In the morning, I had to say goodbye two times. First to Rasul (who still didn’t smile for photos):
And then to Mohsen (who had to go back to the city):
Then I continued down the winding mountain roads:
Sometimes I saw fields of poppy flowers:
And sometimes I saw roads that weren’t mine to walk, and I felt sad that I could not walk them all:
Mine was this one, though, and it wasn’t too bad, either:
Sadly, it led back down to the highway, the grey tape with its cars and thundering trucks:
I found shelter from the sun and the noise in a pavilion that had been erected for people who wanted to pray:
Walking along the highway didn’t have much of the beauty and the quiet grandeur of the lonely mountain road. It was dry, loud, and often dangerous:
But one time I ran into a retiree who was riding his bicycle. He had brought a tiny elephant with him, a gift from his daughter, who was also a cyclist, he told me:
Alas, I failed to remember either of their names.
There was another road that was not going to be mine:
At the bottom of a long downhill slope, a group of taxi drivers were very amused by my sudden appearance:
They told me it was only about 5km to Ashkhaneh, the little town where I was going to spend the night in a hotel. And they said it would be an easy walk.
They were right:
The land had turned into a lush dark green, and again I found myself looking down a road that I was not going to take:
Then I arrived in Ashkhaneh:
There were a lot of shops, restaurants, and car workshops along the road through Ashkhaneh:
I walked past a little shoe stand:
And then I found the hotel where I was going to rest for a day or two:
I was still sulking about the roads that I hadn’t walked on today, until I realized that this was a big part of what The Longest Way was all about. Sure, The Longest Way was a way (and a road) of its own.
But it was also a road not taken.
360 degree video: