lemon cake

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The heat wasn’t the problem. The heat combined with the humidity was. It felt like a steam bath. Just a few minutes after I left the hotel I was drenched in sweat.

The streets of Ramsar were empty:

villas in Ramsar

As you can see on the map, I tried to avoid the coastal highway as much as possible, going northwest from the city. I bought some peaches, and they were an explosion of savor:

peach?

Some of the villas in the hills next to the road were quite nice. This particular one reminded me a bit of Hundertwasser (zoom in to see the tilework):

“Hundertwasser” house

And then I was back on the highway. There was a cable car that lifted people up to a place in the mountains were the heat was apparently more bearable:

Ramsar cable car

They looked tempting, those mountains:

path to the mountains

But all I could do at this point was stay on the highway and look at them from the distance:

mountains near Ramsar

There were rivers coming out of the mountains and emptying into the Caspian Sea, and often the highway seemed to be the only place to cross them:

bridge

I sat down for lunch in a roadside restaurant. I ordered Ghormeh Sabzi, the standard Iranian dish:

Ghormeh Sabzi

It tasted different everywhere I went. And it always seemed to taste best when it wasn’t in a restaurant but at someone’s home.

I left the highway again after that. There was a road that led through the villages and to an ecolodge that I had spotted on the map.

There was a phenomenon in Iran where sometimes I saw portraits in car windows:

car window

The people in them had died.

I enjoyed being on the country road again. I saw little biker gangs:

biker gang

And since the road was difficult to find (even with a GPS), I got to talk to a lot of people and ask them for the way:

motorist

These two dudes appeared three times, first in a blue truck:

dudes

Then in a green truck.

And then in a grey car:

dudes in a different car

They wanted to make sure I was on the right way. And I also suspected that they liked riding around in different cars.

I bought some tomatoes in this little shop:

shop

And then I bought some bread in this bakery:

bakery

Then night fell:

nightfall

I had left the province of Mazandaran and entered Gilan. And the air smelled sweet like lemon cake.

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