Monday, April 10, 2006

Included: Alamut Castle Trip

I received an e-mail from a lady regarding the travel story I sent them. That was the story of me and a friend travelling to Alamut Castle. Here's what she says:

Thank you for entering our Travel Story Contest. Your entry has been included in our contest and will be submitted to our jury after the contest closes. Feel free to send us additional stories as each contest entry will be judged on its own merit.

So I might send another one to them. I have different choices:

  1. Sabalan Mountain trip
  2. Siah-Lan Mountain and Caspian Sea trip
  3. Damavand Mountain trip (My 1st)
  4. Birjand solar eclipse trip
  5. Roodbar cycling trip
  6. Alam-Kuh Mountain trip
These are actually amongst many others and could be catchy. I will pick one and send in this week.And as I mentioned earlier, I post my travel story. That might be interesting to some. I add the story in two posts. Here is part one:

I and a friend decided to go and see Alamut Castle in Alborz Mountains, in a hot summer day. The castle is located in a remote area and is hard to be reached. The idea behind choosing such a distant mountainous location to build a castle is resistance. Alamut used to be an opposition resident when Mongolian Empire troops invaded Iran in 1227.
So we packed our backpacks and got a bus toward the city of Qazvin, an industrial and agricultural centre and also a historical city some 150 Km (94 miles) west of Tehran, the capital of Iran. Qazvin used to be the capital for years itself. When we arrived there, we found ourselves in the middle of a city riot! Smashed glasses and burnt tires were seen in the streets and we saw people were running away from police forces! People of Qazvin were demanding a new, independent and autonomous province of their own. That did not surprise us much as we already knew through the news in Tehran and were still determined to see the old castle. Thus we went to a bus depot in that chaotic situation and started looking for the mini-buses which usually commute between Rudbar Alamut, the mountainous area which comprises small villages and Qazvin.
We easily found one because the nearby bus depot was specifically assigned for that destination only as we found out later. Any commuter you get in, takes you to the area and you are on your on to the castle after that unless you find a ride from the mountaineers. We chose one and got in but had to wait until the mini-bus is full of passengers. Peasants usually take almost everything to the vehicle: from bundles of cloths to live chicken and sheep! Shortly after we started our trip on that uncomfortable mini-bus, we learnt that it would be a very long, boring and exhausting drive through the mountains. We continuously were going up and down and it was hot. Then we reached a bridge over Shah Rud River and decided to get off but had know idea how far we are from the castle. That was close to Zar Abad, a small mountainous village which is far from the castle.
Lake Evan which is a unique and beautiful lake and is fed through underground waters is one of the tourist attractions of Rudbar Alamut area and was close. So we continued our journey toward the lake. We asked the villagers about the lake and they guided us. We reached there in a few minutes and rested for a while. Lake Evan looks like a big pond at the bottom of a small valley and is surrounded by threes, small orchards and fields and further, high mountains circle it. We roamed around the lake, snacked and took a few photos and then encountered a group of young people who were there just like us to enjoy the beautiful nature. The guys had alcoholic beverages with them and wanted to party. We both were doubtful to join them or not as they invited us to join and finally decided not to. Then we determined to cross a high mountain at the east side of the lake and get ourselves to the other side and camp. That looked like a shortcut to us.
The mountain was so hard to climb and the rocks mostly scattered while we were stepping on them trying to go up. It was almost the time sun was hiding behind the mountains by the time we reached to a flat-like part. We had only one flash light and we were tired so decided to spend the night there. Although it was a day of July but in mountainous area of Alborz and in that altitude everything gets cold fast. We tried to set fire while there was nothing to be burnt but few small bushes around us. They get fire easily and burnt without making much heat quickly. I had my sleeping bag but my friend did not have anything like that There was only his cloths and one extra windbreaker. He put everything on and we tried to sleep for a few hours. The rocks and planets beneath us and the slope were other barriers to sleep. But that was not only it. Shortly after we lay down and it became completely dark, we noticed that there is an air corridor right above us! Planes were passing by almost every 20 minutes, going to Europe! And in that silent mountain that was only engines’ roar and wind’s howl we were hearing which was enough to prevent us from a deep, relaxed sleep.
... to be continued

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