December 06, 2005 GMT
Iran - The North

It is well known that Iran is a nation of terrorists and fanatics, thus we approached these madmen with great caution. Of course we would be perceived as aliens, something that easily could trigger their suspicious minds. But surprisingly the Iranians already knew many facts about Norway. Among other things they knew that we live in igloos, that the average summer temperature is minus 100C, and that only a third of our children grow up due to the many polar bears roaming around the playgrounds.

The Iranians knowledge about Norway would later be explained. A visit to the library at Tehran University revealed that they are in position of Aron I. Gurevich’s classic from 1977: “Norway – Social Conditions”. It might be interesting to know the book was found in the same section as two copies of Phillip J. Klass’ “UFO’s Explained”. So make no mistake about it; the Iranians are occupied with more issues than most westerners think, thus revealing that it is us who are the narrow-minded ones. It is a typical case of “never been there, so we have to believe the western press which frankly cannot afford to loose readers and advertisement income by publishing boring reports”. At the border we were pushed to the front of every stamping queue. “Welcome to Iran, have fun”, they said. First night stop was in Maku. We asked for a room for two. No problem. No questions asked.

Morvarid Hotel in Tabriz: Ernie (58) has bicycled from England and need a cup of tea before continuing his solo ride to China. Visit him at:

Another surprise was the road conditions. They are excellent. Even secondary roads are paved, and potholes are rare. The domestically manufactured Peykan’s (which is molded from ancient British Hillman machinery) is everywhere, and often you find a curious car driver rubbing his fender against your side boxes. Despite the road anarchy the traffic is flowing very well. You just have to flow with it. Three days were spent in Tabriz, and another two in Gazvin. We became customized with the grave gawking from locals, and the occasional pinch in my female passengers behind. However, these experiences were merely annoying, not really threatening, and the overall impression was that we were safer in Iran than in eastern Turkey.

The traffic in Tehran offers a lot of exitement, and it takes hours of your full attention getting in and out of town. Be ready for everything!!!

Posted by Erik Saue at December 06, 2005 01:07 PM GMT

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