Hitchhiking to Hormuz Island – Part One

Hitchhiking to Hormuz Island is everyone dream. Everyone talks about Hormuz Island and its beauty, but you should see it on your own to believe it. After all, as the proverb goes, “seeing is believing”. The idea of visiting colorful Hormuz Island has been on my mind for a long time, but I was waiting for the best visiting time, February. 

Hitchhiking to Hormuz Island
Checking the route to Hormuz Island

I called for hitchhiking trip to Hormuz on my Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/the7beauties) and within 24 hours received numerous responses. My buddy, Muhammad Qanjal, and I picked the qualified travelers. Since it was a long hitchhiking trip, nearly 1,300 km, from Tehran to Bandar Abbas, it was necessary to select the patient ones.

Hitchhiking from Tehran to Isfahan – Scrambled Eggs

My travel buddy, Elahe (a girl name meaning “the goddess”) and I join the group in the evening to start our new adventure. This time our hitchhiking trip is different because we take north to south route in Iran. We were 14 hitchhikers, including Elahe and I. We got late, but luckily we were second to get a ride. The first impression is the last impression in hitchhiking, so always wear a smile on your face. A truck driver pulled over and I went after it and opened the door. A kind truck driver showed up and curiously asked where we were going. I quickly noticed his accent. He was from Shiraz, the city of poems and flowers.

Initially, he was a little surprised to see us, especially me with a large red backpack. He kindly asked us where we were heading and then said, “Hop on”. Elahe got on the truck first and helped me with the backpack and then I quickly got on. It was an easy hop on. In fact, we dragged us up! We introduced each other to him. His name was Saeed. He was from beautiful Shiraz, but he was heading to Isfahan that day. He played some old romantic Iranian music for us while we enjoyed the horizon. we passed Mamuniyeh, Salafchegan, Hesar-e Sorkh, Delijan, Mouteh Wildlife Refuge, Meymeh, Vandadeh, Murchehkhort, Shahin Shahr.

After sunset, near Isfahan, he pulled off to offer us something to eat. He brought the pan, the small portable cook and some bread. Elahe got the pan and cooked us quick Scrambled eggs. Saeed dropped us at Moallem Freeway at Isfahan and bid us farewell.

Hitchhiking to Isfahan - The Seven Beauties
Scrambled Eggs inside the truck…Yummy

Hitchhiking from Isfahan to Nain – Getting Stone

This was the difficult part of our trip. Since tomorrow was a national holiday, the streets were literally emptied from trucks. Most of truck drivers are off on national holidays. Therefore, we were forced to hire a car in Snapp App to the very beginning of Isfahan- Nain road. We paid 2 dollars to get there. It was getting more and more difficult to get a ride, let alone a free ride! However, we never lost our hope. We were determined to get to Shahr Babak, our meeting place tonight.

Cars and trucks passed us with at a fast speed and the pushed us the cold wind to our faces. We walked for a while to reach the lights we saw a head of us. The lights were not the lights from the houses, but a restaurant. We were lucky because there were nearly ten trucks there. Cheerful as we were, we paced up. We did not want to lose our chance at such a dark night. Elahe and I head to trucks. Some had no drivers on. Some refused to offer us a ride.

Hitchhiking to Nain - The Seven Beauties
Greenish Blue Benz Truck

All of a sudden, we an old greenish blue truck, an old Mercedes-Benz short-bonnet trucks, aka Khawar, in Iran. It was so beautiful. The truck was decorated with numerous things. A man of late 50s showed up and we asked for a ride. He was a sheepish man with a dark jacket on. He had a short gray hair and blue eyes. He said, “I am heading to Tabas. So, I can just take you to Nain.”

We were as happy as a lark, although a long way was a head of us. He was not much of a talker because he was an opium smoker. While Elahe had a short snap, I seized the time and scrutinized the different things in the cabin while the opium smoke was in the air. I was literally stoned! He dropped us at Nain ring road after midnight. A pitch-black road!

