26th of July 2017 (4 Mordad 1396) 36°C, clear sky and no wind. Woke up at 5h30am again… and headed to Kalaybar, the starting point to explore the Babak Castle, a place of pilgrimage for the Iranian ethnic Turks (a.k.a Azeris), the stronghold of Babak Khorramdin, the leader of the Khurramites in Azarbaijan who fought the Islamic caliphate of Abbassids for more than twenty years (816-837AD).
The castle is nested on the top of an impressive mountain, 2600m height, surrounded by cliffs, being accessible only on foot. On the way up, 1Km of stairs, met two really cool young Iranian Turks, Behzad and Milad, English teachers both of them. We ended up having lunch together and spending the afternoon smoking waterpipe and listening to Behzad playing traditional Turk music. Of course we spoke a lot too, they were eager to expose the government atrocities, particularly against the Turks, and I was eager to listen… I learned that they are forced to learn Persian and to renounce to their traditions (although ethnic Turks represent 25% of the population); that the Turks don’t like the Kurds, and vice-versa; that the Persians support the Kurds (namely the PKK) against the Turks, even though they don’t like anyone, for they are the superior race (Aryan race, yes, as in Hitler’s Nazism); also learned that in Iran it is fordiden to sing or to play musical instruments (even though they listen to the radio), as well as to play cards; smoking is not socialy acceptable (even though almost everybody does it); that for the state officials (like Behzad and Milad) it’s very hard to get a passport; and that “handjobs are very bad for your health”… amongst mamy other things. They were also very interested to know about the love life of the Europeans… I’m afraid I tear their world apart…
To go from town to town the Iranians usually don’t have buses, instead they use shared taxis, therefore it was one of those that I took to my next destination, Meshginshahr.
PS: my compression bag valve just broke and now my clothes don’t fit inside the backpack… :-\