We get to know Erfan via Facebook. He asks if he can help us in any way. We can ask questions and get lots of answers. Help that we can really use.
We didn't expect him to pick us up at the border. But we are very pleased. So we roll through the chaotic border traffic with him at our side, he then boldly says that Gerd should honk the horn and not always wait for the others. Wonderful, barely 10 minutes in Iran and Gerd is already being taught to be a traffic hooligan.
The 40 kilometres (or was it 60?) to Khoy are bumpy and very bad in places. But, we are told, it is a good road. So we adjust our road quality meter downwards a little. And then it's a good road for us too.
Halfway along the route, Erfan invites us to try some fresh bread. It's called nân here and is more of a flatbread. It comes fresh from the oven and we are allowed to snack on it in the bakery. And even take photos. And yes, men also like to take selfies here. Usually only with Gerd (who actually hates selfies and I always have to persuade him). I'm not at all sad about it, I just don't feel quite as photogenic with my sweeping scarf thrown over me.
When we arrive in Khoy, we realise - and are not at all sad about it - that today is Sunday. So it's Friday. Okay, I have to explain: in Iran, Friday is Sunday and Saturday is the beginning of the week, so to speak. The city is completely quiet. We stroll through the bazaar, past closed doors and through empty corridors.
And we're in luck: the SIM card shop is open. We quickly get 300 GB of internet (that should be enough for now) and have a cup of tea with Erfan. As all the tea shops are closed, we invite him round to our place. And for the first time in a long time we brew Swiss mountain herbal tea, our secret drink for moments of nostalgia. Today it's more of a friendship drink.
The next morning is sunny, cold and, above all, full of plans. We have to exchange money (and become multiple millionaires), learn about two different Iranian currencies with different exchange rates, get our credit card, which we happily use from now on, and learn to love our first Iranian street food.
My goodness, the bazaar is fantastic. The amount of fabric alone! I could fill our Felix with fabrics. Unfortunately, I left my sewing machine at home and all the glitter fabrics don't go with my normal camper style. Says Gerd.
Tea is drunk very differently here than in Turkey; you put a whole lump of sugar cube in your mouth and then let the tea plop into your mouth. This way the sugar melts in your mouth. I still remember my mum telling me not to put sugar cubes in my mouth. And I have to smile. What a rebel I've become!
We also try a mixture of sugar beet and beetroot, which is cooked in its own broth until it is very soft and super sweet. A street dessert in a class of its own.
The Khoy bazaar is probably a foretaste of the country's largest and most famous bazaar in Tabris. But here too, carpets are woven, stretched, shaved and sold en masse. What we like so much here is the tranquillity of the bazaar. Well, it is bustling, but we are left in peace. Compared to Tunisia last winter, it really is a relaxed stroll through the alleyways. Okay, everyone's eyes are on us, we're just too tall (I mean too long, of course) for the smaller people we're used to seeing here. We are smiled at, especially the young women's eyes light up when our glances meet.
On the second day, we immerse ourselves in colours, mosaics, smells, spices and the wonderfully friendly manner of the Iranians.
Merci for "travelling with us
These weeks we are travelling through Iran. It's possible that we won't be writing posts or that they will be delayed. We first have to see whether we have enough internet or reception and whether it is suitable for us to publish from the country. And whether we will even manage to write down all the fantastic impressions in time.
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