Hitchhiking to Nain Isfahan- The Seven Beauties
Passive Opium Smoker

Hitchhiking from Nain to Yazd – A Ride into the Darkness

Darkness was all we could see. I wore my headlamp and resumed my path. We could hear dogs’ barking far away. Three or four sedan cars passed us speeding. We were not in a light spot to be visible. Elahe began to cracking jokes to raise the spirit. She is very funny from time to time and she did it on the right time. We stood near the streetlights for roughly twenty minutes. It was about one in the morning. Who would stop for a couple on after midnight on almost desert road? A humanist, maybe.

Up on the road, a Mini Truck Isuzu began to appear. I rose my hand and a few meters a head of us, it stopped. I was happy and scared simultaneously. Two men were in the vehicle. Usually, I do not go for a truck with two passengers on, but I had no choice. They curiously asked our destination. They were from Yazd. The accent was revealing.

Surprised to see us at wee hours, they began to ask several questions about Elahe and me. I tried to be alert all the way to Yazd and kept talking about any topics available despite the overwhelming sleepiness. While the driver was friendly and kind, the other guy was too nosy. Frankly speaking, I felt a little unease with him. The road lingered on and on as if it was endless. Seeing the road sign written Zarach on it, we decided to get off.

Hitchhiking from Zarach to Hazrat Abolfazl Mosque – Lightness in Horizon

After getting off the truck at Zarach Meydan Velayat, I was relieved a bit because of saying goodbye to the nebby guy. Up ahead the road, on the right side, rest a group of trucks. We headed toward them with sleepy faces and shivering bodies. Four or five of them did not even bother to answer our greetings at that ungodly hour. Almost all track drivers turned blind eyes to us, expect a couple. Two young men, one 21, and the other 27, inquired about our affairs cautiously. I quickly told them our destination. They were heading towards Shahr-e Babak, our very destination. My prayers were answered. Hurrah. Our happiness did not last long because they said, “We are going to stay at Hazrat Abolfazl Mosque, after Mehriz for sleep”.

Hazrat Abolfazl Mosque Kerman, Iran - The Seven beauties
Desperate for a nap at Hazrat Abolfazl Mosque

Loaf of bread is better than none. I felt safe with them, so I slept for a while. I was waken up by the driver’s voice. “We got to Hazrat Abolfazl Mosque”. The yellowish red hue appeared at horizon, as the sun began to rise. Hazrat Abolfazl Mosque was a life saver. Elahe and I dragged our wearied bodies with heavy steps towards the mosque. Into the mosque, we entered. It was packed like sardines. We squeezed ourselves between the sleeping people and in a blink of an eye we were in arms of Morpheus.

Hitchhiking from Hazrat Abolfazl Mosque to Anar –Short but sweet

Persian says “Sleeping is a rose” and indeed it is. I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow. We slept for 4 hours. By the time we woke up, the mosque was almost empty. The sun was shining lightly and the sky was clear. We had bread and cheese for breakfast and hit the road again. I posed for the pictures and Elahe took a nice shot of me. Almost after 15 minutes, a sedan car pulled up a few meters a head of us. A young couple with big smile offered us a ride to Anar city in Kerman.

Hitchhiking to Anar Kerman- The Seven Beauties
Hitchhiking to Anar, Kerman

Hitchhiking from Anar City to Sirjan – The Curvy Hills

Soon after waving goodbye to the friendly couple, a lovely Sirjani guy picked us up. He was driving on the road from early day from Yazd and was heading toward Sirjan. The weather was awesome and the sky was clear. Every now and then, two or three fluffy clouds made a shade and passed slowly. As we passed Shahr-e Babak, the road began to curve and rippling hills started to appear.

Hitchhiking to Sirjan kerman - The Seven Beauties
Anar to Sirjan Road

The mountainous pass is a perfect place for photographers and nature lovers. I might go there for biking and camping some day! On the right wing of the road, there lied small one-storey houses made out of stones and soils. It seemed that a river used to flow there. One could see the mud cracks along the road. The name of the city was, Zeydabad. It seemed a lovely city. But, we could not stop. We had a higher goal. The driver kindly served us some dried nuts with hot tea.

