Wild camping seems to be ok in Iran. We assumed that after a police car stopped next to us on a picnic area in the woods before Rasht, where we just started to make ourselves comfortable for the night. The policeman couldn’t speak much English. They were amused about this fact and we could further entertain them with the Tesla. In the end, they wished us a nice evening and a good night.
The next morning, we made our way to Rasht. Rasht seemed to us like a very liberal city, with many students and a energetic atmosphere. We enjoyed an afternoon in the city with our Couchsurfing host, Mehdi. Initially, we planned to go on a long hike with him and a local hiking group the following day, but ended up to not do so, since the night was extremely short and we were just too exhausted for a trip like that.
A memorable night at Rasht
Two things made that night short and memorable:
One reason was that Mehdi, invited not only us, but 3 other couchsurfer and about 7 or 8 of his friends to stay at his flat, that he is sharing with 3 other students. The apartment was small and crowded. Everyone was smoking and at about midnight it seemed to me already like a crazy idea to catch a bus at 5 a.m. the following morning to go hiking. Due to the state of the apartment, Benedikt and I decided to sleep in the car, downstairs in the parking lot.
What happened there was the second reason, why the night was short and memorable. We didn’t think a whole lot, when we put the boxes with our belongings next to the car (that is the fastest way to turn the car into sleeping mode – stacking the boxes in the front seats works, but takes a few minutes to arrange, since space is limited). The parking area was fenced off with a high fence and gate from the street. Only the approximately 20-30 inhabitants of the apartment house could access it. Not only did the light in the parking lot keep us awake, but also a family leaving and returning. Since the windows of our car are tinted they didn’t notice that we are in the car while they walked around it and inspected it. After most of them left we suddenly heard the familiar sound of our plastic boxes. When we looked outside of the window, we couldn’t believe our eyes, but a man, probably the families father just went through our boxes. There was not much valuable staff in the boxes except of a pair of binoculars and two Bose headphones. We watched the man holding the binoculars up, looking at them and when he seemed about to leave with them, Benedikt opened the car door and just said “excuse me, those are ours. What are you doing?”. The guy was totally puzzled walked to the front of the building, yelled something to Mehdi, our couchsurfing host, (apparently he yelled, that he just wanted to check what was in the boxes and if it is safe to leave them in the public area of the building), then he put the binoculars back in the box, put the boxes again above each other, took 2 pictures of our license plate and left. We were really confused on what to think about that. It is a strange feeling, catch a thief.
It was after 2 a.m. that we fall asleep and we only got up at 3:45 a.m. to tell our host, that leaving the house at 4:15 to go on a hike just didn’t seemed like a good plan to us. Since the rest of the crowd that wouldn’t go hiking seemed to be ready to calm down at that time (nobody slept at the apartment yet), we moved to the apartment and continued/started sleeping untill 10:00 am the next morning.
Charging in Rasht didn’t work out
The original plan to charge the car with a Schuko in the parking lot, also didn’t work out. The Schuko was on the same phase at the water pump and other stuff in the building. Even though we only started charging with 1kw the electricity of the house was affected and inhabitants complained. The car was still charged at about 50%. That should have been fine for the next planed stop anyways.
Without worrying about charging, we drove to a spot at the Caspian Sea that seemed good for an overnight stay, at least from the satellite pictures of googlemaps. In reality, it was even better. We enjoyed a relaxing and calm day close to the beach and a comfortably night in the Tesla. The next day we were ready to continue our trip further east.