"What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be..."
|(It is still winter in Tabriz)|
Day 10: Wednesday, 16 Mar 2016
Route: Tabriz – Lake Urmia
Distance: 150 km
Hotel: Pars Eligolo Hotel, Tabriz
Tabriz is the most populated city in the Iranian Azerbaijan, one of the historical capitals of Iran, and the present capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Located in the Quru River valley between the long ridge of the volcanic cones of the Sahand and Eynali mountains. Tabriz' elevation range between 1,350 and 1,600 meters above sea level. The valley opens up into a plain that gently slopes down to the eastern shores of Lake Urmia, 60 km to the west. With cold winters and temperate summers, the city is considered as a summer resort.
|(The view from our bedroom)|
|(The famous carving on the wall)|
|(Heavy snow covering the ground)|
|(Stairs leading to the main road is cleared from snow)|
This morning the snow was a little bit heavy and the road was slippery. We cancelled our plan to drive up the mountain to visit the Troglodyte Kandovan Village where we could view manmade cliff dwellings which are still inhabited. The troglodyte homes, excavated inside volcanic rocks and tuffs similar to dwellings in the Turkish region of Cappadocia were cut into the volcanic mudflow of Mount Sahand.
|(The road is slippery and wet)|
|(The elegant hotel stood strong on a hill)|
|(Visiting the bus terminal for travel permit)|
The bus driver had to request for a permit to visit Lake Urmia. We drove 100 km to Lake Urmia, an endorheic salt lake in Iranian Azerbaijan and near Iran's border with Turkey. The lake is between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan in Iran, and west of the southern portion of the Caspian Sea. At its full size, it was the largest lake in the Middle East and the sixth largest saltwater lake on earth. The lake has shrunk to 10% of its former size due to damming of the rivers that flow into it and pumping of groundwater from the area.
Lake Urmia along with its once approximately 102 islands are protected as a national park by the Iranian Department of Environment.
|(The road and bridge leading to one of the many islands)|
|(The weather was windy and extremely cool)|
|(Well protected from the cold weather)|
|(An old abandoned rest house and resort)|
Back from Lake Urmia we had lunch near the University area. As it was snowing heavily we cancelled our plan to drive into the mountains and went back to the hotel to play with the snow until dinner time. Dinner was at a local restaurant in town.
|(Walking in the snow to the restaurant)|
|(The start of a heavy pour)|
|(The University is next to the restaurant)|
|(The snow was becoming heavier)|
|(The road was covered white with snow)|
|(Walking to the hotel, when the bus was unable to climb the slope)|
|(A long climb to the hotel in the snow)|
|(Climbing the snow covered steps)|
|(Playing in the ankle-deep snow)|
|(An attempt to make a snow ball)|
|(Keeping up-to-date with the local news)|
|(Snow covered vehicles in the parking lot)|
|(The bus was waiting at the foothill)|
|(Dinner was at a local restaurant)|
|(Hot lentil soup for entre)|
|(Hot crispy bread and rice with fish or lamb)|
|(Bread baking in the traditional mud-brick oven)|
|(Painting of ancient citadel)|
|(Ancient castle of the Sultanates)|
|(collections of paintings on the hotel wall)|