Hitchhiking to Soltaniyeh, in Abhar County, Zanjan Province, home of Soltaniyeh Dome, the Mausoleum of Ilkhan Oljaytu
Hitchhiking to Soltaniyeh
Hitchhiking to Soltaniyeh to the west of Iran via Karaj – Qazvin Highway is not as easy as the southern route to Iran. I reached myself next to a police station where there used to be toll booth. They removed it because of the heavy traffic. It worked for the cars. The traffic is gone. But, for hitchhikers like me it was a bad news. Cars are flying and you can’t stop them. Shoot!
Hitchhiking to Qazvin
I picked up my placard, saying Qazvin in Persian with an emoji on it. I thought it might be interesting. Haha! Cars and vehicles were passing me with flying speed. I stood nearly twenty minutes and there was no sign of pick-ups! I put down my red backpack so that it could be visible from distant. While I thumbed up, I held the sign with my left hand. After 30 minutes, a truck stopped. Yesssssss!
Before I asked for the destination, the driver asked me to hop in! I evaluated his appearance and tone of his voice within seconds and decided to get on. His name was Reza. He has been working as a truck driver for thirty years and now he was heading home, Qazvin. Out of curiosity, he asked couple of questions . He was curious to know what the hell I was doing alone with a backpack as large as a potato bag in Iran (Potato bag in Iran is almost 50 Kg.). So, I answered his questions to win his trust.
He engaged me into a conversation which was not my type, having a mistress or girlfriend in other cities. I had to listen to his love story all the way to Qazvin. I tried to change the topic couple of times, but it was futile. We passed Abyek, Caspian Industrial Town, Zibashahr. After getting into the city, Reza was kind enough to buy me a traditional ice cream. It was so delicious. He dropped me off at Dorah Hamedan to get a car to Soltaniyeh.
Hitchhiking to Takestan
I shouldn’t let him drive me into the city. It was hard to get a hitchhike in the city. Sometimes, the hospitality gets you into a trouble. I didn’t want to say no to his offer which it was wrong. Anyway, I checked out my map. My next stop was Takestan, a city known for its grapes and exporting grapes for making wine. I was made to take a taxi since hitchhiking was not available there. I got into a taxi, but in the middle of the way the driver said, “I am heading to Abgarm. You are going there, right?” I was shocked. I said no with a little anger. The stupid driver was heading south of Qazin while I had to go to west. I got out of the car the next conjunction after Takestan. It was almost a quarter to ten P.M.
Hitchhiking to Abhar
Left with no choices and while I was still angry with the driver, I dropped off at the first exit toward Abhar. I had to get him out of my system. Being angry was pointless at that time. Although, I had a bright colored T-Shirt, the vehicles were passing without seeing me. They passed me because of the invisibility. I reached myself to the light and stood there for almost ten minutes. Hitchhiking to Abhar at that hour was impossible. I got into the first car that stopped. I was behind my schedule.
Hitchhiking to Soltaniyeh
Hitchhiking to Soltaniyeh at 11:00 P.M. was also impossible. They spoke Azari (Turkish) and regretfully I couldn’t speak a word. Although there wasn’t any threat, I couldn’t risk it. Next to Engelab Square, I took a taxi straight to Soltaniyeh. It was a 40-minute drive. All I could hear in a taxi was Azari exchanging among the other two passengers and the taxi driver. I paid one dollar and a half for the taxi fare. While the car was passing Khorramdarreh, Qal’eh Hosiniieh, Hidaj, Sain Qaleh, Pir Sqqa, Amidabad, Sonbolabad, I was alert all the way to Soltaniyeh. I could see the Soltaniyeh Dome almost from 10 kilometers away at night. Seeing it made me calm. I couldn’t wait to see it at close range.
Best place for camping in Soltaniyeh
The driver dropped me in front of Basji Park in Soltaniyeh. There were several tents there. Family with kids. Therefore, it was safe. It was 11:45 at night. All the stores were shut expect a small supermarket next to the Basij Park. The guy who was running the supermarket guided me where to put up my tent. He was so nice. I forgot to mention. There was a toilet next to the store. So, my bladder was assured, too! Haha!
I was so excited that I walked in front of the entrance gate of Soltaniyeh Dome to shot videos and photos. It was dazzling at night. Unfortunately, my camera was not good enough to capture its beauty at night.
After being stopped and checked by police patrolling around, I returned to Basij Park and put up my tent. The wind started to blow and it got cold at night. I put out my sleeping bag and slept like a baby.