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Traveling Overland from Iran to Armenia (and street food)

It is now almost 9 years since I was raveling Overland from Iran to Armenia. Formerly this was the edge of the Iron Curtain and a journey few had taken, certainly of the backpacking variety.

The trip came about as we had just finished YPT’s second ever tour of Iran. Three of us in the group thought as Armenia now did online visas that we should take the journey. For me it worked out perfectly as I had to be in Kiev a few weeks later, something I could do easily enough via Georgia (in theory).

Touring Iran and a shiny suit

The Iran tour was the blast we expected it to be, but it was on the last night that we decided to kick it up a gear. Contrary to popular belief you can drink in Iran, due to the Armenian christian minority legally being allowed to drink.

This would lead us on our last night to visit the Armenian club. At the Amerindian club they make their own wine and vodka. Can you drink in Iran? You can and we did.

We’d also noticed something else in Iran, you could also buy shiny suits, like everywhere. One of our 3 suggested we go and buy one each. I said yes assuming he would forget the idea, alas not and on the last day we spent $100 each on the shiny suits.

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To read about tours to Iran click here

There is no need to explain it. Simply look at the photos.

Trying to enter Armenia

We bit farewell to the group and were led to the Armenian border by our Iranian guide. It took a full day, with us sill wearing our suits.

When we got to the border it was literally a month after the visa regime had been changed and had to spend 1 hour stuck at the border whilst they tried to find our details. I’ll add they did not speak English, but that we had a Russian speaker with us. I’ll add we are still wearing the suits here.

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After just over an hour of waiting we we’re finally let through as passed into Armenia we heard the voice of the immigration officer shout “WAIT’. Had something gone wrong? Were we in trouble?

He said one thing in Russian “I have to ask man, what the fuck is up with the suits”, “my retarded cousin (he gestures to me) got married”, “oh” he replied, looking more perplexed than ever as we disappeared into the existence.

Traveling Overland from Iran to Armenia – Meghri

Entering Meghri from Iran felt like we had landed in Sodom and Gomorra. Iran may well be an Islamic Republic, but when the trucks cross this border they clearly want strippers and booze in that order.

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We didn’t indulge in the strippers, but I have one classic photo of me looking at the array of vodka like small child in candy store (see photo).

It is such a funny feeling when you get into these slightly more liberal countries. I have enjoyed every time I have been to say Iran, or North Korea, but the second you leave an invisible weight is lifted.

Overland from Iran to Armenia & Cheese

It was at this time that I also discovered  Chechil. Chechil is a smoked, braided, salty, string-cheese snack that is famous as a beer snack. It is popular throughout the old USSR, but was invented in Armenia. That first night I literally drank beer and ate “beer cheese” all the while still waring my very shiny and interesting Iranian suit.

And that was how I crossed the border between Iran and Armenia, something I truly did in epic style. Further adventures were to occur in Artash and Georgia, but we will leave them for another time.

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