a lot of climbing next few days.
アルメニア側はアガラクの街があってホテルも発見 1泊3000Dr。イランでかなりドルが余ったんで、久々のホテル泊を決め込み、翌日からの峠越えの日々に備えるとしました。

However, as I had same experience in central Asia, old soviet union, I got over charged at the hotel; I payed $7 for my lunch. I didn't complained because I was pretty tired. I tried to forget by drinking a bottle of beer.
ただやはり旧ソ連 さっそくぼったくられまして、ホテルの昼飯に7ドルも取られました。疲れてたんで何も言いませんでしたが。ただこの国はビールが売ってます。まず飲んでやりました。そして忘れる事にします。

Ready to go. Heading to Yerevan.
[2012/10/31 11:12 ] | Armenia | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
The last night of Iran, イラン最後の夜マドラサ
From Astara, a city where a border of Azerbaijan is, I went to north west to Armenia border. In this region, people speak different language, more Turkish language, so I couldn't understand at all.


The way from Caspian sea was going up crazy, 1500m up in 40km. However, cycling with seeing the autumn color mountain was pretty nice. It was Iranian holiday, Friday, when I cycled, so many people came to this area and were doing pick-nick.

After passing a pass, scenery became dry again. For me,I like green forest better.

It's getting more mountain near Armenia but better scenery and better bike ride. To be honest, the way from Caspian sea to the border of Armenia was the best part of my cycle in Iran because there were some points that made bike ride better "mountain", "less traffic" and" less wind".
アルメニア国境に近付くと山は段々と荒々しく美しくなり、走るのも楽しくなる。実際、カスピ海沿岸からアルメニア国境までの区間が「走る」という事からすればイランで一番楽しかった。やっぱり "Nice Bike Ride" の要素は、「山」「少交通量」「弱風」だな。

A day before crossing the border, I stayed at a high school in small village, Karavana. I've stayed local house, mosque etc, but this was my first experience to stay at school.

I was told "no photo" so couldn't take any photo of buildings. However, I found many interests. The funniest thing was how students use their body languages when they excuse teachers; Iranian more use a lot of body languages than other countries I've ever visited, so students were appeared funny to me..
写真はダメと言われて撮影はできなかったが、イランの高校生も日本と変わらず、ヤンチャで 先生にホースでぶたれたりしてました。でも面白かったのは、ボディランゲージを多用するイランでは先生に言い訳する生徒も 身体全身を使って言い訳するから、その動きが本当面白かった。これはイラン人のDNAなんでしょうね。

I had more interesting experiences here but leave for after going back to Japan.

Anyway, this was my last day of Iran. I haven't had any trouble in Iran so left only good memorry from here.
[2012/10/29 05:09 ] | Iran | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
To Caspian Sea カスピ海へ
3 days from Tehran, after long down hill, it's almost to Caspian Sea. The scenery also changed; more trees. Very nice to be in fresh aire forest.


I haven't seen nice forests like here since Kyrgizstan, so I was happy to be here.

Rice field.

Autumn colored mountain.

Fruits in fall.

Compare to the house inland of Iran, the houses in this region have their roof made from ceramic. Looked the house in Okinawa, Japan.

In Rasht, a major city by Caspian sea, Mr. Muhammad came see me from Esfahan. What an amazingly nice person Mr. Muhammad was. Why he does many kinds to me. We just met on the street in Esfahan couple weeks ago.
カスピ海手前のラシュトでは、エスファハンのムハンマド氏がわざわざエスファハンから会いに来てくれた。兄弟の息子が住んでるからという理由もあったようだが、たまたまエスファハンで会った自分に 何でここまでしてくれるのか。

This is not only experience for me. I heard many stories like this from other cyclists. According to Mrs Kolousani, she said people of Iran thought a tourist would be a gift from the god.

For people who have never been to Iran, they might have a bad perspective from media. However, reality is here. I felt this country was safer place to travel than the U.S and EU after cycling 7 weeks. Of cause, this is my perspective as a man. For women, this country is still difficult.

I left Mr. Muhammad once again in Rasht. He is now finding a way to live because he is getting out of his original job, gold shop. Hope he find a best choice.

Back to main topic, Caspian Sea. Finally, I reached to the sea.

There were many shales on a beach, and taste of it was also salty. This is just like ocean. I wish it was warmer so could swim.

Okay, this was the my last "Must See", so now I'm heading to Armenian border.
カスピ海を拝めたのでもうイランでやり残した事はない(つもりなだけ) ので一気に先へ進もうと思います。もう冬はすぐそこ、急げ急げ!目指すはアルメニア国境だ~
[2012/10/24 11:03 ] | Iran | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
世界最悪の交通量テヘラン, The worst traffic, Tehran
Time to leave Esfahan and Mr Muhammad. We've been hanging out since the first day of my stay in Esfahan, so it's pretty sad to say bye to him. This is one of things that I can avoid. Hope I see him again.


