A journey through Iran by Car

An exerpt from our dairy of our overland journey from Holland to Iran and back (April-September 2001).
Saturday May 19 2001 (coming from Turkey to Iran)

We got up early today. The sun was shining and a cold wind was blowing from Mt. Ararat. We had breakfast on the parking lot, on which we camped tonight, along side a hotel. After that we packed everything for some weeks of "non -camping", because we don't expect much campings along the way in Iran. We checked all our papers for the border-crossing that lied ahead….. and off we went! And of course: I had to put on my scarf
     and long coat.

The first barrier was crossed very quickly, but it appeared to be a police-post only. Long rows of trucks were waiting there, but we could drive through right away. At the next barrier a turkish man took Remco in and out of small offices to get the necessary stamps. A little later I had to leave the car also to get an exit-stamp in my passport. Immediately after that I was directed into a large hall, where a lot of other people already sat and waited. They appeared to be Iranian men and women. Remco had to go back to the car and drive it across the border without me. After a while the men and women in the hall moved to a large iron door at the other end. I didn't know what to do, so I joined them there. Then the door opened and at the other side stood a man in uniform who wanted to see our passports. All the people could go through, but he kept my passport and made clear to me that I had to wait next to him.

Then a friendly elderly Iranian man came to me, who could speak English rather well, with a sophisticated accent. He introduced himself as Mr. Hossein and told me that he was of the tourist-information and there to help me with the border-checks. He took my passport en me to a border-control office. He also told me that Remco was still in Turkey, but that I now had entered Iran! After a while I could see our blue car driving through a distant gate and Mr. Hossein left me to fetch Remco and help him with the border-formalities. After that he changed money for us, gave us some tourist information and a copy of some common Farsi words with the translation in English and he also told us that there wasa camping site in Tabriz. So we can camp after all ! Because of Mr. Hossein the contents of our car didn't get checked and within two hours we had crossed both borders. This was a very unexpected friendly welcome into Iran!………"

Thursday June 14 2001 (coming from Iran to Turkey)

We got up early this morning, because we wanted to be near the border before lunch-time and from Tabriz to the border is a couple of hours drive. There wasn't much traffic to delay us, so at about eleven o'clock we arrived in Bazargan. First we went to the bank to change rials for lira's and earlier we had filled up our tank with diesel-fuel, because we will never get it as cheap as in Iran again. At the border Remco first went to look for some assistance to get us across. And luckily the friendly gentleman who had helped us a month ago, was there again! Mr. Hossein guided us through the Iranian side of the customs -formalities. After that I was again directed to the large hall for transit-passengers and he went along with Remco to help him getting the car to the other side. This time they did check the contents of the car and the diesel fuel in the jerrycans seemed to be OK.
Regretfully later on my experience on the Turkish side was annoying in comparison with the swift Iranian border-service…………………………….."
So far for my diary. Thank you very much for your help in those days (already more than a year ago!) and we hope you'll do fine with your own tourist-enterprise!

     Inge Rozema & Remco Aalders
The Netherlands
June 2002

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