In Turkey we were held up from time to time by people wanting to share a cup o' chai with us, which is hard to refuse when you see their excitement. We sat down with them, and they asked us about our travels, but we knew that in their eyes we were but interesting tourists. Here, in Iran, we were starting to suspect that somehow we had become famous. The amount of paparazzi's was infinite and our necks were getting sore from having to look up for drive-by questions and photos. It got to the point where cars were lining up to welcome us to their country, we all while staying in the saddle. This slowly progressed into people standing roadside to shake our hands, load us with edible gifts and take the mandatory five selfies. By the end of the day our arms were just as sore from waving as our legs were from cycling. The photoshoots were becoming a routine. Without knowing it, we had become that boysband that has three standard picture poses and once we realized this, we perfected our stances, smiles, handshakes and waves to celebrity standards.
Armenia was undoubtedly our thoughest physical challenge yet. The difficulties didn't only lie in our overworked muscles, the cold also demanded a fair share of willpower. The hard climbs and freezing downhills made us ache for Iran, the promised land, the land of sun, flat roads and palm trees. When we neared Tabriz, after a last steady climb, we left the mountain ranges behind us and descended, with a generous tailwind, into the Iranian flats. We could nearly smell the camels already and see the desert miraging in front of us. Summer is coming.