We took our first bus trip to reach Yazd from Shiraz using the Hamsafar company. Booking a bus trip is as easy as it is cheap in Iran so this is by far the best way to get around even tho it’s a bit slow mostly due to the police controls along the road.
Yazd was a shock as it’s a small and beautiful desert town with an unique athmosphere. This city still haunts me and remains my favorite of the trip. The baazar, the covered streets and the mud walls gives you a feeling which is difficult to describe.
We stayed at the very pleasant Orient Hotel and spent one night in a caravanserai where I tried my luck and succeeded to rent a motorcycle for one day ! That was a fun and incredible experience and we’ll always remember the look on the amuzed face of the Iranian people when they realized some tourists where riding a motorcycle among them.
Yazd is of course not only about desert and features some beautiful and peaceful gardens.
Our Iranian friend booked us a night train from Tehran to our next stop in the South of Iran : Shiraz.
The Tehran train station is well organized and as foreigners we had to show our passports to the station’s police where we were greeted with the big smile by the policemen. The train itself was good, clean, comfortable and on schedule even if it was quite slow : departure at 20h and we arrived at 11h30 a few kilometers up from Shiraz.
Travelling by train is always a great experience. As we woke up early in the morning, this is what was waiting for us behind the curtains :
Compared to Tehran, the streets are more typical and fitting what you’d expect from a desert city. That’s the exact kind of town you want to get lost in, just walking around and going into its nice and large bazaar.
Shiraz is known for its many palaces and beautiful gardens.
This city is also the usual starting point to visit the famous Persepolis. While the place is great, I must admit that we loved the abandonned park right next to it which is used as a playground and food camping by the schools and other Iranian tourists.
For our latest vacations, we spent two weeks in Iran and I must say that this country is astonishingly beautiful ! So forget what you think to know about this country as it’s either biased or doesn’t apply to its people who are very friendly and welcoming.
We started with two days in Tehran, a gigantic and lovely city where an Iranian friend we met on the internet invited us to a treck in the surroundings montains.
The first thing to have to get acquainted with is how to cross the streets. Seriously the traffic is madness and uncontrolled (no traffic lights) so you have to watch out everywhere. Then you discover their nice and cooled subway which is clean and shiny and so cheap you try and count four times as you’re sure you’ve heard the man wrong : 10 000 rials a ticket, yeah that’s like 0,2€…
Treck startpoint was Darban and then up to close to 3000m, thanks again Shayan. When we were awed by the beautiful mountains they had at the doorstep or their city, our Iranian friends told us that these mountains are also the cause of the massive pollution of Tehran in sping and summer because it blocks the winds from clearing the air…
Sunset from the Jamshidieh park, the tall tower on the background is the Milad Tower.
After Arcosanti, we kept on going south into Arizona where we headed to Phoenix and stayed in Tuscon for a few days. It was hot and sunny of course and we loved this part of Arizona.
We went to see the US Army Aircraft Boneyard which is located a bit South-East of Tuscon, in the middle of the desert. Imagine hundreds of planes parked in the sand, waiting to be dismantled !
On the route down from Flagstaff to Phoenix, we stopped and stayed in Arcosanti. This experimental city is a unique place as it was imagined by an Italian architect who began its construction in the 70s with volunteers from all around the world. Today its construction is still ongoing and people come there to contribute for a certain period of time before going back home (we met a French lady from Britany there, this was weird).
The cool thing about this community is that you can book a room there to stay and live among them for some time. We had dinner and breakfast with them, everything was very cool and very tasty ! We didn’t really know what to expect when arriving there and were amazed by the place and its incredible athmosphere.
We had the feeling of being in another world, far from everything we’re used to. This is the kind of place where you can feel far from everything but close from the earth, a unique experience really. I even had the chance to take a dive in the swimming pool overlooking the surrounding desert.
I couldn’t help but feel strange about how the architecture of this place made me feel like I was walking in the video game Riven !
Forget about Marlboro, this Navajo nation area is way more than that. To be honest, you can see the money made from the tax you have to pay to enter the actual park is invested back in the community but I guess there’s more and some drawbacks to it.
Meet the first 10 minutes of rain we experienced during a whole month ! Actually, it was a localized storm and it happened at the perfect moment where we had the most beautiful view. We felt this moment was quite unique and we were excited and glad to experience it. I guess you won’t argue with me after looking at those pictures.
We then headed South towards the North rim of Grand Canyon, unfortunately the nights were already cold out there so the rangers did advise against sleeping in the car. We thus visited Point Imperial and stayed for the sunset. This was our first encounter with the Grand Canyon and it was amazing.
It was dark when we got out of there, we had to drive very carefully to avoid the numerous deers along the road. We had planned to sleep in Page but we hit a detour due to road work and had to take a huge detour which took us to Tuba City.
I could not stand driving one more mile but the only three hotels of the whole area were full. One person from the front desk of a hotel advised us to go to the nearby Greyhills Inn which remains one of the most exotic experience we had in Indian territory. We slept in a room in the Tuba City High School as they do rent rooms to outsiders ! We were welcomed nicely in this old fashioned place operated by the local Navajo people.
We visited Page and its (too) touristic area the next day along with the famous (and so crowded) Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
After the Death Valley, we headed North to reach Bryce Canyon. On the way up, we did take a quick detour to cruise Las Vegas by car but didn’t stop there.
We had a pleasant night in a very old fashioned motel near Bryce Canyon where the tenant asked me if I really was French because “the French are usually blond and don’t have such dark hair as you mister”.
I’m willing to bet a great deal on the fact that the vast majority of us are brown/dark haired… Mister blond @Lujeni is NOT representative of us French people ! 🙂
We started our one month roadtrip in Los Angeles where we stayed 3 days to adjust to the -9h time zone shifting. We had planned and rented a SUV for the first 15 days to tour the national parks (just before the shutdown, lucky us) then we rented a motorbike for the last 15 days of our trip to ride the West coast. Needless to say it was an amazing trip, the photos I’ll post will show it by themselves.
Still, it’s always fun and quite stunning to look back at the odometers of the two vehicles we used to see how much miles/km we drove :
- In the SUV, touring the national parks : 4269 miles / 6870 km
- With the Harley-Davidson Street Glide, riding the West coast : 2175 miles / 3500 km
That’s a nice total of 6444 miles / 10 370 km ! It’s more than the trip from Paris to LA 😉
We headed to the Death Valley but took a detour to “visit” an abandonned waterpark in the middle of the desert !