It might sound like i'm repeating myself on the subject of the Iranian visa, but we went along on Monday 13th and we still weren't able to pick them up. We couldn't have been more prepared to start cycling on Monday morning, we were ready to go. All we had to do was nip to the Embassy, give them the visa codes that we'd paid 45 euros for, hand them 80 Euros more for the actual visas each, pick them up, and then go...or so we thought.
We arrived at the Embassy nice and early Monday morning, and was handed a queue number & a visa application form each to fill out. 15 minutes later we were called to one of the counters, where we handed over our application form and codes. The man typed in our codes on his computer and up came our names - all good so far. He then told us the price - 180 Euros...for a 30 day visa! 100 more than we expected. Next he informed us that it would take three days to issue - so we would have to wait til Thursday 16th Jan to pick them up - another three nights paying for a hostel. Then came the big blow...
"Which airport are you flying into?"
"We're not, we'll be cycling into Iran" we replied.
"Ahhh, ok. Well there's a problem then - I can't issue you a visa"
"We don't allow it, dangerous roads" A colleague then distracted him, and he had to go off and sort something out while we waited. Dan & I were left there gutted. Not only is Iran the country we are both most excited about, it's also almost the only route through the Middle East from Turkey heading East. A minute later he was back again. We asked if there's anything that could be done, to which he replied...
"Well, there are a couple ways that you could maybe still get a visa"
"One way is if you were to get a bus over the border."
"The other way is if you were angry about not getting a visa..."
Odd. He then got distracted again by another colleague, so Dan & I were able to have a quick team talk where we tried working out what we needed to do, we were both a bit confused though. He stopped talking to his colleague and turned around again to face us...
"Umm, we have decided that we will get a bus over the border...and...we are very, very, angry about all of this."
"Ok, I see. That should be fine then."
We handed him our passports and application forms, we were told where to pay and for us come back on Thursday and they will be ready. Pheww. We returned three days later and finally, after a 15 day wait, lots of Emails, multiple trips to the Embassy, 225 Euros and around 50 kebabs we now had a passport each with an Iranian Visa inside!
I've been here for 3 weeks now - the longest I've ever spent in one hostel, and it's beginning to feel like home. As cheap as Mavi Guesthouse is though, it's costing me a fortune compared to the usual wild camping throughout this trip, and for the sake of my budget and for the love of passing slowly through a country, I'm itching to get going again and so is Daniel. However, stopping in one place for so long has meant that we have met lots of great people and for long enough to actually become friends. When you are constantly moving from place to place you often meet people that you instantly get along with, just for you to have to say goodbye a day, or an hour, or a minute later.