After spending our last Armenian Drahms in the candy shop, gravity guided us to the river that marks the Iranian border. A huge barbwired fence made clear that swimming across was not really a smart idea. Before mid day we arrived at the bridge where the border control post was located. Exiting Armenia was easy and fast, Iran was a different story.
First, we were greeted by some overly friendly guards in a miltary uniform. They checked our passports and guided us the next post where they told us to wait inside. While waiting, another friendly guy asked us over for "Health Insurance, two dollars please." - "Two dollar health insurance? We must be lucky, sounds like a good deal!" We tried to explain we had a Belgian coverance, but he insisted and also we didn't bother too much, as we didn't want any more hassle to get through the customs process.
After 30 minutes of waiting we received our passport stamps and a short individual interrogation followed: "Where are you going. Are you married? Where you go after Iran? What is your job? What is the name of your father? Where was he born?"
Last up was an X-ray scan of our bags, where our bike replacement parts and gasoline bottle called for more suspiscion than our huge supply of emergency medicins for the coming countries. Every officer was overly friendly and we were welcomed very warmly by the complete staff and other random attendees, which made us forget about the time we lost during this process. We celebrated on some chips and fanta and off we were.
Iran immediatly treated us to a national park and the riverside road took us through an amazing valley following the river upstream. On both sides steep, barren rock formations appeared, rising almost vertically from the ground, of which the Iranian side was covered with a thin layer of snow.
We let our eagle eyes scan the environment to scout for some wildlife, and we spotted some pelicans fishing in the river and a couple of wild goats hopping away up the vertical cliffs, clearly trying to make us envy their climbing skills.
On the road we missed a turn in the middle of nowhere, not spotting the Persian roadsign pointing towards Jolfa. Luckily an Iranian driver saw us from the corner of his eye from the main road, and he stopped by to guide us in the right direction. Iran definitely has made a very good first impression and we are looking forward to taste more of this beautiful, undiscovered country.