Today we have a 280 km drive to the border town of Maku. Before we leave the hotel the MG Media Motors boys, Mohammed & Hussein present each of us with a beautiful framed certificate commemorating our trip in our MG’s through Iran. This is a lovely thoughtful gift and a wonderful Iranian keep sake.
Driving out of Urmieh there are beautiful murals in an underpass & more incredible roundabouts with ship and dolphins.
We drive to the city of Khoy, that has streets blocked off as there is a protest by the local people against the way the USA is treating Palestine, so it takes us a while to navigate around this. We stop at Shams Tabrizi tomb with a minaret that is decorated with rams horns and have our morning tea. We strike up a conversation with a local teacher and his young son who tells us about this place.
We drive through an area that has many fields planted with sunflowers, presumably for the seeds as there are many sunflower seeds for sale. It will be beautiful in a few weeks when they all start to flower.
We continue our drive through dramatic scenery on great MG roads.
We stop in a small village and Hesam negotiates with the farmer for us to have a BBQ lunch in one of their fields. We negotiate the walk in through the plants being careful not to trample any if the vegetables.
Hesam, Mohammed & Hussein find some rocks and build a small fireplace that they fill with coals that they have brought with them. They gather some small pieces of wood that they place on top & then they light it.
The people working the fields are oblivious to our presence and continue their daily work.
While the fire gets going chicken pieces and wings are threaded onto long skewers that are placed over the coals. The fire is fanned to get more heat into the coals and the chicken cooks really quickly. Tomatoes and large green chillies are also threaded onto skewers and these are also placed onto the fire. Whole heads of garlic are placed into the coals to heat up. They have also brought a packet of crispy bread and some plain yogurt with them. We sit on our MG rugs or chairs next to the irrigation channel under the shade of some trees and eat the chicken and vegetables with the bread & yogurt, it is delicious.
They have also brought some fruit to complete our wonderful lunch. This will be one of our most memorable lunches of our trip, thanks to Hesam and the MG boys. Walking back to our cars we come across a green frog that seems to be upset by us disturbing his peaceful environment.
Back on the road we leave this quiet little village after causing a bit of excitement with the residents.
We stop at St Thaddeus Monastery that is in a tiny village surrounded by farmland with sheep & goats wandering everywhere. St Thaddeus Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in the world and in late July is the site of a 3 day pilgrimage of Armenian people from neighbouring countries. The building is in excellent condition considering it was built in 68 AD but restored in 1329 after it was destroyed in an earthquake. There are carvings of saints such as St George with the dragon.
We complete our drive to the border town of Maku where we have our final evening meal with Pat & David as they are not continuing on to Turkey, but are going to Tehran with Hesam. They will organise the shipping of Ginger back to Australia over the next few days and then fly home to Melbourne. They plan to repair Ginger and get her back on the road again. We will miss them as we’ve been a cohesive team of 16 until now.