To Tehran, it took me 3 days. This part was one of the worst parts for my cycling. There were so many big trucks, so I needed having a mask that I haven't used since Jawa, Indonesia. Inside of Tehran was even worse; heavy traffic and pollution. This city was definitely the worst city in my life. Iranian drivers are driving unbelievably crazy. I was cycling with hoping my safety.

The reason I stopped in Tehran was to see my friend's family who had been taking care of my way. I wanted to say "Thank you" to them.

She is Mrs Kolousani. She helped me a lot. I took this photo in old palace of a king.

I couldn't see my friend's father because he was on his business trip.

At Persian carpet Museums

Went to an area for all bicycle shops. Seemed there were everything for bicycle; XTR, XT etc. This area was definitely the best place for getting what you need for your bike in my travel. Location is north of Tehran station, around Razi sq.
XTRから何から何まで自転車パーツが揃うテヘランのチャリ屋街、これまで見た中では最強の品揃え。テヘラン駅北の Razi sq 周辺。

Tehran was very westernized town, so it looked different from other towns where I've visited. Many people were speaking English and more liberal; many of them followed previous system of Iran, top was a king. I felt a big difference between center and outside what people think for their country. In here, more complain about politics.

In today, the U.S dollar is going up steeply in this country. Their life have been becoming more and more expensive. They have no idea why. I felt this might be caused by the U.S..
現在イランでは急速にドル高が進んでいる。この数ヶ月でかなり物価が上昇し、生活が苦しくなっているそうだ。自分的に、このドル高 アメリカが意図的に操作しているように思えて他ならない。

I heard that there were many demonstration in Tehran against government. Seemed change might come soon to this country.

It was a meaningful visit to Tehran since I could hear what people think about Iran. Now I will head to north.
[2012/10/16 10:58 ] | Iran | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
世界のオイル通過点ホルモズ, Hormoz where all oil for all over the world go through
The view from the window hadn't changed much since yesterday. At 7am, seemed we arrived to Bandar Abbas. Then I realized that we were very close to the ocean. It was very humid and hot so feeling awful. I started sweating in few minute.
朝起きても車窓は全く同じ砂漠世界。海に近付いてるなんて全くわからない。7時 どうやらバンダラアッバースに到着。外に出てやっと別の場所に来たのがわかった。塩の香りと不快な湿気、何もしてないのに汗が吹き出して来る。ホルモズは近いようだ。

Finally, I came to Hormoz channel. There were many ships anchored. Another side of channel is Oman and UAE.
そしてついに来ましたホルモズ海峡。タンカーやコンテナ船が沢山停泊してて大きな貿易港という事がわかる。すぐの対岸はオマーンやUAE 。

In a fish market, there were many variety of fish.

People in this area is called "Bandary" they speak different Farsi and are looking different like more Indian or Africans. Women wearing colored chador and black or red masks. This is like a different country.

Moved to Qeshim.

This island has mangrove forests. The conprex view of desert and mangrove forests was pritty unique.

A friend of Muhammad, Mohamed. They took me to this forests.

A beach with oil station. The water was pretty clear.

Sun setting Hormoz ホルモズに沈む夕日。

Creepy Shrek at a bazar, バザールで見かけた気持ち悪いシュレック。

According to Mohamed, there were many merchandizes directory come to Iran before economic barricade by the U.S. Now all goods come via Dubai. I think trading business in Dubai correct quite money. I saw many goods from china and India in bazar.

Anyway, this is all about my stay in Hormoz. It was great experience being in awful humid and heat.
[2012/10/11 10:51 ] | Iran | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
To Bandar Abbas バンダルアッバースへ
My stay of Iran will reach to one month soon. I don't think I can visit many tourist distinctions even if I can extend my visa. I wanted to see around Esfahan more but decided to visit another place where I wanted to visit first.


Mostly tourists visit Shiraz, but I chose different. A city I wanted to visit was Bandar Abbas, a big port city in Hormoz channel, between Oman sea and Persian sea. Why I wanted to go there.

A reason is here. When I was cycling in central Asia, I saw many Japanese cars and goods. I was wondering where these came from. Then I saw many trucks with iranian numbers carrying Toyota cars run on roads in Turkmenistan. I asked a truck driver where he was driving from. Then I found this name, Bandar Abbas.
中央アジアを走ってる時、日本車や日本メーカーの電化製品を良く見かけて、ずーーとこいつらは何処から来るのか不思議で仕方なかった。中国かロシア? 空輸なんてありえないし。。。そんな時、トルクメニスタンに入ってから日本車を積んだイランナンバーのトラックをバンバン見るようになってピンッと来た。イランに入ってから運ちゃんを捕まえて「主はどこから来たのだ?」と聞いてみると、イランのバンダラアッバースなる場所が浮かび上がった。

I checked a map and found this place in Persian sea. Also, the name of Hormz channel sounds familiar for me because this name had been appeared over the conversation between the U.S and Iran before. This place became very curious to me.
地図で見てみるとペルシャ湾が狭くなるホルモズ海峡なる場所にあるではないか。この場所、つい最近アメリカとイランの対話の中に出て来た場所でもあり、世界中の石油が往来する いわば世界一重要な海峡じゃ あ~りませんか。そんな場所 この目で見なくてはなりません。

