We got going at a reasonable enough time given that we had to haul ourselves out of a comfortable bed and out into the cold to start cycling uphill again.
Leaving Germi was easy enough, a small kick that brought us out cycling along flat plateau land for a bit. We started climbing gradually and would end up climbing most of the day. It was a ride up to about 1800m, but gradual enough so really very enjoyable for the most part.
There was very little built up around the road, it was entirely a solitary road cutting up over the mountains. We passed one petrol station but otherwise we were surrounded by the long stretched hills that bunches up into peaks on the horizon.
We had a couple of very friendly greetings by locals. More than once a car would pass us by and then the pull in ahead of us and the whole family would get out and form an impromptu welcoming party with one of the kids acting as translator. Our first encounter like this had us greeting farther, daughter and grandfather and ended with them handing over a loaf of bread saying ‘this is our bread. We love it.’
For lunch we pulled just off the road and ate some food we had brought from Germi. Dozed off in the grass for a bit and woke up just in time for Nima’s older brother from yesterday to pull up and say hi. He was driving to the next city over (Ardabil) and then onto Tabriz.
Two more hours of climbing up to the summit followed. We climbed up to snow cover hills right next to us and white peaks very close by now. Another greeting party pulled up as we reached the top and after another incredibly friendly greeting and welcome to Iran from them we were offered hot tea from a thermos. Fantastic, we were quite frozen from the climb by the snow in the wind, a very fortunate encounter very much appreciated. Thanks Iran!
Afterwards though we were rewarded with a peaceful and drawn out descent for 25km to Razi, with the snow catching the evening light and some really impressive mountains off to the west. We sped through Razi, the biggest town since Germi, stopping only long enough to pick up supplies.
Found camping in a low field next to the road where some trees had caught the snow and left a clearing on the ground for us to set up the tarp. It was pretty cold that night but the big winter sleeping bags we picked up in Istanbul worked wonders.