Category Archives: Travel Reports


We entered Pakistan at Taftan, the border that lies directly under Afghanistan. The differences between Iran and Pakistan were more than clear, it was like stepping into a whole new world!

Scarf off, cool English accent, spices, dark skin, goats, rickshaws, colors, trashes, smiling people everywhere, bikes, donkeys, fruits and horses – all in an incredible mix! When we had crossed the border to Taftan, we were immediately sent off to the local Levi Force station. There was no chance we could hitchhike anywhere, because of the security situation around the Afghanistan border. We wanted to get to Quetta, and the only way to get there was with an armed guard from the Levi Force and on a bus. We love the fact that Pakistan accepts tourists at that border even though they believe that the security situation is not perfectly safe.

The Levi Force treated us really good. The bought us dinner and arranged a room where we could spend the night before departure to Quetta. Our guard even stayed in the room next to us, and bought us breakfast in the morning. All this for free!

This was our first experience of not hitchhiking during the whole trip, and of course that made our impressions a bit different. But a bus ride itself is quite a show in Pakistan. The buses and trucks all as colorful as circus caravans with all sorts of beautiful decorations. All these colors makes Pakistan a joy to visit! Not too many people do though – during our two weeks in the country we saw only one other person who we suspect might have been European.

Anyhow, we could finally compare hitchhiking with traveling by public transport and found ourselves a bit more worried about our luggage, our safety and our trust in people than we ever do while hitchhiking. Interesting, since people always warn us and tell us hitchhiking would be very dangerous. We missed the close contact to the driver and the exclusive time in the car that we are so used to. Maybe this is why people without any experience are so afraid of hitchhiking? If you’ve only traveled by bus you might think hitchhiking will be the same, that you know nothing about who you’re going with etc. Though our experience is the complete opposite.

Not only did we have a guard, our bus was also escorted by police cars in the front AND in the back. The drove with blue lights on, and we thought to ourselves that if anybody actually wanted to hurt us, they would know for sure where we were…

We arrived safely in Quetta, one of the major cities in the Balochistan region. It was a unique experience for us. Quetta had the hectic pulse of a big city, but the looks of a real country village with more motorbikes and carriages than cars. We made some new friends in a juice bar who insisted on buying us something to drink. Nice to meet you, friends!

Old man making chai

Next stop was Lahore, on the border to India. We knew by then that we wouldn’t make it into India, but we wanted to go as far as possible. But not even this time could we hitchhiked. The hotel where we stayed in Quetta required to get info about where we were going and when, and we’re not talking about “Um… Probably at some time tomorrow”, we’re talking about what time out bus would leave and what company we traveled with. No hitchhiking for us!

Lahore was a nice city and we met many helpful people. We always felt like a walking attraction as the only tourists in town, but even more so when we went to Lahore Zoo. We took pictures of the animals. The Pakistanis took pictures of us. Entrance: 1 Euro cent.

Now, how do we even try to describe the street life in Lahore? So close to India, and yet so unknown when it comes to tourism. Lahore was different from everything we’ve seen throughout this journey. Every social habit know to human kind seems to take place in the streets. People eat, do their food shopping, pee, get their haircuts and keep their animals in the same spot. Funny, dirty, intense, friendly, to mention some reactions to the Pakistani lifestyle. We were also impressed to see how hard people work. Everybody is busy, one way or another. There is no sitting around, or complaining. We saw plenty of camps along the roads for people who lost their homes in the floods last years. The electricity goes out at least three times a day for those who have any access to it. All these comforts that we take for granted. But people don’t complain.

Karachi, the biggest city in Pakistan became our last stop before flying home. It was a very different atmosphere compared to Lahore and Quetta. Modern, tall buildings and less animals. Karachi is SO BIG! Luckily we got well taken care of by some new found friends. proved itself once again to be an amazing network. This time we stayed with three new friends, one night each; Moiz, Fasahat, and Ayesha. Together with some other Couchsurfers we got invited to a great party arranged by Khawar, another member of CS. He rented a boat, filled it with CouchSurfers, food and Coca Cola and it was so much fun! Certainly the best CS meeting we’ve ever been to. You people have a rare enthusiasm and a drive filled of love. THANK YOU!

Moiz arranged a meeting for us with a guy who studied Sufism, which is an Islamic sect. He also brought us to the “Dance for a Cause”, where we arranged the Chicken Dance. Fasahat brought us to his family and connected us with his colleges at the TV channel where he works and Ayesha invited us to her family. It was an honor to be the first CS experience for her nice family who brought us out for dinner. We want to thank all of you for making our time in Karachi a great end of this journey. We almost didn’t want to leave!

Thank you / Shukria:

  • Levi Force in Taftan who secured our ride through Balochistan
  • Beebarg and Ali for the juice and the nice talk in Quetta!
  • Moiz who hosted us and introduced us to lots of nice people in Karachi. We really appreciate it!
  • Fasahat who also hosted us and took very well care of us!
  • Ayesha with family who took us out for dinner and let us stay over. So much fun!
  • Khawar who arranged the nicest CS meeting we’ve ever been to.
  • All the other members of CS in Karachi, it was great meeting you!
  • The Sufi member who taught us about sufism.

See you again during the Mango season, friends!


We came, we saw, we wondered?

Things aren’t as they sound in Iran, or are they? We thought we would enter the scariest country in the world, while in fact we met one of the friendliest. We’re writing this travel report in a hotel room that we didn’t pay for. Our latest Iranian friend did. Eating tangerines that he supplied us with.

