To get from Isfahan to Yazd one has to cross a desert. Together with Kenny, a motorcyclist from Australia whom I met in Isfahan, and enough water (that’s what you need in the desert, right?) we set off to reach Yazd and hopefully not die of thirst and end up as sun-bleached bones in the process. Or get lost, drive in endless circles and end up as sun-bleached bones after we ran out of fuel. Or get stung by scorpions, bitten by snakes and eaten by vultures and end up as sun-bleached bones. Or whatever else might happen to the traveller blundering about in the desert.
The desert was in a merciful mood though, and let us pass on a dead-straight road devoid of any human soul. After we passed a dried salt-lake the pavement ended and the road turned in a proper desert track. So far the temperatures weren’t as high as expected, contrarily I felt quite comfortable. This changed as soon as we passed a mountain range to the southwest of Yazd and joined the main road into the city, temperatures were now appropriately high. In the old city center we found a hostel and reunited with a group of other travellers from Isfahan, who travelled to Yazd on the same day, albeit by bus.
The hostel was one of the finest ones during the whole trip, with a spacious courtyard including an area with carpets and cushions to lie down and endure the midday heat. But the best thing was the yoghurt from the breakfast buffet, pure natural yoghurt served in an earthen pot, infinitely better than anything you could by in an european supermarket. I and some other german guests ate bowl after bowl, emptied the whole pot and got a rather rude “No” after we asked for more (probably the yoghurt was meant to last for the other guests aswell).
Yazd itself presents itself with a nice old center consisting of a maze of narrow alleyways with some mosques here and there. But it felt quite dead and some of the buildings have fallen to ruins. It seems most residents left the old center to live in the more modern outskirts. Contrary to the old buildings in the center, I was quiete happy that some others have fallen into disuse, two zoroastrian funerary towers. According to the zoroastrian belief, the dead can not be buried, because it contaminates the soil or burned because it contaminates the air. So the only solution to get rid of the corpses was to lay them out on top of the towers to let them be eaten by vultures (and end up as sun bleahed bones). Today the towers provide an amazing overview over Yazd and the sunset aswell, which I missed unfortunately due to the rush-hour traffic.
But two days in Yazd were enough for me and the desert was calling again. Before I could follow that call I still had to extend my visa for the stay in Iran. According to the information I found on the internet this process isn’t uncommon and I should get the extension as long as the official in charge is in a good mood and likes my face. Finding the place was a bit of a challenge though because the “Police of Foreign Aliens” hid behind a brick wall without any sign at the gate. Upon entering I had to hand phone and camera to the guards and find my way in an office building were all signs were written in farsi. After waiting in two wrong “queues” (or rather huddles of people jostling at each other to get to the front) I was approached by a guy who lead me past the queues behind the counters. It seemed the extension guy found me instead of the other way round. Anyways, it turned out he was quite friendly and provided me with a list in english of all the steps I had to do in order to obtain the extension. I had to get a passport photo, a copy of my passport and do a bank transfer. Luckily all of this could be done in the vicinity (and I even got a glass of tea in the bank) and I was told, that I could collect the visa extension stamp on the next day.
Finally I could hit the road for a night of desert camping. It would have been a great experience if only I hadn’t suffered from terrible diarrhea (I’ll spare you the details …). The next day, I visited the Chack Chack monastery (named after the sound of dripping water), returned to Yazd to collect the extension stamp and set off for Shiraz.