We spent our next days in and around the city to arrange everything for our Turkmen adventure. Bikes were repaired, we picked up our visa's and when all duties were done, we spent the remaining time sightseeing and bazaaring. Norooz is one of the most important festivities in Iran, and with Mashhad being the Islamic capital the city was packed with people as never before. Yuri and Stef went inside the holy shrine under Majid's guidance. The shrine complex is extremely massive, with floors cover with carpets for people to pray, reflect or meditate. We explored chamber after chamber, and the crowd became more and more dense. The highlight was the tombe of imam Reza, where people were guided into thick streams in circles around it, and we had to watch out to not get trampled by all the mass trying to get a single touch to this ancient relic.
After this spiritual intermezzo we explained Majid that we had one last quest left. Yuri and Anton wanted to make unique rings with the rocks we gathered in the desert. So our host guided us to the one guy in the Bazaar who polishes stones and makes rings to one's preferations, and we payed him the necessary dollars to obtain our own unique kind of rings. To conclude our stay we were invited to celebrate Norooz with our kind hosts, and then it was time to take the highway to Turkmenistan.
In contrast to the past few days, the city today was completely empty. On Norooz everyone wants to be with family, not on the streets, and litteraly everything is closed. We left the ghost town behind us and set course to Turkmenistan to explore, finally, new terrain.