Zeydabad Villlage, Kerman
Zeydabad Village, Kerman

Hitchhiking from Sirjan to Bander Abbas – Fast and Furious

If you want to take a taxi or hitchhike from Sirjan to Bander Abbas, Imam Ali Square is the best place. The taxi fare from Sirjan to Bandar Abbas is 3 dollars. We were running out of time. It was 2 p.m. in the afternoon and we had a ticket for Hormuz Island at 17:00 with Bandar Abbas Ferry Boats. Three hours might not be enough. Unfortunately, the taxis were not there. It wasn’t surprising, it was holiday, after all.

Bandar Abbas Road
Road from Sirjan to Bandar Abbas

While Elahe and I were crossing our fingers to get there on time, a sedan car, a couple with a 4 year-old girl offered us a ride. They were Sirjani. They warned us about the potential dangers of hitchhiking on the road. But, it was daylight and we were immune to possible dangers. Soon after he heard we would be late for the ferryboat, he drove a little faster but with lots of care.

Hitchhiking to Bandar Abbas Iran
Weird shape Mountains on the way to Bandar Abbas

It was a 310 kilometer drive. But, you couldn’t drive fast because it was mountainous and curvy. It even had tunnels! Zagros Mountains stretching from northwest of Iran, Tabriz ends here at the Strait of Hormuz. The mountains were in different shapes and colors. I was so immersed in watching them that I wished it never ended! We got there Port martyr Haqqani at 17:20 despite the speeding.

Bandar Abbas Entrance - The Seven Beauties
Bandar Abbas, Iran at Sunset

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Hitchhiking to Shiraz – Part Two

Hitchhiking to Shiraz – Sightseeing in Shiraz

Hitchhiking inside the city is literally impossible. So, using Al Pacino’s phrase in Donnie Brasco “Forget about it”. Anyway, let me give a tip for better photography. While you are in Shiraz, try to wear bright colors. Yellow and pink are top priority because the tiles are mostly pink and yellow. In this case, you will be matched with tiles and your pictures will be more beautiful. Colorful scarfs are available there for women for beautify themselves and color their photo while on travel.

We visited Vakil Bath, Vakil Bazzar and Vakil Mosque. Each has its own beauty and style. You can’t have a bath in Vakil Bath. It is a museum right now. But you could be familiar with the architecture and the culture of Hammam. In Vakil Mosque, the spiral columns are a perfect place to take artistic photography. I am an amateur, of course. We met two Turkish travelers who took pictures with Yalda and Mahsa.

The Seven Beauties - Vakil Mosque
Mahsa and Ehan Ates in Vakil Mosque, Shiraz

Pars Museum is another highlight of Shiraz one shouldn’t miss. The paintings inside the Pars Museum are marvelous. The tomb of Karim Khan Zand is there, too. It is a small museum but it totally worth visiting.

I really love the space between the Vakil Mosque and Arg-e Karimkhan. Tables and chairs in the open space are lovely for relaxing and having something to drinks.

The medieval-like fortress in the middle of Shiraz built during Zand dynasty was our next stop. Bitter orange trees surrounded the fountain inside the Arg. The amorous smell were there as well. I couldn’t cease to smell blossoms’ mind-altering smell. 

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Arg-e Karim Khan
Relaxing time at Arg-e Karim Khan

Next was Madrese e-Khan or Khan School. The school was a two-story building like the one I saw in Oudlajan, Tehran or Agha Bozorg School in Kasha. But, this one is more beautiful than the two others are. Palm trees and dancing of fountains in the yard created an splendid view. While we were there, we met a group of French travelers. They were four. Three women and a man. I spent some time talking to them about Iran culture and lifestyle. When I see a traveler, I become talkative. They were patient enough to listen to my words. They were heading to Isfahan, Kerman desert, Varzaneh and Kashan. I wished them nice and safe trip and then we said farewell.

French travelers in Shiraz met The Seven Beauties
Lovely French Travelers at Khan School, Shiraz

Qavam House or Narenjestan Garden is so beautiful you can’ stop falling for it. The colorful flowers, green trees and sound of water soothe your body and soul.  While you are inside the mansion, look up to see the decorated ceilings. On the second floor, you could see the images of western women surrounded by the images of flowers on the ceilings. The mirror-work’s on the first floor is striking to watch. No wonder it was registered under the Persian Gardens on Iran UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Qavam House Shiraz
Intoxicating Qavam House in Shiraz

Next to Qavam House, there is beautiful traditional house which is called Zinat Al-Molk House. It is not as eye-catching as Qavan house; however, it has its own beauty. Besides, it is close to Qavan house. It takes 15 minutes to visit it.

