We reached Yazd yesterday morning after a stop in Abarqu the night before on the route 150 km from Yazd. Abarqu was a pleasant surprise : This tiny city is lost in the middle of the flat desert : no mountains in that part of Iran...well, a tiny part because 70 kms later we were riding adjacent to a 4 000 meters high summit not far from Yazd.
Abarqu has the oldest Cypree tree in Iran (4 000 years old), and houses and buildings made in cob (most of the old houses in the desert in Iran are made like this). We had our first night in our tent...in the middle of the well kept garden/park in the city center! It may seem weird and maybe a little dangerous to people outside Iran, but it was totally safe : other people were camping there as well (families mainly). Special spots were even dedicated for the camping. Green grass, nice trees! Toilets and water were there at our disposal as well. Camping seems to be something inherant to the Iranian culture (probably coming from the important population of nomads present before and still today). We found a lot of camping gear (tents, gaz stove, etc.) in shops here! By the way, water is drinkable in most of Iran and we found a lot of points/fountains in all the cities we visited where the water was fresh and delicious (tasted much better than indian Bisleri! Not too hard as some of you people living in India would say!).
Yazd is a good example of the ingenious irrigation system put in place in Iran for hundreds of years and that is still predominant here : it is called Qanat. It is basically water channels digged underground from the mountains that run underneath the cities. The water is stocked into reservoirs. I ll put later some pictures of Yazd (no USB connection available here) so you can picture more the reservoirs, the made in cob houses and street walls, etc. For your (Adri's father) information: 1 Liter of petrol (Super 95/98) in Iran : 5 000 Rials (or 500 Tomans...same same and not different!) = 35 cents of EUR. Four times the price it is worth in Iran because we do not have the smartcard vehicle owners have here (there is a quota system). They have to insert that card into the petrolpump everytime they want to refill their tank. More expensive ok, but nothing compared with the 1,50 EUR you have to pay nowadays in Europe or the 90 cents EUR it is worth in India.
We will watch France play against Italy tonight at the Euro cup. Iranian are mad about football. All the games are aired on one of the national channels. A lot of people we meet tell us with a big smile : "Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, or Franck Ribery is muslim, or Platini". Actually in the past days after the awfull game we played against Holland, they are not saying much about the French team and that is better (it avoids us the shame!) Tomorrow early morning (6 am) we are taking the road to Ispahan, which is the most touristic city in Iran (a must-do-before-you-die dear Thomas!) where you can find the second largest square in the world (after the one in Beijing) : it has been called La moitie du monde (Half of the world) by some Frenchie some time back...
Ps: Clemence, thanks for the antibiotics, they are helping fight my tonsilitis :(