See pictures below!
This article is for all the other travellers and friends I met on the long way to the Iranian desert and of course for all other readers worldwide. My English is maybe not good enough for writing a book, but enough for a blog entry 😉
I reached the small desert village Varzaneh three days ago and just in time. The temperature dropped down below 10 degrees within hours and yesterday it was cloudy and rainy – that’s really special because there are only 3 days of rain per year! And there was a strong wind from the east with more than 45km/h, and everything which was not attached flew away.
But today, the weather is much better. The wind is still really cold and blowing from the east, but with maybe just 10km/h. So I decide to pack all the stuff and continue my journey to the Desert Town Yazd, which is a little bit more than 200 kilometres away. Between is nothing, just desert! But a two days of a camel ride away (that’s 60 kilometres), there is an abandoned caravansary named “Khargoosi” and this is the place where I would like to spend the night. So first of all, I need food and water – a lot of water because you never know what can happen so far away from every civilization. I say goodbye to my friend Mohammad wherein I spent three days and heading first to the local shop for all the stuff. Chocolate (my bicycle) is maybe nearly 70 kilograms after shopping there, but now I have enough food, water and homemade bread from Mohammad’s mother to stay for a long time in the desert. The first 10 kilometres are relatively easy, and my computer is showing an average speed of 21km/h, which is very good because I have some headwind which is pushing me back to the village. But I left the village too late and now the wind is getting stronger and stronger.
After another 10 kilometres my average speed is just 15km/h, and the street is going slightly uphill. The landscape is absolutely breath-taking! All I can see are thousands of small bushes and sand until to the horizon. On the right side are endless Sandhill’s and the bright sunlight is showing all of them in different types of red and yellow. I didn’t knew that there are so many different red and yellow colours in the world, but the nature is sometime the best teacher!
It’s almost 4pm when the wind is getting that strong, that I can only cycle a little bit more than 10km/h. Why to the hell is the desert that beautiful and that tough at the same time?? But there is nobody to answer this question. I’m driving on a tiny small road with less than one car per hour, and no houses everywhere. The only thing I can feel everywhere is the silence and peace – and of course the strong headwind..
After 45 kilometres the asphalted road is turning in to a sandy path with a lot of gravels on both side and I’m very happy to have thick tires on my bicycle. Sometimes the tires are going deep in to the sand and I have to push the bicycle for getting forward. But at least the path isn’t the worst one I’ve ever cycled and I know that the caravansary isn’t far away now.
I can see how the sun is kissing the mountains, and the bushes and hills around me are shining more and more in different red colours. The view is that amazing that I have finally to stop for making pictures and videos. If you’ve ever seen a Winnetou-Movie, you will maybe know what I mean. But the dark and clear night is coming really fast in the desert and I know that I have to pushing further for reaching the caravansary before the completely darkness. I reach a road cross – the last road cross for a long time – and I have to choose between a stone mine or the caravansary. The stone mine is still in operation and it should be possible to find water, food and of course some humans there. But in the caravansary is nothing, expect some birds, beetles, jackals and if I’m unlucky some wolfs. After a short water and food check I decide to go left – the way to the caravansary.
And then, after 20 minutes of cycling I can see it in the front of me. Standing strong and proud likes the Chinese wall in the middle of nowhere – The Khargoosi Caravansary! She gave a secure and warm sleeping place to countless of travellers, traders, camels, wanderers, thieves and smugglers. All of them left the place a few hundred years ago, but she’s still standing strong in the sunset every evening. And now, finally a traveller is looking for her protection – maybe the first European traveller since a few years!
I enter the huge building through the main entrance on the northeast side and drive directly to the big square in the middle which has a water fountain and a place for feeding the camels. Of course all of them ruined and out of order. Around this place are 20 small rooms for sleeping and on every side is one big entry to the backrooms. All small rooms are more or less in a very good condition, but the backrooms are full of stones from the roof and walls. There are also a lot of stones in the middle of the building and a renovation would require a few years or so. But the feeling in the middle of this historical building is amazing! Around me is history – the history of the Silk Road. The network of more than 1000 caravansary’s like this, from turkey to china. The road from the east to the west and back. And at least also the way from Marco Polo!
The wind is still blowing strong from the east and because of this I choose one of the small rooms on the northeast part of the building. Inside the rooms are the temperature at around 23 degrees and I put a tarp in the front of the entrance for storing the warmth. I don’t want to sleep directly on the ground because of all the beetles and other small animals and so I pitch up the tent. The room is exactly the same size like my tent and I use every single centimetre of it.
It’s already dark when I finished with pitch up the tent and cooking, and above the old mud bricks from the caravansary are shining millions of stars. This is a good way to end a day like this, and I use the old stone stairs for getting on top of the caravansary. With a little bit of Jack Johnson in the background and without any single clouds or other lights (the next village is more than 25 kilometres away) I enjoy the endless freedom with the stars and the milky way in the nowhere of the Iranian desert. To be honest, my life is at the moment absolutely perfect, but there are still some secret wishes and tonight I see more shooting stars that I have wishes. Hopefully I can save some for the cloudy days 😉 After turn off the iPod I can hear it – the absolutely silence of the desert. A place where your mind is free and you can easily listen to your dreams.
There are hundreds of good reasons for choosing a bicycle for a world trip, but this night is probably the best reason!
With some last stars in my mind I wake up in the early morning. The noise of a car is disturbing the silence and out of my room I can hear some peoples walking around. It’s definitely over with my own caravansary and the tourism is back on a place which is much better without organised tour groups, stinky and noisy cars, clicking cameras, tons of garbage and tour guides which are showing peoples from all over the world the “real” desert.
My stay in the caravansary will be unforgettable and with all this good memories in my mind, I pack my stuff and heading out in to the desert. Because there are still 999 other caravansary’s!!