Sod the bus, we're going hitch hiking!

Abyaneh Travel Blog

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

Situated 82km from Kashan, Abyaneh is an ideal distance for a day trip from the City, with the exception that there is barely any public transport to the village! Unsure of how to get there, other than chartering an expensive private taxi, Hamid had mentioned that we may be able to hitch hike and this sounded like it had to be worth a go. The previous night Hamid had made us a sign in Farsi saying 'Abyaneh' and we went to a main junction in town and stood there like lemons with the sign for about 20 minutes. The only people to pull up were taxi drivers, who then wouldn't leave us alone. A few pedestrians also stopped to tell us to take a taxi and when we tried to explain that we were hitch hiking, they really looked puzzled and walked off with bewildered looks on their faces.

It was pretty clear that this tactic wasn't going to work, but we got lucky with a lift to the bus station instead, from a guy who worked there.

Abyaneh is located 22km off the main road from Kashan to Esfahan, so we decided to buy a bus ticket to this junction and then see what happened from there. Once we reached the turn off and disembarked from the bus, we only had to wait a few minutes before a friendly family from Tehran stopped to pick us up. Although there was only one seat available, they squashed up to make room for us. The son spoke pretty good English and we chatted away for the 30 minute drive there. Along the way we passed some ruined caravanserai's and castles, as we climbed up the winding road that led to the village.

Abyaneh is only a small village that is situated at 2235m above sea level and sees its residents migrate for the winter to warmer parts of the country. Not having any real idea of what to do here, we decided that it would be best to just wander around the streets, get lost and see where we ended up. For 15 minutes we snaked our way through quaint twisting alleys, where reddish brown mud brick houses lined either side of the path. In some ways it was reminiscent of Kang, as it was compact and on a hill and in other respects it was completely different.

Crossing a dried out river bed we got our first sight of some castle walls and turrets on the top of a hill in front of us. We scrambled up to take a look around the crumbling fortress, although the main advantage of going up there was for the panoramic views of the village.
Crossing back over the river bed we passed local people dressed in their traditional clothing. Whilst the men wore baggy trousers, the women donned pleated skirts and had colouful floral motifs on their head scarves.

The weather was pleasantly cooler here than in Kashan, but less welcoming were the spots of rain that began falling on us, as we climbed up to another castle that was located just behind the village. Thankfully it didn't last too long and the views down on the town were worth the effort. There was the dome of a colourful mosque that stood out in particular and it was interesting to see how closely knit the houses were. From here i also spotted two foxes, who didn't hang around for too long once they caught sight of us.

Before heading back to Kashan we ate lunch in a small cafe, where a man began talking to us.
He told us that the villagers spoke a dialect called Middle Persian, which is different from Farsi and disappeared everywhere else in the World many centuries ago. The village had been inhabited for at least 1500 years, although there were few young people who still permanently lived there, which seemed a shame.

Knowing of no bus that made the trip back to Kashan, we opted to stand at the exit of the village and began trying to flag cars down. For over an hour we had no luck, but an old man came to tell us that there was a bus at 16.00, which we were relieved to hear. Giving up on hitch hiking, we sat and waited on a wall, as a few other locals began to congregate along with us. The bus arrived on time, but bewilderingly the driver wouldn't let us on board. We kept trying to ask why, but he just kept holding his hand out and shaking his head.
In the end we gave up and began walking back to where we had been stood before to try and hitch hike, when he then called for me to go over to him. He pulled out a 5,000 Rial note and pointed it at me and then at Julia, which he obviously meant as 'pay this much each'. No problem, i pull out my wallet to pay him and he sees i have about 700,000 rial ($70) there and his eyes light up. Now he starts saying no and shaking his head and pulls out a 50,000 Rial note, gesturing that this is what we now had to pay. There was no way i was paying that much, so we walked away and he drove off without us! What a bastard.

Back on the road we waited to no avail for 30 minutes more, but finally 3 people pulled up and gave us a lift all the way back to the centre of Kashan. What was particularly sweet was seeing the bus broken down 15 minutes down the road, oh how i giggled, that was karma for the bus driver and the passengers who chose not to stick up for us.

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photo by: Saskia007