-22 degrees, sleeping outside and most importantly reaching our fundraising goal. Read how we went through the coldest area of Turkey while cycling to Iran and what’s next after reaching our fundraising goal…
Feeling home away from home
When we arrived in Istanbul, we had spent roughly 4 months on a bicycle without any previous experience nor bicycle knowledge in general. It only took one night in a comfortable bed to realize how much we needed a break. It felt good to escape from our new-won routine of sitting on a bicycle and trying to find a different camping spot every day. But knowing that our loved ones are going to spend the next two weeks with us felt best about this break. After 5 months of not seeing them, we couldn’t wait to see them and to spend some quality time together. A few days of exploring the city without our bicycles later it was time for Christmas. Together we prepared a traditional German Christmas dish, listened to Christmas songs and enjoyed some delicious red wine. 2 weeks later it was time to say goodbye. Fully charged with new energy we were ready to be back on the road and to tackle the upcoming 9000km to Beijing.
A place from another world
Before we left Berlin, we spent a tremendous time researching places worth visiting along the way. Having nailed down our favorites spots there was one place that stood out. Cappadocia. Cycling to Cappadocia wasn’t the most direct route to Iran by any means but the stories and pictures we had seen promised a one in a lifetime experience. Needless to say, our expectations were as high as they get. When we arrived, we were blown away by the magnitude of it all. Not even in our wildest dreams had we imagined what we were seeing. A place so picturesque and full of beauty, words alone are not enough to describe it. Cappadocia’s landscape was shaped by millions of years of erosion. A few thousand years ago though, humans took a cue from mother nature and started to carve a network of caves, houses, and places of worship into the soft rock. The results are entire cities hidden underground. We were wandering around, gazing at hundreds of air balloons taking off when suddenly it started snowing. The next morning, we woke up and couldn’t believe what we were seeing. In only one-night Cappadocia had turned into a winter wonderland form another world. It was breathtaking and nothing we had ever seen before.
Surrounded by mountains
A few days later it was time to make our way towards the mountains. The further we cycled, the colder it got. The locals we met just called us crazy. “Too much snow” or “Too dangerous” were things we were told day by day. We were aware of the cold which was laying ahead of us but the pass through the mountains was the only way to Iran without cycling near the Syrian border. Minus 22 degrees turned sleeping in our tent into pure suffering and not much enjoyment. Never have we been so cold before. Thanks to our great equipment we survived the cold without getting sick. (See our packing list here) During the day we cycled as much as we can to stay warm. At night we looked for shelter in mosques and small tea houses. Cycling all the way up to an altitude of 2400m we needed a break from exhausting only to end up enjoying the silence in the mountains. The snowy landscape and the warmth of people in this area of Turkey are unique. Yet we cannot wait for winter to be over.
Cycling to Iran
Until we could enter Iran we needed to wait 30km before the border for our visa to be ready. 3 days later the wait is over. We are cycling to Iran. Even before the beginning of our journey, Iran has been one of the countries we had been looking forward to the most. It felt exhilarating to finally cycling to Iran. After 50km of lonely roads and mountains as far as the eyes can see, we arrived at the Iranian border. A last military checkpoint and some questions regarding our stay and we officially did it. We cycled to Iran!
Fundraising goal reached
Honestly, we have no words to describe how we feel. Even a few days after we are still processing what has happened. 5 months after leaving Berlin we have reached our fundraising goal. No one believed we could do it and yet, here we are. Together with 1400 donors and over 15.000 supporters, we have collected enough funds to build a school for 400 children. We could not be more grateful for your support to bring more social in social media. The biggest THANK YOU to all of you! Before the question arises what’s next: Indeed, it was never about cycling but always about building this school. Stopping now, before arriving in Beijing isn’t an option for us. Or at least none we are willing to take. That’s why we decided to keep on cycling and aim for another school.
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