My name is Markus, 37 years old, I am living in Munich (Germany) and I am working for a german company named MAN.
It is a great honour for me to report you from a trip to your country that I undertook together with a cousin of mine (Anton) and a friend of France (Jean-Francois).
Shelter at Sarakchal
Descending to Shemshak, meeting mountaineers from Tehran
A lot of people in Germany asked us, why we want to go to Iran, a country that is thought dangerous and not appropriate for tourism. The reason for this trip was, that Jean-Francois is married to a woman from Tehran named Simin and that he wanted to climb mount Damavand with skis.
Descending to Shemshak
Damavand – start to camp 3
I already knew a few people from Iran from my university but otherwise I had no imagination of this country. But the more books I read about Iran and the Iranian society the more I wanted to go there. After a lot of organisation and preparation we started our trip on 2nd of April 2012.
Arriving at Gusfandsara
Between Gusfandsara and camp 3
The first day we spent in Shariar for buying some stuff we needed in the mountains. One day later we went to Shemshak for acclimatisation. We knew that there is a shelter on mount Sarakchal, but we didn’t know if it still existed or if we would find it. We were very satisfied when we finally detected the shelter in about 3600 meters. There we spent 2 nights and climbed some surrounding mountains.
Starting to Damavand summit
On the way to Damavand summit
When we descended we immediately proceeded to Polour in order to go to Camp 3 on the following day. Unfortunately the weather was very bad on this day with snow showers still down in the valley. Also the forecast predicted snow for the following six days except the next morning. So we made short decisions and started at 3 pm from 2400m to ascend to camp 3 where we arrived at about 9 pm. The next day we started at 5 am to walk up to the summit. The weather was splendid! Physically I felt very good in this morning and I was quite sure that I wouldn’t have many difficulties in going to the summit. But I didn’t take into consideration that in a certain altitude there are other rules that count. The altitude sicknesss stroke me down without warning from one second to the other. I had sight disorder, imbalance and whilst descending I lost consciousness several times. I was very glad when I was back at camp 3 but I was not able to descend to Polour the same day. We went down the next morning. I feel quite ok now then.
(Anton reached the summit after 7 hours. We had 30 cm fresh snow with ice crust built up through the strong wind. Jean-Francois returned 150m below the summit.)
Relaxing in Esfahan
After this adventure we spent one day in Tehran and after that Anton and I proceeded to Esfahan because Jean-Francois and Simin had to return to Paris, France. We were fascinated from the beauty of this city! The mosques, the palaces, the bridges, the places and the parks! We have never seen anything compatible! I read much about this city but never imagined it so beautiful! After Esfahan we went to Yazd, one of the oldest cities on earth. We stayed in a cheap hotel in the old town. Probably the oldest hotel on earth, I don’t know…! Around Yazd we visited Meybod, Chak-Chak, Kharanaq.
After Damavand I thought about trying to ascend this mountain once again at the end of our journey. But as my sight disorder didn’t improve and as we still had a few days left, we decided to go to Shiraz and visit Persepolis, the symbol of ancient powerful Persia. All pupils in our country learn in school about Cyrus, Darios, Xerxes,… and the ancient history. So why not visit those historic places live?! When we arrived in Shiraz we arranged our Persepolis trip for the next day. At the same time Anton and I have been quite satisfied with the cities. We wanted to spend one day out in nature but we didn’t have any maps of the Zagros mountains and so we contacted the Trip-to-Persia agency in order to get information about possible mountain trips. Arranged through Arash we made a hike near Shiraz led by Shapour, Shahnam and Farzad. And this for sure was one of our best experiences in Iran. Our guides made it an unforgettable trip to those beautiful mountains and they even invited us for dinner the next day. We really enjoyed that and we were very glad and also proud to have met new friends in Shiraz!
With our friends of Shiraz
Looking back to this journey of course there are a lot of very good memories about the cities and landscapes. But what fascinated us most was the people we met. We have never been in a country with such a great hospitality! We never met people that are so kind but also unobtrusive. This for sure is the most positive impression we got in Iran!
Every person I meet here in Germany that asks me about my travel to Iran I will first report about the kindliness, politeness and open-mindedness of the Iranian people! There are a lot of prejudices and I hope that with our experiences and our reports we can contribute a little bit, that the people around the world start to see the people of Iran as they are: peaceful and with a great heart!
Our friends, we really hope that we will meet again somewhere in the future! May it be in Iran or in Germany. If you come to our country we will try to welcome you with the same hospitality as you did when we met in Shiraz!
Anton and I wish you all the best! Hope to see you again!
Publication: Shapour Amrollahi