Our plan was to ride first to the ski resort north of Tehran for a halfway break skiing in Shemshak and avoid going into Tehran until after this. Surprisingly wisely for us we decided to swing by the computer shop I went to last night so we could call up the resort. Just to make sure it was open, it had been clear and sunny since we left Tabriz and from where we were standing there didn’t look to be much snow on those mountains on the horizon.
When I retuned of the shop with Finn the guy that ran it was delighted to see us. He beckoned us over to his computer and pointed at the screen. “See!” He said “Ireland!” He had been looking up Ireland in Farsi on Wikipedia since I left.
It was lucky we called up the resort, nothing was open and so we had to abandon that plan and instead head straight for Tehran.
From Hastgerd we rode through countryside for bit less than an hour until we were in city. Karaj, a satellite city to Tehran I suppose, has pretty much merged with the capital so all day we were in city.
The riding was almost entity on freeways so the traffic wasn’t an issue until we started to get to the center of Tehran. On our way in we had a whole load of cars and pedestrians wave and say hello, one guy even bought us a an energy drink each while we were stopped looking at the map. We had a dude in a van pull over in the merging island on a busy expressway to chat to us.
We got into a center of Tehran, the city is so huge it takes ages to get anywhere even with the expressways. I guess there is a City Center but there’s also a bunch of neighbourhoods and districts that break the city up too. It was certainly the biggest city we had been to since Istanbul, though cycling into it had been a lot calmer and easier.
As with most cities in Iran and Asia in general all of one type of good or service were grouped on the same street. So you’d have cooking appliance street, electronic apparatus street etc. We found ourselves stopped at cafe street. We sat in one for some time mooching wifi trying to find somewhere to stay.
Given our change of plans we couldn’t stay with a host on Couchsurfing or Warm Showers right away, but we found a nice hostel, 7 Hostel, to crash at in the end. It was a surprisingly long day of cycling in the end so we wound up heading straight to bed wrecked.