French couple at Zinat Al-Molk House
Another lovely old French Couple in Shiraz

Tomb of Saadi and Tomb of Hafez

Literature is my life. I can’t live without it. Reading Hafez and Saadi is one of the most pleasurable activities I have ever done. Their poetry is so rich in philosophy and worldview that their reputation go beyond the Iranian border. Goethe, one of the greatest German poet, openly confessed Saadi Shirazi’s influence on him. And Hafez’s influence in Iranian daily life is inevitable. Having said that, seeing them was like seeing old friend who helped me through sadness and laughed with me in my happiness. I lost myself in the poetic atmosphere and began murmuring the verses quietly.  

The Seven Beauties meets Tomb of Saadi
Meeting Saadi was an exciting moment for me
Tomb of Hafez with The Seven Beauties -
Meditating with Hafez

We returned two Arg-e Karim khan area to have dinner at Qavam Cafe & Restaurant. The food was yummy. I ordered Kebab Tabeii with special sour mayonnaise on it. Oh my God! I highly recommend it. It was soooooo delicious! We talked over the dinner about our hitchhiking back to Tehran.

Hitchhiking from Shiraz to Sa’adat Shahr – Indecent Proposal

Tight schedule always increase the pace of your travel, particularly on hitchhiking trips. We decided to hit the road at night. At least cover one third of our path to Tehran. We got a taxi to the first police station outside the city. It is eight kilometers away from Quran Gate. You can find it on google map. Its name is Traffic Police Station. I never risk hitchhiking at night, especially in the lower part of Iran. I don’t want to generalize that the lower parts of Iran is unsafe. No, not at all. But, when the night comes, the darkness may lurk at the corner.

While Yalda and Mahsa were determined to begin our trip to Isfahan, I had butterflies in my stomach.  But, I kept the spirit up. We thumped up. A truck driver stopped. He was heading to Tehran. What a chance! We hooped in. He was not alone. His son was with him, a pre-school quite boy. Yalda and Mahsa were in the backside and I sat in next to the driver. He spoke Arabic on the phone. He was from Ahvaz. Ahvazi people speak Arabic. I didn’t understand Arabic. The presence of the child assured us that we are safe. He was a man of family. We could trust him. I began a conversation and tried to get as much information as possible. By getting info, I could knew him better.

After 30 minutes’ drive, his phone rang and he handed it to me and said: “My brother is on the phone. He wants to talk to you.” He had told me that his brother is driving another vehicle just behind him. But, I had no idea why he was eager to talk to him.

-Hi, how are you?

Me- How are you? I am fine. Thanks for giving us a ride.

-you are welcome. Can one of you come with me? I am alone and I need someone to talk. Ask one of the girl to come here.

Me- (surprisingly) Ok. But…they seem asleep. I will join you. But I warn you. I am talkative. (With a laugh) I might talk your head over.

-Okay. No problem.

I said goodbye and handed the phone back. I never wanted to send either Mahsa or Yalda alone to the other vehicle. It was unwise to do that. The truck stopped in a parking area next to road. He got out of the truck and checked his wheels. I shared the news with my friends. Yalda interrupted me and said” It is fine with me. I go there. You stay here.” I asked her if it is ok two or three times. Yet, her answer was the same. I respected her answer, although I was worried. A truck stopped behind us and went toward him to have a quick evaluation. Yalda got her backpack, climbed down, and then got up the other truck. I climbed up and  I was about to close the door that I saw Yalda next to the door. I was shocked. She worriedly asked me to get down. I knew something went wrong. She told me that the driver asked her get laid with him. Yalda is a strong girl. I knew her well. I looked back and said to the diver that we preferred to be together. I guessed he knew it. He didn’t flinch at all at our decision.

When the trust broke, the silent came over. A deadly silent. I was worried and scared. What could I do if she was hurt? It was big mistake to let her go on her own to be with the driver’s brother. Anyway, I asked a driver to turn on a music. Might music replace the suffocating atmosphere. I have tried to engage the driver into a conversation on the recent flood in Ahvaz. Luckily, he took the lead and began talking and taking.

