71km Sa’adat Shahr to Haji Dad
Our police-sanctioned campsite wasn’t the quietest last night with trucks rumbling by throughout the night but we couldn’t knock the perks. The men working at the station brought us apples and showed us to the hot shower in the morning. What a treat to be able to wash off some road dirt, something we hadn’t expected until we reach Yazd in another four or five days.
A short distance down the road we reached Pasargarda, perhaps only second to Persepolis in the list of Iran’s most impressive archaeological sites. To tell the truth, we found it a bit underwhelming. The main attraction – the tomb of Cyrus the Great – is covered in scaffolding and other parts of the site are largely in ruins. Our guidebook says a large section of ancient columns were removed in 1971 so the then Shah could put in a helicopter landing pad for a party. How self-absorbed and what a shame for history! We found a smaller road to follow in the afternoon and it took us steadily upwards for quite a few kilometers through very remote territory. The ascent and a headwind made the pedalling hard work and by the time we found a spot for our tent in the late afternoon we were fairly tired. Supper was gobbled up quickly and then thoughts turned to our route tomorrow.
Our map shows a shortcut that would save us a day but after our experience up the goat track we’re sceptical about whether or not the road actually exists. We’ll have to seek local advice and maybe this time we’ll listen!