Charging in Shirvan, Iran

Why we went to Shirvan

The city of Shirvan is only 60 km away from Bojnurd. We found in Shirvan a hotel that had good reviews and offered rooms for a fair price. Since we didn’t really like the hotel in Bojnurd, we didn’t mind moving on. We planned to spend two days in Shirvan only to relax and get the car and electronic equipment ready for the upcoming border crossings. We read online that border controls in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will be quite intense. Having a good structure in the car and knowing where what item is, seemed essential for us to cross somehow smoothly these borders.

The hotel in Shirvan

The hotel we stayed at was quite ok. We had a large room, didn’t get distracted and the owner/manager of the hotel was nice. He even spoke a bit of German. Besides the fact, that we felt as guests welcomed, the hotel was strange. On the first floor, there was a women and men reception hall for weddings. I couldn’t really figure out, if that is a thing here, to celebrate sex-separated weddings. It wouldn’t surprise me though. For the festivities, they had a large kitchen that was probably the most disgusting kitchen I saw so far. It was greasy, somehow dirty and smelled awfully. We saw the kitchen, since we used a socket in the kitchen to charge the car. The socket was only a normal Schuko, but since the car was still well charged it was enough to recharge. The next charging will be in Turkmenistan.

A surprise-visit from the local newspaper

As I mentioned above, we wanted to use our days in Shirvan only to relax and reorganize. On a day, where we didn’t really wanted to see anybody, the local newspaper appeared at the hotel in the evening. The reporter didn’t speak any English, but the hotel manager served as a translator. Every second question was on what we think about Iran and Iranians. We just said what the reporter wanted to hear. In the end, it was mainly the hotel manager and the reporter who talked to each other. I would be really curious what the content of that article will be.


Bye-bye Iran, welcome new adventurous

After 4 weeks in Iran, both, Benedikt and I, are really excited to move on. Iran was a major goal to reach and now the most challenging part of the journey starts. We don’t really know what to expect from the upcoming countries. But we are looking forward to drinking a cool beer in Ashgabat and to not having to wear hijab anymore. Let’s hope everything goes well, meaning we continue to find three-phase electricity and the quality of the roads stays decent.

 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
Schuko 220 10 amperes 2kW 15kWh

Charging in Bojnurd, Iran

Invitation and setting up charging in Bojnurd

A TV station invited us to come to Bojnurd. They wanted to do an interview with us. That’s at least what we understood. Again, it all came a bit different.

About 7 boys at the age of 16 to 18 welcomed us at the hotel they booked for us. One of them was Mehran (who, with his neat briefcase, looked much older), our initial contact in Bojnourd. After a rest in the hotel the group of boys picked us up in the evening to bring us to a building complex where some of them lived. There was a 4-pin CEE-32 outlet in front in the house entrance of one of the houses (which was awesome!). We (and them) took pictures and left the car to charge. A pleasant walk through the city with the whole crowed followed.

An evening with a crowed of interested boys and a helpful girl

There was also one girl coming with us. She was supposed to keep me company (I guess they felt uncomfortable with me being the only female in the group or thought I would feel uncomfortable with boys only. But, probably contrary to them, I am used to this since I am little). We spent the afternoon walking around the city of Bojnurd and Benedikt arranged to get a haircut (which we deemed highly necessary, considering our upcoming border transits first to Turkmenistan and later to Uzbekistan — none of them is known to be easy and a good appearance might simplify things).

When the sun was setting, me and the girl returned to the houses, where the Tesla was waiting. A dinner to break the fast (everyone seemed to be strict Muslim, following Ramadan) with the neighbors was set up outside of the building (right behind the Tesla). It was a fun evening with the entire neighborhood community. Unfortunately, the charging of the car didn’t work out as expected. Probably the connection wasn’t strong enough for 32 amperes. The charging process stopped after only a few kWh charged. Since we didn’t want to make a big hassle, we charged the rest of the electricity that we needed at a Schuko in the parking garage of our hotel.

Visting an Iranian middle school and giving an “interview”

The next morning Mehran picked us up to bring us to his old school. We only noticed then that he just recently graduated from school and is doing the interview with us as a student project. Since he was really attached to his former school and teachers, we did the interview there. The school (only for boys) was nice, even though I couldn’t really get the concept of parting boys from girls. We were guided through the rooms and I felt a bit like Angelina Jolie, doing some charity work. Everyone wanted to show us something (like a tiny baby fetus in a glass in the science lab) and tell a story. I was surprised to hear that 30% of the lessons the boys have are religious class in that school. What an impact that must have on the little boys.