Meanwhile, we cooked up a story to get off the truck. Mahsa’s uncle was in Shiraz and he was coming back the same night. The phone rang and Mahsa told him to stop at the nearest city, Sa’adat Shahr. The driver bought our story. We dropped off at the police station. I asked the driver to come with me and gently told him his brother indecent proposal to Yalda. He knew it of course. But I wanted to throw it to his face to know that we are travelers, hitchhikers and adventures. However, we are not into shady things such as drugs, murder or sex and they were wrong about us. Hitchhiking might sometimes get hard and it was one of those instances.

Hitchhiking from Sa’adat Shahr to Isfahan – Long Ride to Sunrise

The trucks left and stood for a while to shake off the negative feelings. It was the first time I have ever encountered such a misconducts. It is hitchhiker after all. Anyway, a young man pulled over and offered us a ride. He claimed that he was working in a police agency in Tehran. I asked for his ID. I had to be cautious this time. He showed it to me and I felt somehow assured. 

He was from Borazjan, the capital of Dashtestan County, Bushehr Province. He was an employee in a special police force in Tehran, but he despised his job. He confessed that they made him and his fellows into mad dogs attacking anyone in uprisings or riots against the government. He introduced some interesting places in Borazjan and I jotted it down into my notebook to google it later on. I felt sleepy and I fell asleep. So did Mahsa and yalda. He woke me up at 6:45 A.M. next to Soffeh Terminal in Isfahan. I thanked him, exchanged phone number, and said goodbye. We used the toilet in Soffeh Terminal and had biscuit and fruit juice for breakfast. Then we got on a bus from Soffeh Terminal, in the southern part of Isfahan to Kaveh terminal, in the northern part of it. The bus fare was 20 cents per person.

Standing there was a mistake. Neither cars nor trucks stopped for us. I searched the net and found the police station outside of Isfahan, Shahin Shahr – Kashan Police Station.

Hitchhiking from Isfahan to Abayneh Village – Unexpected visit

We took a taxi to get to Shahin Shahr – Kashan Police Station. Every cars stopped for us asked for money. Isfahan seems un-hitchhikable. We paid 2 dollars to get there which wasn’t expensive. Out of surprise, a sedan car pulled over. Two girls were in the car. I welcomed us with a big smile. Kimia and Paria were heading to Abyaneh on their own. They were beautiful and lovely to hang out with. Their friendliness made us accept their offer to Abyaneh Village. The weather was awesome. There were some clouds in blue sky but the sun was shining brightly.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Abyaneh Village
Having Ash with Kimia and Paria -Two super-friendly sisters

I met several international travelers from Poland, Hungry, France and China. In order to thank them for a ride, we bought Ash for them and had some fun. A couple asked me to take a picture of them and I did. I love to take pictures. After strolling for an hour, we said goodbye and headed to Kashan.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Portuguese travelers
Portuguese Travelers in Abyneh Village – Kashan

Unfortunately, the cars were full. It was a religious holiday. Never travel in Iran on national or religious holidays. The chance of getting ride is low. As usual we began walking along the road. It was useless. People passed us waving their hands. We walked for 20 minutes. And out of luck a car stopped. The man got out. He was the same person I took picture. What comes around goes around. It is a Karma, I guess. They couple offered us tea and cookies. They stopped at Anar Boulevard because they were heading to Badroud.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Abyaneh Village
Karma in Abyaneh Village

Hitchhiking from Kashan – Qom – Tehran

After 10 minutes, another young couple stopped for us. They looked like rich. Both of them wearing snazzy baseball caps. They were heading to Nushabad, the underground city in Kashan. We dropped off at Nataznz – Kashan Pay toll. Best place to get a hitchhike to Tehran. Cut a long story short, we hitchhiked from Kashan to Qom and Qom to Tehran.  It got home at six. P.M. and took a shower and hit the bed.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz was a different experience. It had its own joy and danger. It taught us a good lesson. Never hitchhike at night. Never trust easily to drivers with children. On general, Iranian are hospitable. It is undeniable. But, be alert and cautious.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Farewell Moment – Tehran

You can read the first part in the following link

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