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Life In Extra

Day 14 - Back home. Thanks Iran!

Leonardo Paolino,

Iran Bike Trip_Life in extra

Friday the 5th was set as our day of departure. 

In the morning, we put our luggage in order and arranged everything we had to arrange for our return to Italy. Even with all we had to do to prepare for the trip back, we still left plenty of time to make one last bike ride. We went through a path through the Shiraz suburbs where it was possible to have some fun while riding our mountain bikes.

In the evening, Yaghoob drove us to the airport in Shiraz where we had a domestic flight headed to the Tehran International Airport. From there we had a flight that would take us to Italy.  As scheduled, at 4am on Saturday 6th May we took our flight to return home.

Saying goodbye to Yaghoob brought a moment of nostalgia from our experience which was finally coming to an end. Within a few hours our whole environment would change as we headed back to Europe. Fortunately, the choice to leave and return on a Saturday had the great benefit of having enough time to rest and spend time with my family before returning to the office on Monday.



It feels a bit sad. After all, it is the end of our journey, the end of a beautiful adventure. When we arrived in Iran in the early days, we took some time to get to know the people we were meeting for the first time on arrival. We had Yaghoob, our guide, also Arash, our filmmaker who followed us throughout the journey, and Amin, the young man at the helm of the car that followed us along the various stages.

Staying with each other for past 16 days, there was surely friction between us. In the first few days, we were trying to get to know and learn from each other. We tried to find solutions that could benefit the common good, which isn't usually the best thing for some. We had to find compromises, a way to think along the same lines and make decisions on what places to see, our stays and everything else. It needed time. But nonetheless, after a short time, around the first 3-4 days, we relaxed and began to live and make decisions together, learning also to communicate better with Yaghoob and Amin who both supported us in this adventure.

During our stay in Iran, there were many times when we didn't stick to the plan. In fact, we frequently ran into some unexpected surprises. Despite that, it was probably the best part of the trip. Not having a definite agenda gave us the chance to go through things we did not expect. Along the way, we changed routes, and found new places to visit. We changed plans so often that it even happened several times on the same day. But this was a great opportunity to go beyond the traditional tourist sites.

We met incredible people, saw amazing places that were not so easy to visit if you are on a tour organized by a travel agency. We visited great cities like Tehran, and tiny villages lost in the mountains like Adoor, where we had the opportunity to visit the school set up inside the container and to talk and stay with the children who were inside it.



🇮🇹 Un #primomaggio un po' diverso dal solito. Siamo partiti da #Adoor e, dopo una breve sosta a #Margoon, abbiamo raggiunto la città di #Sisakht. Qui il racconto: https://media.extrasrl.it/lifeinextra/giorno-11-da-adoor-a-margoon.-il-nostro-primo-maggio-in-iran 🇬🇧 A First May a little bit different from usual. We started cycling from Adoor; after a brief stop in Margoon, we reached the city of Sisakht. You'll find the english version of the story as soon as possible! #iran🇮🇷 #iran #cycletour #cyclinglife #cycle #cyclingaddict #cycling #cyclist #bikinglife #biking #bike #nature #mountains #landscape #travelling #traveller #storyteller #storytelling #lifeinextra #iranbiketrip #iranbeauty #1415iran #iranphoto

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Something that will stay forever in my mind and in my heart, will be the smile of the people we met along our way.

One of the things that I will remember fondly, and which characterized the time we spent on the bike, will be the sound of the horn. In fact, 90% of the people who came from the other direction of the road we were pedaling in, sounded their horns in greeting every time they saw us. It was really nice to hear that sound and raise your hand to greet them in return.

Staying in my heart will also be the hospitality of the Iranian people. I have already experienced it several times during my previous trips to this country, but this trip cemented that. Iranians are a very open people. Sometimes you do not even have to ask. When you find yourself looking for something you need, you can be sure that they will be the ones to move first and offer you something you might need ... and they will never expect anything in return.



When we were hosted in some private homes, we made it a habit of donating some money. But even then, they don't ask for much and the best thing is that the hosts keep us company the whole time whether it is during breakfast or dinner or for smoking hookah with us. Everyone was delighted to be with us during our stay whether its the elderly or the children. At one time during the journey while we were sitting somewhere to rest, they even came to us and started talking to our Iranian friends and invited us to have tea in their house. The high level of Iranian hospitality is striking, even for a Southern Italian like me.

I will also remember the great landscapes. Iran is a really big country, with a geography that varies greatly from area to area and offers very different landscapes. We have gone from immense mountains to beautiful lakes, to much more.



The Iranian culture - this too, I shall carry it with me in my memories and in my heart. When I talk about culture I refer to the cultural heritage, their ways of dealing with people, their friendliness, their way of living and their traditions that are so embedded within them.

The last point I will remember are the children. I was able to perceive with my own eyes that Iran is a very young country with a low average age - something very different from Italy. I have seen mostly in the villages, but also in the cities, a lot of children and what I was impressed with is their energy and boldness.

At first glance, they may seem to be reluctant to approach and may seem aloof. But when they look at you, they possess a sense of dignity, despite the young age. However, once you approach them, they begin to smile and let their curiousity flow. They are very curious, and I will keep this curiosity in my heart as well.

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