After the walk through the school, we had the interview with Mehran. We could feel the impact the religious lessons had on him… From his point of view, you can clearly see why a head scarf is great and necessary on women or that the fasting during Ramadan makes people commit less crime or lies. Mehran will have a fruitful journalist career in the state-controlled media.

Meeting Mohsen, initiator of the facebook group “Overland in Iran”

We know Iran as always offering us something of both extremes. It felt like almost no surprise that after having spent the morning Lost In Translation (and inbetween cultures), we met Mohsen for an evening tea in his home. He is curious about the world and travelers from different countries and, in order to meet even more travelers, initiated the facebook group “Overland in Iran” that I joined shortly after entering Iran. We had a wonderful and deep conversation with him and it felt like we found a friend in Bojnurd.



 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
4 poles CEE-32 230 3*32 amperes 22kW 20kWh
Schuko 220 6 amperes 2kW 40kWh

Charging in Nain, Iran

One more ripoff in Caravanserai hotel

It was already dark when we left Isfahan. Our destination was a Caravanserai on the road to Naein (east of Isfahan). Again, and again there are things happening in Iran, that are hard to imagine somewhere else. Our experience at that specific Caravanserai was another strange occurrence in Iran: The first impression we got of the Caravanserai was good. It was a nicely renovated building.

When we entered, a guy sitting on the bench, not speaking English, was highly confused that guests entered the hotel. He went into his office, talked to someone on the phone for about ten minutes. After he finished some friends of him appeared. We first thought, “great, he got somebody to translate”, but none of his buddies were speaking English. 5 minutes later, the guy handed us hotel-registration papers to fill out. There has been no conversation so far. No one told us if the hotel has a room available, what kind of rooms there are, what it costs… at least, we wanted to know what we should pay. The guy typed into google-translator 200 Dollars. If someone wants to fool you in Iran, they try to sell you a hotel room for 200 bucks. When we were almost leaving, one of the friends, toothless (sometimes the quality of teeth tells a bit about the background of a person) tried to lower the price to 2.000.000 IRR (roughly …) But even that is for shady people like that way too much. We left and only heard the guys laughing back in the office. I guess we’ll never learn, what is so funny about disturbing your potential guests.

Finally rest in Nain

It was already 10:30 p.m. when we called the next guest house. Due to no guests, it was closed (we should have called earlier…). The owner of the guest house advised us to go to a hostel in Naein. We went there, but the place was awful (old hair on the bed linen and a disgustingly smelling bathroom/toilet). Since it was already past 12:00 and I was really tired we ended up staying anyways. At least the hostel gave us a Schuko-outlet to charge (we had to pay for electricity though).


 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 Schuko  220 volt  6 amperes  2 kW  about 30

Charging in Rasht, Iran

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.


 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 Schuko  220  6 amperes  1 kW  0 kWh

Charging in Meghri, Armenia


The road to Meghri from Kapan was one windy road up for about 1500 meters of elevation and the same down again. On the way down the hill, we could recuperate about 9kWh. Seeing the percentage sign of our battery going up and up, it almost felt like staying at a supercharger charger. The car was still/again at 80% charged when we arrived in Meghri. Charging at a Schuko would work out to have an almost fully charged car the next day.

A small Bed and Breakfast offered us a Schuko to charge the car (2 kW at 12 ampere). The people showed a great hospitality, even though, the breakfast was a lot better than the beds, blankets and cushions, that were still from Soviet times. Without much sleep, we left early in the morning to drive to the Armenian/Iranian border. I don’t like border days. The feeling to depend on the goodwill of random border controls, makes me anxious. I am also not very patient. Watching a person flip through my passport for more than 5 minutes seems to me just unnecessary.

Border Armenia/Iran

There were three control stations before we left Armenia. On the last control (baggage control), the guy checking our car, made himself the pleasure to drive a bit with the Tesla in the area before we left to nowhere land. We didn’t mind, but saying no, would also not have been a very relaxing option. Keeping the border controls entertained with fun and facts about the Tesla is still a good option to get them out of their routine (see also this post). That way, their mood is usually quite positive and that helps (until now) to pass borders without much hassle.

