Razi – 39N48E – Qarah Aghej

Back in Baku, Heather, Stuart, Michael and me had talked about trip themes.

By going to the Caspian Sea, Michael had finished his quest to visit the lowest points on each continent. Stuart is fly-fishing in every country they come through (and of course has to catch a fish, too).

What’s the theme of my trip? Does it have a theme? Does it need one?
Maybe collecting ESC stars’ autographs, but with just one success story that’s hardly a theme, eh? Confluence points? Only failures so far. Oh, wait, there is 39°N, 48°E waiting to be visited! At least that would be a (late) start.

39°N, 48°E is located approx. 40km north of Razi, just 300m off the road connecting Ardabil and Germi, which also goes through Razi. The countryside up there is still very hilly. It all looks very dry, but on a second look one sees that much of the area is used for agriculture. It probably rains much more during the spring. Now, however, all the crops have been harvested and in the villages the straw piles reach high.

Anyway, back to 39°N, 48°E. Getting there wasn’t as spectacular as getting to 42°N, 46°E back in Georgia. I left the bike at the roadside and hasted down a slope across a harvested field – still 200m to go, then across another, steeper field – still 100m to go, then across steep, semi-desert, with cliffs falling down into a gorge below at the not-so-far end. Luckily, the confluence didn’t make me climb down those cliffs. I hit the spot somewhere on that deserty land. I snapped a number of photos as required by confluence.org and climbed up that hill back to my bike. And on I went to Germi. Pretty unspectacular, really.

Germi looks like a buzzing town, situated on a hill-side, with two pretty mosques with golden roofs and minarets. I stopped at an open restaurant and met a guy there who spoke decent English. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask for his name. He gave me all kinds of good advice. He asked about my plans for the night and even offered me a place to sleep – unfortunately in Ardabil. He then suggest I camp near a station of the Iranian Red Crescent, for safety reasons, he said, so we went to their local branch and he asked them to phone the station in Qarah Aghej, some 50km to the west on my route. They gave their ok.

I arrived there at quarter to 8pm and was welcomed with a shower, dinner, and a place to sleep. Iran rocks.

Cycled: 104km
Top speed: 77kph

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