booms out at us at the border. a friendly atmosphere welcomes us and a smiling gentleman fills luk’s little hands with nuts and chocolate candies.

in the following months we will meet many iranians whose biggest concern is to take care of us and leave a perfect picture of the country. litres of strong tea flow into flowered cups, luk’s hands pile up daily with sweet fruits and toys, invitations to eat and stay overnight are euphorically poured out and god’s protection is without doubt always at our side.
the consistently positive, exuberant contact almost overwhelms us and partly dilutes the air of freedom. whoever appreciates autonomy and being alone is fighting a losing battle here.
so in our family the joy about the country is divided into two camps. while the male part enjoys unstoppable attention and hospitality, the opposite side becomes more and more tired of the restricting kindness and the rules-of-dress dictates. an inauspicious environment for places of retreat and especially our rolling house turns out to be an absolute magnet of communication.

with friends we drive into the desert, far away from the busy urban life. fluently defined gold dunes of all sizes await us. we stick our feet into the sun-drenched, delicate sand. we hop up and down the slopes, sit on mother earth while the pearls trickle through our fingers.
in the evening, when the plates are filled with delicious shakshouka, a dish of israeli cuisine, we circle the warming campfire in a relaxed mood.
out of the darkness a car comes along. a young couple moves to the light, is curious where we come from and proceeds to ask about our alcohol supplies.
because of the strict, country-wide prohibition we are not in possession of alcohol, we give as an honest answer. the man smiles, goes to the car and brings a big bottle of home-made fig brandy. the couple says goodbye and wishes us a good time.
we end our desert trip with a walk in the sunshine to the adjacent salt lake. luk fills a big bag with coarse salt. a storm comes up and the clearly defined sand dunes dissolve into thousands of particles. the flying veil whips in our faces. our eyes burn.
without visibility we move on to persepolis, the city of the persians.
a lastingly impressive historical place, which ultimately fell into the hands of Alexander the Great. the successful reconstruction of individual sites gives us a visual impression of the pomp and engineering of over 2500 years ago.

shortly before shiraz our car screams in the highest tones and we just make it to mr. reeza’s garage. the tall, charismatic elderly man with pale blue eyes is pulling at his wild mane. the toothed belt was almost torn, that would have been the end for you, he shouts.
until the belt comes over from dubai, we stand motionless in front of his workshop. now mrs. reeza picks up the torch.
lunch follows breakfast, dinner follows lunch, in between there’s tea, candy and cookies. the parrot babbles whatever comes into its head and mrs. reeza always conjures little presents for luk out of her sleeve. from the first minute on, she has taken him and us into her heart, but we feel that this catering thing is not one of her favourite tasks.
several times we try to make her understand that this is not necessary. she deliberately ignores it.
the situation becomes more complicated when the family of the second mechanic joins in and wants to take over the reins. we are caught between two stools. double breakfast, double invitations, double sightseeing – but only once for lea, luk and paul. it’s complicated if you don’t want to offend anyone.

finally the new toothed belt is in place and with it the bumblebees in our bums. as a farewell present we are presented with bulging bags of delicious sweets, spices, tea, cigarettes and homemade wine.
mrs. reeza waves, cries and touches our hearts.

we move further south, free view as far as the eye can see, steppe-like hilly landscape up to the horizon. in vain the eye looks for a house, several houses or even a town. it captures nothing but intangible vastness and nature.
just before we leave for pakistan, we pamper ourselves with relaxing days on queshm, the country’s holiday island, of which the inhabitants are so proud. elongated like a chewing gum, the isola lies southwest of bandar abbas.
looking for a washing machine we meet an incredibly pleasant german-iranian couple who run a restaurant and hotel on the beach. with ali we enjoy the best kebap and accompany him on his errands. through annelie we learn more about the culture on the island and how it is to be a german woman living in iran.
we spend the days around december 24th with two cherished families with truck. we open the doors and roll out the carpets. sun, sand and beach, all for us alone. the children play in the open air, we mum and we dad are relaxed, no stress, just being.
christmas day brings us a visit from a passing camel herd, yoga in complete serenity, a gift of tuna from the fish market and a christmas child who even flies to iran. in the evening we sit barefoot and headscarf-free at our beach table, the lights are burning, the fish is simmering over the fire and the glasses are filled with wine. the combination of the informally solemn and the wonderfully harmonious makes for a unique holy evening.
at night, when everything in bed is at rest, the fluorescent plankton whirls around our bodies and we rejoice like children.


reconciled, we move on to the east, but the next iranian holiday will definitely be a men’s holiday.