Mosouleh & The Caspian
Headed west out of Tehran before heading North, via a big mountain pass where we dropped from about 1600m to ~250 through some pretty dramatic terrain and a ton of Wind farms at Manjil.
Stopped somewhere around Roodbar, I think, for lunch. A bit after that you turn a corner and suddenly everything turns green, which is a bit of a shock after nothing but rocks and sand for almost 2 weeks. Got onto the road to Masouleh (via Fouman) and it was very NZ like - steep valley with lots of green and rivers etc). Except for the garbage! There must only be a handful of places like this in Iran and they just leave their mess everywhere.
At Masouleh it was parking chaos - it was very busy and people are a bit dim when it comes to parking everywhere (ignoring the massive, empty carpark that is an extra 5 minutes walk, instead opting to fight for 15 minutes for a carpark that little bit closer….).
The village was pretty, but it was so busy that it was a bit hard to appreciate. The further up we climbed the quieter it got though and I ended up enjoying it. The clouds and haze made photos a pain, but still nice.
We picked the right time though, as it was only just starting to get busy - the chaos we were in coming in had vastly worsened … Drank some tea for a bit instead and took a slow drive down the hill. The garbage everywhere was really upsetting me and makes me appreciate NZ that much more.
Passing through Rasht was annoying - the traffic was terrible and all the buildings had corrugated steel on their sides… to keep the water out… It was explained very matter-of-factly. Perhaps there are issues with water tightness in the concrete used (on account of it not raining much elsewhere), but I thought it was pretty stupid, and very, very ugly.
Saw my first glimpse of the Caspian through a navy base before stopping at a public beach (most are privately owned by hotels etc) and there was just garbage everywhere and the whole place was just really depressing. I had no expectations, but it was still disappointing. Everyone there seemed happy enough though - hanging out, swimming or playing volleyball with the lifeguards. A family came to talk to me for a bit, though their english was not great.
The whole ‘resort’ area was pretty tired. I asked Majid if this is what the other resort towns (without being specific) and he said that indeed it was. Found the hotel eventually and settled in for the night.
Got up early (not on purpose though) and went for a walk on the hotel’s beach. It was a bit tidier but I suspect you can’t stop it all from washing up. It was really eerie - gloomy still, full moon still visible, fog, abandoned looking playground with a squeaky gate I had to go though and very, very quiet. A pack of stray dogs at the other end of the beach. I took of my shoes and put my feet in the water because I’d probably regret it if I didn’t.