I left my bike in Muhammad's home and took a train. It would be 15 hours trip. Somehow, Muhammad came with me; I think he was just board staying home. He had a friend in Qeshm island, and we stay there.
という経緯で、自転車はムハンマド氏の家に残して 電車で向かう事にしました。片道15時間の長旅です。そして何故かムハンマド氏も一緒に来る事に。どうやら友人がゲシュム島というホルモズ海峡にある島にいるらしく、そこで自分もご厄介になる事にしました。

Esfahan railway station, エスファハン駅

Iranian train. Look like Amtrak.

It goes 15 hours trip. People in same coach. Iranian like talking.
寝台特急 15時間の長旅。同室のイラン人達。会話が止まらない。イラン人は喋り好き。

Drink, snacks and water service, 駅弁? 中身はジュースとスナック ミネラルウォーター付き

Dining car, 食堂車

One way ticket cost me only about $8. Now, Japanese yen is very strong against dollars, so even for us, Iran is very cheep place to travel.
この内容で片道約8ドルなんて破格 この前書いたが、今イランではかなりのドル高が進んでるから、円高の今 イランは超破格な国

I like train because I can walk around and nice to see the view from the window.

To be continued, 続く
[2012/10/09 10:42 ] | Iran | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
Esfahan, エスファハン
Took me 4days from Yazd to Esfahan.

In the town I stopped on the way to Esfahan, Naein, there were an oldest mosque of Iran. The bazar and old zoroastrian temple in this town was also really nice.
途中寄った街、Naeinにあったイラン最古らしいモスク。この街に残るバザール 店はもうあまり入ってないが、良い感じだった。ゾロアスターの城跡も残ってて、かつては大きな街だったんでしょう。


I was supposed to stay at a person that my friend of the U.S. from Iran introduced me advance. She was really beautiful Iranian girl. However, unfortunately, her roommate went somewhere with a key for their room. We couldn't get inside. I waited for awhile outside. Then I met a nice guy, Muhammad, who lives in Esfahan. He asked me to stay his home. He was not suspicious looking so I trusted him. During my stay in Esfahan, I stay in his home.

I couldn't stay at beautiful girl; Iranian girl is very beautiful. However, in a coincidence, I could meet Muhammad. He was really welcoming and took care of me a lot.


He owns a jewelry shop in Esfahan, but it has been closed for some reason.

A photo in a mountain park with Muhammad.

What made a famous this city is Emam square and a big bazar spreading all over from city center.


A big and beautiful mosque, Emam Mosque. Blue tile on the roof was just amazing.


Music room of Ali Ghapu was also nice; a lot of details.


The bazar was spreading all over like spider waves. It will take a day if I want to see all of it. Bazar of Iran is the best place to enjoy Iran because you see the life of here; people making Persian carpets, pans and etc...

[2012/10/07 06:19 ] | Iran | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
Yazd, ヤスド
The old city in Yazd is the oldest city in the world. It's fun to walk around this area because many small streets come out from main streets like capillary vessels.

Old city, 旧市街

Bazar, バザール

Zoroastrian place for sky burial, ゾロアスター教の鳥葬が行われていた場所

A Zoroastrian fire that has never been gone for 1500 years, 1500年間絶えた事がないというゾロアスターの火

My guest house was old traditional Iranian house about 200 years old. It had a big and nice center open space where people can relax. This space was really good place to meet interesting people so I enjoyed.
しかも今泊まっている宿 Kohan Hotel は200年前の家をそのまま使っていて、砂漠地方独特の中庭がかなり良い雰囲気。中庭はイラン人や欧米人旅人と仲良くなる良い場所で、すごく楽しい時間を過ごせた。


This guest house was the best spot to take a long stop, but I decided to move after 3 nights because I have more place to visit on my way...

This guest house cost me only 100,000R including break fast about $4, and I could have a big meal in $2.

However, I realized that they had a serious inflation problem agains dollars. The price was 1.5times as much as I exchanged in Mashhad. Then just when i started talking about it with people, there was a big protest in Teheran. In the next day, exchange had been stopped. It might start to become a big problems.
ただ、ここ数週間 異常なドル高が進んでいて、ヤスドに着いた時点で$1=35000リアル。2週間前より1.5倍も跳ね上がってる。こりゃ大変な事が起こってそうだと思ってた矢先、昨日テヘランでデモがあったらしい。両替もストップしてるし、この先どうなるんでしょ。

I still have enough Iranian money so keep moving.
[2012/10/04 05:55 ] | Iran | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
1 year anniversary, 出発から1周年
Today is my 1 year anniversary since I started cycling. I think a lot about myself, my friends and my family recently.

[2012/10/01 22:45 ] | Iran | Comments:(0) | Trackbacks:(0) | page top↑
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