 On the Iranian side, Benedikt and I had to leave the car after a first check and go through immigration. Everyone gets asked what the name of their dad is, where one is born and what one is doing for work. I have no clue, what the board police man is using this information for…


Getting a car to Iran is quite an expensive joy. One can either organize a carnet de passage at home. The paid deposit should guarantee that one is leaving the country again. Since the deposit depends on the value of the car, the carnet de passage was not our preferred option. The other option to get a foreign car to Iran is that someone else in the country guarantees that one is leaving the country with the car again. In some forums, we heard about this guy named Hossein, who does a good job with this kind of service. We arranged to meet him after the passport control and he would do the import of the car to Iran for us. It took about 4 hours, till the whole process was over. A little exhausted (even though we had to do nothing than to wait), we entered Iran in the late afternoon. A 4-hour drive to Urmia, the city where Hossein is from, followed.


 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 Schuko at Bed&Breakfast 220V 12 amperes 2kW about 17kWh

Charging in Kapan, Armenia

It was a windy road along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan that guided us to Kapan. We saw on google-maps that there should be a “ARK-Eco-camp” in Kapan. Not knowing what that would mean, we reached in the afternoon an area looking somehow like a garden in a suburb of Munich. The “garden-manager” Armen welcomed us in his camp. Tiny cabins, fitting exactly two air mattresses, were the place where we would spend the upcoming night.

Armen tried his best to help us with arranging something to charge our car. Even though the Eco-camp has itself not much electricity (a thin, one-phase connection, that allowed us to charge 1kW at only 9 amperes), we managed to charge overnight about 15kWh. That would have been fine to reach Meghri, a town very close to the Iranian border. In Meghri, we should have better found a three-phase outlet though, to have a fully charged car before entering Iran. Of course, we had no information if that is possible. Considering all of this, I was happy, when Armen came the following morning to the camp and told us, he found three-phase electricity in the village. A furniture-making factory would be happy to let us charge.

Charging there was one of the greatest experiences of hospitality and help. The owner of the workshop helped Benedikt to set everything up (we put the three phases and the neutral wire directly on the cable outlets of the fuse box – see picture). While the car was charging 22kW at 3 times 32 ampere, he invited us for tea and Armenian sweets. 1.5 hours later we left Kapan with a 99% charged car. I wish, it would work always just like this.


 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 Schuko at ARK Eco Camp  210V  9 amperes  1.8kW  about 15kWh
Fuse box at furniture making factory  220V  3*32 amperes  22kW  about 22kWh

Charging in Jermuk, Armenia

Benedikt and I seem to have developed a certain taste for spa cities or places that are famous for their mineral water. After Borjomi in Georgia (see this post) Jermuk is the second “mineral water town” that we choose as a destination. Like in Borjomi, we enjoyed taking staying in the nicest hotel of the city. We need sometimes “vacation from travelling” which we find in western style hotels that offer all the comfort one could imagine (at still low prices compared to western Europe). Five star hotels offered us during the journey once in a while a retreat where we can just relax and not worry about electricity, potholes, quality of food and many, many decisions that we need to take everyday. All of this is sometimes tiring…

We planned to stay for two nights in Jermuk. Therefore the offered Schuko outlet, was enough for us. The car was charged at 97% the day we left .
 On our “day off” Benedikt and I went on a hike on the hills above Jermuk. As we did before, we found pleasure in “eexploring” either vanished old hotels or skeletons of new dated but never finished hotels. Jermuk has been developed as a spa town during the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Many of the hotels and amusement areas of that time are outdated and abondoned since quite a while. For Benedikt and me these buildings seem like a big, adventurous playground. Contradictory, why any investor would want to add new hotels to the excessive supply of hotel beds in Jermuk, is still a question to us. Since we are travelling we question ourselves what drives people to start building big hotel complexes and stop not even half way done. We probably still think way to German (and educated) considering this topic…

Charging in Jerevan, Armenia

Nici left early on Sunday morning after a fun evening with open-air cinema, film discussion and some drinks at Fabrica, a great place in Tbilisi. Benedikt and I charged the car one more time at the 22kW charging station in the city center of Tbilisi. The interest in the Tesla was very high this time. During the 20 minutes of charging the car, we were constantly surrounded by some men. If they weren’t looking at the different details of the car, they tried to buy our city scooter. We have two of those scooters with us. We want to use them for a fast and independent transportation in cities or during charging stops. So far, we didn’t use them a whole lot, because either the weather was too bad or the street quality too low. But this will change eventually, we believe 😉.


