It was a quick, hot ride from Kashan to Isfahan. Dug my ‘Hyperkewl’ cooling vest out of the lower regions of my panniers and what a difference it made (not sponsored yet, but I am ready to start negotiations)! In the dry desert climate these vests make a huge difference to how you feel under your heavy riding jackets. I used them in Southeast Asia before and didn’t find them too effective there, but in a desert climate it’s a must have.
It was my fourth arrival in this mythical city. In 1993 I came here for the first time with my friend Armin Hermann in an old Hanomag 4 wheel-drive truck on our way to Nepal and I was immediately hooked. It all looked and felt like straight out of a fairy tale or the “Medicus”.
Sure, it changed -shopping malls, expressways, major subway construction in progress and lot’s more Iranian tourists, but the old magic places are untouched. Imam Square, Si o Seh Bridge, the Bazar and magnificent Jame Abbasi Mosque are still there in all its glory. The only change I noticed –and it was a bit of a shocker, is that there is no more water in the Zayandeh river, which was the reason to build all the great bridges in the first place.
I got myself a neat little apartment in the city centre and enjoyed shopping and cooking all the yummy stuff they sell here at prices that would get you jailed for price-dumping pretty much everywhere else. Fresh olives, pistachios, dates, figs, cheese, hot bread, honey, fruits I never saw before and all the incredible pastry, pretty much kept me out of restaurants for the whole time I was here –and totally eliminated my need for a belt on my riding trousers, great!
Out of the comfort zone it is again tomorrow – heading straight for the next one.