And at the same time, women do NEED to wear a head scarf in this country. It IS illegal to dance in public. And citizens DO get killed without any trial. It’s all very confusing…

We entered Iran up in the north-west city Piranshar. It’s a Kurdish city, and right at the border we met a guy who drove us to town and invited us to his home. We stayed there for the night, ate with his family and slept in his brother’s room.
Invitations in Iran happens all the time… the people are eager to show foreigners and tourists that they indeed are much friendlier than their government. And they really do succeed in this attempt.

In Iran there are several ethnic groups. One thing unites them though: no matter what group a person has belonged to, they have all expressed their wish for a more free and liberal Iran. And they have all helped us in any way they could.

After Piranshar we went to Tabriz. This was the first time we saw a local bus with separated areas for men and women. That was… interesting! We also noticed that all the women weared head scarfs, but most of them wore them in very creative ways! The most creative ones doesn’t show much scarf, but a very beautiful hair style, combined with the latest fashion.
In Tabriz we visited two families, and they showed us Iranian customs and told us where to go in Tabriz. Thank you friends!

Two Turkish truck-drivers took us to Iran’s capital city Tehran after two days in Tabriz. In Tehran we ran into one of the most disgusting things we’ve ever seen during this trip. In their fast food restaurants they serve…BRAIN! Plain brain with tomato slices on top. Apparently the brain of sheep is a real delicacy. We’re not gourmet enough to try, and this made us really suspicious about the rest of the food that we ate during our stay.

This suspicion was rather sound, unfortunatly: On several occasions (we always order vegetarian) we’ve been served a soup, stew or something else and it has contained… lots of meat! ”It’s only a LITTLE chicken, low meat, don’t worry about it!”. Several times when we asked for vegetarian and has troughoutly explained that it means ”No chicken, no cow, no lamb, no fish. Cluck-cluck-cluck NO! Moooo NO! Baaaah NO! Fishy-hand-movement NO!” the waiter has answered – ”Kebab? No rice- OK.?”.

However, we tried arranging the Chicken Dance in Tehran. And this is when we learned that it is forbidden for girls and boys to dance together in public. We succeeded in a very different way later on.

The nature of Iran is stunning. It’s clean, it’s bright and it’s marvelous. It’s worth visiting Iran just to catch a glimpse of the amazing scenary that you’ll find here. The mountains are high in the North, but somehow they still do manage to build their roads flat… You won’t get car sick as you might do in Turkey for example.

We spent a few days in three smaller cities: Esfahan, Yazd and Kerman. They all have historical sites and buildings, but that’s not why we travel. No, we travel to meet people! And met people we did. We had a picnic with a nice family (and their extended family) in Esfahan. We hitchhiked with a rather doubtful college researcher who we later became great friends with. We got invited to stay with a few movie lovers (”Who’s the greatest actor, Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?”).

And we got help arranging the Chicken Dance. With that being said, people have been so nice to us.

Islam in Iran is different from Islam in Turkey or Syria, for instance. In Iran, both women and men visit the main room in the Mosque, and only a curtain divides them. In Iran some muslims only pray three times a day, instead of five. Somehow they manage to compress five times into three. The mosques are really worth seeing, it’s art!

We’ll probably visit Iran at some point, but that will be after the unavoidable revolution that is to come. Inshallah! Some of the people that we’ve met in Iran have had the guts to complain about their limitations and lack of freedom. Few seems to be happy with how it is now. We bring with us the impression of a well-educated people, dressed in proper fashionable clothes longing to throw the scarfs and being able to enjoy the freedom like other countries do.

We do however believe that more people should visit Iran. It is good for the people, the country and it helps understanding the difficulties that the people of Iran are facing.

Merci / Thank you

  • Ali with family, who drove us from the border and invited us to their home.
  • Ahmed who drove us from Piranshar to Nagadhi.
  • Taher who showed us the ancient hill.
  • Jahvat who drove us from the hill to Orumieh
  • Torech and Sassan who bought us pizza in Orumieh!
  • Sadek who drove us from Orumieh to Tabriz.
  • Ilan who drove us from Tabriz to Tehran.
  • Esma who drove us from Tehran to the freeway.
  • Majid who drove us from the freeway to Qum.
  • Mehran who drove us from Qum to Esfahan.
  • Yusuf with family who invited us for picnic in Esfahan.
  • Ali who drove us from Esfahan to Yazd and also invited us for dinner.
  • Lucy and Mohammed who drove us from Yazd to Mersin and bought us lunch.
  • Abulfaz who took us a few kilometers from Mersin to an unknown place.
  • Sayid who drove us to Kerman.
  • MJ, Hussein and Ali for a great time and for being awesome!
  • Maran who drove us from Kerman half way to Bam.
  • Reza and Mohammad who drove us the other half to Bam.
  • Mehedi who drove us from Bam to Fujah, until we hit a sand storm.
  • The afghan guy who drove us from Fujah to Zahedan.
  • Nasr, Mansoor and their family for a great night in their home in Zahedan and the beautiful clothes!
  • Hamid with family for inviting us for lunch (even though it was breakfast), got us a hotel room and showed us around town.
  • The three guys who took us out for pizza at the end of our visit in Iran. It was a great night, and we were very happy to meet you!

Thank you for being a part of our story, experience and relationship to Iran.
You made it unforgettable!


We spent 8 hours on the border from Turkey, and therefore had lots of time to look forward to the Syrian culture.
What we most looked forward to was probably the food.
At the border we had some incredible tasty fresh juice, and afterwards we knew we could spend days being stranded there if we only could have more of that once we got into Syria.

But finally we entered. It was already around 11 pm, and the first thing that happened was that we got a free ride… with a taxi! Imagine how much we loved Syria right from the start…

Read the whole story!