I forgot to take photos today so the only shots I have for this post are of camp. Sorry!
It was a relatively warm morning when we woke up. Certainly the bunker insulated us some, but we were still quite low down (comparatively) at less than 1300m. We were right out in the middle of steppe or plateau or a basin – I’m not sure exactly what it was but it was flat.
We didn’t rush off cycling this morning, shortest day of the year or not. We are breakfast leisurely and threw stones around camp for a while – we really were the only ones around for miles, except for the cars whizzing past.
We got going eventually and continued this long, almost unnoticeable climb. There was very little around us all day, a few farms and the occasional turn off that led to a town off in the distance but by and large we were cycling over undeveloped, unsettled land.
At lunch a rest stop emerged around a corner at just the right time and we pulled up to eat. It must have been the only place to get food for miles around as several coaches pulled up while we there disgorging loads of people out into the big hall eatery.
We continued apace after lunch, full bellies fuelling us all the way to Zajan, the next biggest town since leaving Miyaneh. We rode through the town, an exhilarating change of pace to the steady cadence we had been at all day. Cars swerved this way and that, clogging up and then dispersing pretty much at random it seemed. We didn’t go ten meters without someone yelling out ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ or even ‘I love you’.
We went to pick up supplies at the first supermarket we had seen since crossing the border. As well as groceries you could buy a motorbike or even a full sized Persian carpet. We were given a security guard to escort while shopping, although we didn’t really realise he had been assigned to us. We thought he was just being friendly. It wasn’t until he asked us as we stood outside after checkout ‘can I go now?’ that we sussed it.
Zanjan took a bit longer to get through than we allowed for and it was getting dark by the time we started to leave (shortest day of the year and all). We had certainly gained some altitude, it was much colder tonight than last night. We found a small field next to the road where a tree had kept the snow from the ground so we set up camp there.