There is a saying that every Iranian has to drive the Chalus road at least once in his lifetime. Reason enough for me to do the same! This was a tip of the Iranian we met on Mount Ararats in Armenia and I did not forget his words. The road goes between Karaj, west of Teheran and Chalus at the Caspian sea and is roughly 160km (100miles) long. I know one thing. Everybody needs to drive this road once in his/her lifetime. The vistas are nothing short of spectacular and changing around every corner.

I didn’t go all the way to the Caspian, as I got another tip to take the side road to go to Rudbarak, a small little place in the mountains and with spectacular views of Mount Alam Kuh at 4850m. It didn’t disappoint, I spent 2 days next to the river camping and just looking around and barely moving. A beautiful dog held me company all this time, chased the cows away from the van and I cooked dinner for the two of us to thank her. I wanted to take her with me but didn’t in the end.

There’s a road that connects both trans-Alborz roads between Teheran and the Caspian, and although some people told me to go around and not use this road, I did anyway. This road is possibly one of the most beautiful roads I have ever done in my life and the pass is at 3140m. And nobody uses it. Nobody knows. I can’t understand why?! This should be featured everywhere as one of the most beautiful roads in the world!

It took me forever to do the first 30km as I stopped every five minutes to take it all in. And to take these pictures of course.

It was time to find some place to cook and sleep and again I was lucky to find a spot in nature next to a river. Camping next to a river has the advantage that I can use the water to wash myself and do the dishes, without having to use my water supply in the van. But hell, the water is cold! Time for some heating up!

Next morning it was time to finally go in direction of Mount Damavand, something I really wanted to see. The vistas on the way were still first class and I enjoyed every minute of this day. Again, it took me forever as I stopped countless times.

The size of the van (right) just gives you an idea of the sheer magnitude of the mountains. 

With its 5671m (18.605ft) Damavand is the highest mountain of Iran and the middle east and is featured in one of the videogames I used to play, so even more reason to have a look in real life! Because I did that backroad, I was able to see Damavand from the northern side. The picture doesn’t even come close at just how massive this volcano is! There’s more than 4000m (13.000ft) difference between where I am standing and the top of the mountain, but it really does not show on this pcture.

I went all around Damavand and found the track that goes to Basecamp. Needless to say that I went up to find a suitable spot for the night…

At night, clouds and fog form in the valleys so you get this impression of being above the clouds…

And catching up on some reading!