King of kings

Shiraz/Neyriz/Kerman/Bam, sunny days with the occasional heavy downpour

Is it a bird? Next on our itinerary were Shiraz and the nearby world-famous, historical site of Persepolis. En route we passed the flying eagle rock and got soaked by extreme downpour. We sought and found shelter in a pilgrim’s inn (shed) behind the local mosque in a small town. Despite the leaking roof and scruffy surroundings we had an excellent sleep and woke up early the next morning.

Simply beautiful The bright morning sun illuminated our smiling faces when we turned our bike on the long driveway towards the royal city of Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes. Slowly the magnificent ruins filled our helmet visors. Whoooooow… we had just driven our bikes from Netherlands to Persepolis! Unlike Troje this site truly excited us. The foundation tablet welcomes us visitors as follows: “I am Xerxes, great king, king of kings, the king of all countries which speak all kinds of languages, the king of the entire big far-reaching earth.” One can easily imagine the Persian kings strolling up the royal stairs and through the gateway of all nations, especially the reliefs depicting the various nations bringing homage to their Persian rulers are exquisite. The nearby tombs of Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes are equally impressively decorated. Visiting all this splendor cost us 30.000 Rial: Less than 1 Euro in total….amazing!

Famous poet Hafez's tomb To be honest, Shiraz disappointed us. The atmosphere was considerably less welcoming than all previous cities in Iran. The hotel had cockroaches and Marlieke received some indecent proposals when not accompanied by me. The fort and bazaar were worth our short visit, but strangely the unexpected rejoinder with befriended travelers from Japan and France (see Yazd) were the highlight of our visit. Our stay was not a total waste, since I wisely also used some time to install extra loud horns on the bikes in preparation for Pakistan and India….. HOOOOONNNNNKKKKK.

Mehdi's family Leaving Shiraz felt liberating and this was enhanced by the nice winding lakeside road towards Kerman. We halted in Neyriz in search of a place to stay. The local guesthouse did not impress and while we were busy exploring alternative hostels a car stopped next to us and the driver asked if he could be of assistance. A long story short, we were welcomed into Medhi’s family house and met his devout mother, gentle father, engaging wife, his kind sister and shy little niece. After a splendid meal (Ghorme Sabzi) we exchanged stories and pictures. This stay was a sure winner compared to even the most luxurious hotels, we had a great evening. The next morning Mehdi even organized a short visit to the local mosque which originally served as a Zoroastrian temple. We were waved farewell by the whole family and continued our travels towards Kerman.

Where is Marlieke? Our visit there was relatively uneventful by design. We both needed a little rest and luxury to charge our batteries. Hence we took refuge in the fine Akhavan hotel. Extending our Iranian visas with a few days proved to be quite easy and we used the process waiting time to spend the night in the Kaluts desert. The starry night was superb only to be surpassed by the sight of the bright orange, rising sun the next morning.

Rooftop party for one Mentally recharged we started the relatively easy stretch towards Bam. Along the way, we paid a short visit to an important Dervish Tomb and the nearby palace gardens in Mahan, where we had a nice get-together with Beh Ro Ruz and his friend, who took up the opportunity to improve their English skills and learn more about the Netherlands. The planned hotel in Rayen was a bit of a disappointment but this was fully compensated by the adobe citadel we visited the next morning. Amazingly we had the whole place to ourselves. The lonely planet describes this site as mini Bam. Sadly the 2003 earthquake completely demolished the once world-renowned ancient mud brick city of Bam. In the wake of this catastrophe, the city is still suffering from increased crime rates and widespread drug abuse. In this light, the owner of Akbhar guesthouse, Bam, advised us not to leave the hotel unaccompanied during the evening. This level of concern/paranoia would turn out to be the main theme for our travels through Baluchistan province in southeastern Iran and southwestern Pakistan. In line with the general advice we hoped to team up with fellow eastbound overlanders in Bam. Sadly we appeared to be the only tourists in town.

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3 Responses to King of kings

  1. ahmad says:

    Hi my friends
    how are you?
    I am ahmad in shahzade garden in kerman city in iran.
    you take a photo of me and seyyed(give you a pen,do you remember?) and mahmood(you say mamoot a strong animol!).
    why you dont take our photo in your site?
    We are wait.

  2. Cecile says:

    Lieve Paul en Marlieke,
    Ik vind het geweldig hoe jullie verslag doen van jullie megareis. Ik lees jullie verhalen met veel plezier en vind de foto’s van de ‘andere’ wereld prachtig. Natuurlijk mis ik jullie, maar jullie blogs maken duidelijk waarom jullie aan dit avontuur zijn begonnen.
    Graag wensen wij jullie een voorspoedig vervolg van jullie reis toe. De allerbeste wensen voor 2013.
    Roel, Cecile en the kiddo’s.

  3. Ria says:

    geweldig, Paul en Marlieke weer met mensen zo ontvangen te worden. Maar wat ik me afvraag hoe gaat ‘t met de was? Ook in de rivier wassen, spoelen en drogen zoals in India? Maar Marlieke prachtig hoe je de combinatie hebt gevonden, of puur toeval, zoals de turquoise sjaal, sweater bij het prachtige dak (van een moskee?).
    Het is genieten van de foto’s die erbij geplaatst zijn, geniet van de natuur en de rest wat je voorgeschoteld krijgt.

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