We escaped the crowed and left for the border between Georgia and Armenia. There was no line in front of the border, which was already a good sign. All in all, the border was easy. The only thing that took longer was to register the car to enter Armenia. We first didn’t know that we had to do this and as soon as we found out, the Swiss car documents (in German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic) didn’t make the filling out of the documents much faster.

What surprised us after the border crossing, were really bad maintained roads. The number of deep put-holes was extremely high. During the first third of the trip, from the border till Yerevan, our average speed was between 10 and 50 km/h. Luckily the road got better and better the closer we got to Yerevan.


In Yerevan, we could charge the car at a Schuko in the garage of a small hotel close to the city center. We planned to stay for two nights in Yerevan. Therefor charging with only 2kW was ok. After about 24 hours the battery of the car was charged at 85% again. By chance we found a supermarket including a big Armenian food-court on our way out of the city. The supermarket had a underground garage with many three-phase outlets`! Our Turkish adapter, worked with the outlets (which is kind of ironic, considering the relationship between Armenia and Turkey). We were very happy about this finding and charged the car with 11kW while we were having lunch in the food-court.

Yerevan isn’t a particular beautiful city or old city, since a lot of soviet architecture dominates the cityscape. Nevertheless, Benedikt and I were both inspired by the friendly and laid-back culture of the city. Compared to Tbilisi, Yerevan is less touristic, less crowded and somehow maybe even (mainstream) hipper.

Charging in Borjomi, Georgia

Anyone ever been in a former Soviet country knows Borjomi mineral water. I think the salty taste of this water tastes awful, but it’s supposed to be healthy (and help with hangovers 😉).

After visiting the beautiful Gelati monastery near Kutaisi (check out this post), we drove to Borjomi, the city where the mineral water comes from. It is situated in the north-west of the picturesque Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Our intention was to stay in a nice hotel and to enjoy the nature while hiking (on a car-free day) in the national park. Despite bad weather forecast, we did a beautiful hike with breathtaking scenery the day after we arrived in Borjomi.

Since we knew that we would be staying for two nights at the hotel, we only asked for a Schuko (2kW) to charge the car. It is a lot easier to find a “normal” Schuko outlet, than a three-phase outlet. The downside of Schuko-charging is just that it takes often more than 30 hours to charge the car to a satisfying level. What people usually don’t know is that the “quality” of the cable and outlet determines the charging process. The hotel in Borjomi offered us an extension cord that they plugged in at some Schuko in the hotel kitchen. The cable was very long and thin. This means the cable cross-section was almost too thin for constant strain or the resistance to high. The extension-cord got warm, even though we were only charging 1kW. Despite the circumstances, we managed to charge the battery to 90% and left after the second night in Borjomi to Tbilisi.

Charging in Edirne, Turkey

The first bigger town that we reached after the Bulgarian/Turkish border was Edirne. It was already early in the evening and again, we needed a hotel to stay at. The plan was to drive very early the next day to Istanbul. We wanted to be at the Uzbek Consulate in Istanbul before 10 a.m. to apply for our visa. Since our car was still pretty good charged and because we knew that charging should be easy in Istanbul, we stayed in Edirne in an very simple hotel that only offered us Schuko on their parking lot.

We bought that night two tourist SIM-cards for our phones. We thought that we need them to simplify our navigation through Turkey. The Tesla still had internet connection in Edirne, even though the city is already about 50km far from the border. What we didn’t expect that day, was that we would never loose internet connection till we left Turkey to Georgia more than a week later. We have a Tesla-roaming SIM-card with which we are supposed to be online all throughout the European Union (and Switzerland, of course). When we left Croatia, as the last European Country, we immediately lost the signal after the border. When we entered Bulgaria as the first European country after the Balkan countries, we immediately got the internet reception back (what made us quite excited 😉). Back to our SIM-cards: since we had internet in the Tesla, the urgent need wasn’t there anymore. But that these SIM-cards (by Vodafone) never started working (somehow the activation did not work) annoyed us. Two visits to Vodafone stores and lot of discussions and waiting didn’t help either. One cannot always be lucky…