What was planned to set up camp at a lake and maybe a bit of off-road driving at lake Namak, northeast from Tehran turned out to be one of these stories only travelling will bring to you.
Once we found the road leading to lake Namak, we took it, drove through some deserted villages and finally on a straight road through sandy area. The sings at the beginning of the last part written in Persian didn’t mean anything to us. Nice riding, however just straight, an industrial building showed up at the horizon, we kept driving and once reaching it, all of a sudden a pick up truck blocked the road and 3 guys jumped out of the car talking fazi, checking our bikes and gps… we didn’t know what’s going on. Thinking of we might being robbed Beate decided to pass the guys and Daniel followed. Hence Pawel and Jendrik still with the guys talking and yelling, nothing serious after a few discussions and finally we understood that the road is closed and we have to turn around. Also Daniel and Beate understood, Jendrik had the police on the phone, they again told us the road was closed and we all turned around as being told so even though keen to get to know what would have come up behind the block…
We though that’s it… it wasn’t. After a break in the next village to figure out a place to sleep we decided to go to a hotel in Quom for the night instead sleeping at the lake and take the 300km detour. We drove off, stopped again for some water, all of a sudden a guy showed up and took pictures off us and our bikes. Pretty common I have to say but it was different this time. No selfies, no laughs, just pictures. He didn’t want to let Jendrik drive off but he went anyways. Driving for a few minutes we saw in the rear mirrors a car coming to us very quick and trying to make us stop… blocking the road, both indicators on. Starting again, trying to make us stop. We managed to get around for a while but at some point he had Jendrik blocked on the side of the road and got out of the car. Jendrik started to drive off again, the guy tried to pull out the key from his motorbike due to that Jendrik almost crashed. Why all that?
The guy didn’t speak a word England but demanded us all the time to stop and showed some weird looking ID. His friend or colleague at one intersection got out of the car and run to some cops on scooters. We drove off. No cops behind but still the guy, indicators on in his silver Peugeot Pars.
We all managed to drive away, he realized he wouldn’t get us and was just following us closely. Driving for about half an hour, not knowing what was going on, we finally found the hotel in Qom – one of the religious capitals in Iran. We all stopped in front of, the guy came to us but we denied to do anything until the police arrives.
Like usual many people came to us, taking pictures and finally also the police arrived. We still had no clue what was going on. Daniel went to reserve a room, coming back from the hotel lobby he saw at least 10 police men standing around us, also with this guy who followed us. Finally a serious looking police guy approached us and wanted to see our passport and insurance. After a bit of discussion we handed over our passports and obviously all our documents are ok. Even though we handed out random papers as „insurance“ for our motorbikes.
The police men told us to park the bikes in the garage and go to the hotel. We thought everything was done. Quite released, still hungry we went to our room, getting ready for dinner.
What was it? What did we do? Why did he follow us? No clue.
After having set in the room somebody knocks the door of our room. A police men with two guys from Irak – as translator – were standing in front and asked us to go the police station because the police has some questions. Why? We refused. He insisted that we have to go, we insisted we haven’t done anything wrong, want to eat and take a shower. We also invited the police man to ask the questions right away. Discussions… We finally agreed we will get 5 minutes to take a shower, he promised that it won’t take longer than 20 minutes at the police station and there is no problem – why should we go then?
Finally he asked us for our cameras. We agreed that we would keep our cameras in hands, and he can see that we don’t do anything with it, in the meantime we take a shower. So we did.
Daniel and Jendrik were ready to go with their cameras and the police guy to the police station. Suddenly also Beate and Pawel should come too. That wasn’t the deal we interfered. Again discussion. Talking to the police men we finally ended up all together in a police car with 2 cameras and a young police guy, driving crazy with sirens on, through Quom, to the police station. He wasn’t driving, he was flying. Scariest drive ever for all of us.
Having arrived at the station we were asked to sit down, don’t use our mobile phones and wait for what will happen. We also met back the guy who was following us and his young fellow smiling at us. We didn’t think it’s too funny…
All the police guys and the guy went to a room leaving us with waiting. What’s going on? We sat there. An hour or so had passed, we still sat there a young guy approach us to help translating. Didn’t help a lot as neither he would know what’s going on. Feeling a bit worried we now insisted to call the German embassy. Firstly they wouldn’t let us call, we insisted and got handed over a phone to contact the embassy which promptly reacted and called back a few minutes later to talk to the police. Actually without any results. It seemed nobody, neither us, the police, the guy nor the translator would know why we are here. By the way: still having the two cameras with us…
Another half hour passed, the embassy called again, talked to some people – no results. We insisted we got promised it would take only 20 minutes. Now 2 hours had passed. Finally we got called into the police boss office, a special agent came with us and we sat there. Again asking what was going on. Another call from the embassy – no results. Sitting there, we finally were asked to hand out our passports. Talking, discussions in fazi… what’s going on?
Our passports numbers were noted down, handwritten on a piece of paper. Wrong by the way, ok for us. What’s now? Nobody seemed to know. By now it was almost midnight and we still didn’t eat. We decided to just leave the room and pushing to let us go. After almost 3 hours finally they told us we were good to go.
Wait, what? What a show… we were told now that the guy who followed us would be arrested, they were embarrassed we had to come to the police and they will bring us now to back to the hotel. But why did we sit for 3 hours? We still don’t know.
Again back in the police car, again sirene on and even the special agent escorted us on his motorbike back to the hotel. By the way: Daniel still with the 2 cameras in his hands, nobody wanted to see these in the end.
The whole „thing“ cost us 4 hours. We called back to the German embassy everything is fine, had dinner end went to bed hoping it’s over. And it was.
Now we are kind of laughing about the whole story but there had been times we we were a bit worried. Not the nicest feeling being chased through a city by a random guy, being in a police station, not understanding the language, not knowing what is going on. Why did it all happen? Still no clue.
Props to the German embassy in Teheran which was on hold for us, trying to help. Felt good to have some support in this situation.
Our night in Qom the 2nd holiest City in Iran. We left very early the next morning…
Actually met a few other Iranian police during our trip, all were super friendly and helpful we have to say some just asked for a picture.