LOG ENTRY: 8
Odometer: 3575 km - 3938 km
A day of disappointments on both side of the border with shady exchange rates, four hours at the border and an Iranian visa limitation but arrived to Tabriz for dinner.
As we are checking out from the hotel they told us that the room rate was increased since last night. We were like, yeah right but couldn’t argue with the unfriendly and quite hostile receptionist. We decided that the hassle doesn’t worth the time we are wasting and after all he had our passports. After paying we headed to the border crossing.
Surprisingly he was very efficient and gets us through faster than we expected for 10 USD.
The Iranian side was a bit less chaotic but still crowded. We had no problem with the passport control, got our stamps sorted pretty easily. We have applied for the Iranian visa months ago in Vienna so we really didn’t expect problems with that. Our only concerns were the bikes.
Before we left Hungary we went to the National Automobile Association and informed them about our trip. Exact itinerary, times, countries you name it. We wanted to make sure that all our paper works are sorted before we leave Budapest.
When we entered Turkey the custom officers asked about some papers, some custom declaration which we must have to enter but they quickly looked over the fact that we don’t have it. We didn’t pay much attention to it until entering Iran.
As we got cleared of immigration we exchanged dollars to rial, the Iranian currency. Not as we really wanted but exchanging money can be difficult here and the custom officers told us that we must get rials before leaving the border. So we did, 100 USD for 300,000 rials.
Next step is the custom clearance. This wasn’t as easy as the immigration. They have asked us to produce some sort of custom declaration again, just as they did ask when we entered Turkey. We showed them all the papers what the FIA NAA in Hungary gave us but there was some other paper they really wanted to see.
Since we didn’t have that paper we ended up staying for the next 4 hours at the custom office and we had to pay 200 dollars. As we couldn’t show them the paper they wanted, they also took our passports, re-stamped it. Our 30 days single entry visa has been changed to an 8 days single entry.
Damn it, what a blow. Of course we had to pay an extra 20 dollars for the re-stamping and extra 5000 rials for the tea we drank in the office.
I never seen Dad smoking before but today he did. Oh well, we better get used to this.
I love all sorts of vehicles; let it be train, airplane, cars or trucks if it’s moving I like it. The first thing I noticed on the Iranian roads are the old but very well kept Mercedes semi trailers, the old ones with the elongated nose. I really enjoy overtaking them as this model was one of my favorite from the old Nat Geo African documentaries.
Late afternoon we reached Tabriz but decided to camp outside of the city as some truck driver told us that we can find very nice campsites outside of the city which we did. It was even free with many locals staying there in tents.
What surprised me after the first bad impression at the border is that Iranian people are very friendly. Someone is waving at us from every second car and whenever we stopped for gas or just for a rest, truck drivers came to us and offered some fresh fruits or water. Just like the Turkish, they seem to love Hungarians and surprisingly all of them can relate something to Hungary.
The campsite as I said was very decent and it turned out to be free. I suspect it was a public park with toilets and shower facility but we asked and not one or two locals said that we can camp here as they do the same too. Surprisingly there was a shop selling beers as well which we quickly bought some, wrapped them in paper –so no one can see we are having alcoholic drinks- and found a nice spot to drink them. Funny enough we ended up buying the most expensive alcohol free beers. Oh well, looking forward for the next one week in Iran.