Sunrise in the desert
We learned from our mistake yesterday: We got up as early as possible to avoid the strong desert winds in the afternoon as much as possible. So I got up at 5:15. It was still complete night at our campsite and temperatures have dropped close to the freezing point, and the stars looked wonderful. No light pollution and a clear view to the Milky Way. And the complete silence in the desert was amazing, I cannot remember last time I had that much silence.
Starting the ride
After a short breakfast we started cycling at 6:45 with the first sunrays. It was a beautiful atmosphere. And we had tail wind. We reached Varzaneh, the original goal of yesterday’s ride, after 20 km within less than an hour. Yesterday it would have taken us more than 2 hours in the strong wind.
After restocking our supplies in Varzaneh, we continued taking advantage of the soft tail wind and reached at lunch time already Ziar, a village 25 km away from Isfahan. The whole valley since Varzaneh was very green because the water channeling system allowed farmers to water their fields, even though it was still in a desert-like area.
Entering Esfahan in sand storm
After a long lunch break in a public park in Ziar, we continued with the remaining 25 km until Esfahan in still beautiful weather. However, 15 km before reaching the city, a huge storm formed within a few minutes covering the whole city in dust. From far away it looked like a big thunderstorm, but it turned out that it was a sand storm. That was quite unpleasant, especially on the bike, where you get sand in your eyes, mouth, etc. After fighting a few minutes against the storm, we decided to take a break in a burger place. One hour later, everything was over and the sky was blue again. In order to protect my photographic equipment, there are no pictures of the sand storm unfortunately, but it was quite impressive.
Local family dinner
We had dinner and spent the night again at a local family. It was a family that we met on day 3 on our route from Shiraz to Seydan under a bridge while having lunch and we exchanged phone numbers. And as usual, all friends and family joined as well, so we were up to 20 people in the evening. And the family’s son is a mechanic who fixed Lucie’s bike (the rear rack’s screws broke so the luggage would not hold properly anymore) and washed both our bikes. We highly appreciated that.
The family lives around 30 km away from the city center, so we and bikes got transported there by car. And that means: a normal sedan car with 5 passengers, 10 bike bags and two bikes. Somehow they made it all fit (parts of the bike were sticking out of the trunk though). This is the first time I realized how big Esfahan is. I was told that Esfahan has around 8 million citizens, and is the second largest city after Teheran with 12 million. And because the buildings are not tall, the area covered by the city is enormous. You can see buildings up to the horizon. I will post more about Esfahan after tomorrow’s sightseeing.
Max elevation: 1562 m
Min elevation: 1455 m
Total climbing: 531 m
Total descent: -437 m
Total time: 09:21:08