We drive deeper into Iran and cross more deserts and Martian like landscapes.
A typical travelers breakfast in hostels and guesthouses in Iran consist of flat white bread (in many different forms!), cucmber and tomatoe, white cheese and some carrot jam. When you’re lucky, sometimes a boiled egg. Not quite a solid base for a +7 hour drive, but we have some snacks (biscuits, salt & vinegar chips and fruit) for on the way.
Driving on Friday
Traffic is less hectic today since it’s Friday, which can be compared to our Sunday. We drive through the desert, and despite what you might expect, the scenery never gets boring. We drive through hills, see grand mountains and wide plains. At gas stations we see families and pick ups with goat and sheep in the back. The rising full moon and the reflection of the last sunbeams on the mountains is a beautiful sight. Iranian sunsets never dissapoint.
Sunset also means car lighting. But not before it’s really dark. Otherways other drivers will kindly warn you, your lighting is on with blinding driving beams. Plus points if your car has crazy blue and red LED lights.
Yalda night in Dasht-e Khak
Arriving late in the small town Dasht-e Khak we still need to find Hamid’s homestay. Not having a phone we ask for help at a small store. A shopper knows Hamid, but I guess everyone knows each other here, and he leads us the way on his motor cycle with a plastic bag with mushrooms in his hand.
Hamid and his family warmly welcome us in their home. It’s Yalda night, a winter solstice celebration. Hamid cranks up the fireplace, where later the kebabs will be grilled on. First we enjoy sunflower seeds, pomegranate, sweet lemons and Havez poems. An uncle has a special little barbecue where he keeps glowing coals on for his opium pipe. No pictures please.
Finally, the kaluts
Nights are very cold in the Kerman region, so cold they have Robin wrapping himself up like an Eskimo. Crazy to think we are driving to the place we’re the hottest temperature ever was registered by NASA. 71 degrees Celsius to be exact. We are going to see the Kaluts in the Dasht-e-Lut desert. Thankfully it isn’t that hot this time of year. It’s even snowing in the mountains we drive through to get to the desert!
The drive is long (180 km) and we only stop for a short lunch break with some Gorme sahbzi in the city Kerman. The scenery is spectacular as always. When we get closer to the Kaluts the landscape suddenly changes. The sand in the desert isn’t like the fine sand we expect. It’s rock solid. We also don’t really know what to expect from the Kaluts, but when the appear in the distance we are blown away with the grandiosity.
Not only in the figurative speech actually. The wind is fierce, but that creates a mystic view of dancing sand storms between gigantic rock formations.
Christmas at the Caravanserai
Hamid calls us to warn us, that we can’t stay too long. We have a long drive back waiting for us and Hamid is worried about the snow in the mountains. We do have time for one more stop. An ancient abandoned caravanserai. A caravanserai was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day’s journey. A perfect location to snap our Christmas card.
On the way back, we stop once for some sweets and prefab iced cappuccino’s. Which to our surprise aren’t half bad (might be caused by the lack of coffee you get in Iran). The red rising full moon awes us once more. We thank our driver, and shake his hand.. at least Robin does. Sabina forgot the local customs and he refuses, whoops, how embarrassing.