Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meeting up with the Caspian sea

Some days ago we descended to sea level. To be more concrete the level of the Caspian sea. I even dipped my finger in it. I had expected a saltier taste.
When we started this trip this sea shore was not included in our plan. Too far east, was the idea. But Akhbar, our host in Marand, suggested this detour and so now we're here.
It made us realize at how amazingly high altitudes we have been and for how amazingly long, for a month. I'll explain: the second day of this journey, now over a month ago, we entered Armenia at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level. After that we immediately ascended towards 1800 and untill today we never were lower than 1000 meters (this was Jerevan). Most of the time we were at 1300 plus, highest point 2300 plus. And today, nearly 40 kms after we had left Ardabil we were at 1600 altitude, there was a tunnel and then an extraordinary view expanded before our eyes: an immense deep and long valley, the decent towards the town of Astara on the Caspian see. Spectacular views, forgot to take a photo. Alps-like green slopes and a road winding down as far as our eyes could see. Descending we noticed that this region was more prosperous, nicer houses, numerous stalls selling fruit and stuff, especially mulberries, and more reastaurants than usual. Touristic, one would say.
When we were completely down we rode amidst rice paddies! Then there was Astara and the Caspian sea.
We will stay along this coast and ride soutward for a couple of days and then turn inland again.

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