Riding to the Iranian border was quite unpleasant – wet and cold but, of course, we naively hoped that it will all change after crossing – we will enter the hotness of Iranian deserts and will throw off all our warm clothes. Iran – the Middle East – always seemed connected with the Sun (always shining on TV), vast desert-ish lands and camel caravans crossing them. Besides, it is the beginning of the New Year – one day before our entering the year 1394 had started in this country. According to Persian calendar, the new year starts on the day of spring equinox, and usually the weather is pleasant in these days.
Warning sign on the Armenian side – on 8th May 2004 a man was arrested here for crossing the border illegally
Iranian visas in our pockets and our bikes screaming to get back on the road, we left Yerevan late in the afternoon (some time after 4 p.m.) on 15th March. Obviously our time management could have been a little bita lot better, but by the time we had organized all the little bits and bobs and said goodbyes it was somehow already late. Since we had set this as our absolute last leaving date (we wanted to make it in time for the Nowruz celebrations in Iran) we stuck to the plan and were hoping to cycle the flat distance till just before the first big uphill.
As usual, unexpected events occur along the way and we found ourselves some 20 or so km outside of Yerevan city border joining an Armenian picnic which mainly consisted of crispy lavash, freshly grilled fish and a lot of vodka. After a few toasts on Janapar (journey in Armenian), good health and happiness we managed to excuse ourselves, saying we still have some distance we planned to cover.
We had decided to go to Armenia without any expectations (not to repeat the same mistakes we’d made when entering Georgia) – no premature opinions, not expecting anything really, we would wait for Armenia to show its colours itself. This turned out to be the best decision we could have made.