Dumper trucks, tractors and when a roof becomes a floor...

Kang Travel Blog

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People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Vali (Iran)

Vali, Julia and I congregated for breakfast at 07.45 on Friday morning, eager to get the day started. Ever since arriving into Mashhad, Vali had been telling us about this beautiful little village called Kang and today we had agreed to take a tour with him to go there. Normally I'm not a big fan of organised trips, but Vali had arranged it to suit our budget by using public transport and our feet, rather than a four wheel drive. To get to Kang we needed to take a bus to the tranquil little village of Torqadeh and change on to another bus that passed by Noqondar, where we got a brief glimpse of a castle perched upon a hill.

Stepping off the bus in Kang was a little like stepping back in time, with donkeys pulling carts down the narrow streets and ramshackle homes made from whatever materials people could get their hands on, which was normally a combination of mud bricks, wood and the occasional sheet of corrugated iron. The hill that rose to our right was Kang, a cluster of houses that are literally built on top of each other,with one houses roof been another houses floor. Vali suggested that it would be nice to first climb up the hill to our left to get panoramic views, and this would also give us an idea of the scale of the village.

There was a small lane leading up the hill, with overhanging branches providing some respite from the sun. Although we were now well above 2000 metres and the air was cooler and fresher than Mashhad's, it was still hot and i broke into a sweat on the way to the top.
Small children greeted us as we walked along and were keen to take a break from climbing a tree to come and shake hands with us. Reaching a clearing near the summit, we were rewarded with what i can only describe as spectacular views of Kang. The three of us sat for some time admiring the scenery and catching our breath, before wandering back down to take a closer look.

The village was just as impressive close up as it had been from far away, with cobbled streets snaking their way upwards through the rows of stepped houses. An occasional donkey would come nervously in the opposite direction, whilst old women sat on the streets selling mulberries and nuts. Having walked through the maze of mud brick homes, Vali took us to a villagers house for a cup of tea.
Unlike towns in Uzbekistan which have been turned into museums, it was refreshing to be somewhere that was not familiar with tourism and where you could mingle with the locals who were going about their daily life. For people living in Kang, time seems to have stopped, as families continue in their ancestors footsteps, performing the daily tasks that others before them have been doing for the last two millenia.

From Kang we took a 90 minute walk, which climbed up and over a mountain and descended into another small village called Zoshk. Reaching the main road we were then left with a 15 kilometre journey to Abardeh, but rather than trying to walk this, Vali started trying to flag down passing cars. There was little luck for the first ten minutes until a huge green dumper truck pulled up, which was driven by one of Vali's cousins.
There was no room in the front, so we climbed up into the trailer at the back, for a hair raising 15 minute drive. The three of us clung for dear life as the truck hurtled round corners and every so often we all had to duck out of the way of tree branches that would probably have decapitated us! We were dropped off a few kilometres from Abardeh and as if things weren't already surreal enough, an orange tractor pulled up and we climbed onto this for the remainder of the journey. I wouldn't have changed this experience for the World, it certainly beat travelling by jeep.

At Abardeh Vali took us to the home of a friend of his, who also ran a nearby restaurant, which was closed due to Ramadan. Instead we were treated to a picnic in his back garden, and the food was probably the best i had eaten in months.
A dish called Dizi, also known as Abgusht, was brought to us by the son of the family. This consisted of a lamb stew with lentils, potatoes, tomato paste and bread. The first step to eating the meal is to drain the juice into a bowl and mix it with small pieces of bread, which absorb the liquid. Once you have eaten this, the rest of the food is mashed and scooped up with larger chunks of bread. For desert we ate a delicious honey melon and then we all lay in the shade under a tree for half an hour to recover.

From Abardeh we caught a shared taxi to the next village, where we connected with a bus back to Mashhad. Visiting Kang and the surrounding environs had been an incredible adventure and one that will linger in the memory for a long time to come. Back in Mashhad we went to Vitamin Sara which is a juice shop and further treated ourselves. Both of us tried the recommended 'maajun', which is a shake consisting of crushed walnuts, pistachios, ice cream, cream, banana and honey, yum! Rolling back to home we couldn't resist stopping off at a sandwich shop, and with food like like this available, i knew i was going to like Iran.... a lot!

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photo by: Deats