It was a crazy idea for us to just hitch-hike this long distance. After checking the train prices, we decided to go to Tabriz (about 900 km) by train which cost $3 each.
A > B Early in the morning, we arrived in Tabriz at about 6:00. We had an Azeri breakfast in a local cafe with men with mustaches, mostly the nearby shop owners and workers. It’s very customary to have breakfast and lunch followed by smoking hookah in such local cafes. After breakfast, we stood next to the road waiting for a ride. After about five minutes, a common Peugeot RD pulled over to ask us where we went. I told him we were going to Marand and we didn’t have any money. It’s his choice to take us. He said there was no problem and offered some money to us. Half way on the road, we told stories about hitch-hiking that usually trucks pull over and then he realized that we seriously weren’t going to pay! He asked if we were serious and then he said he thought we were joking! Anyway, he took us to Marand and didn’t charge us. And he just learned about hitch-hiking. He was a freelance driver anyway.
B > C Marand was a nice city. Nice weather with not so much traffic. We walked for about 20 minutes to get to a good picking up spot and after 10 minutes, a young boy picked us up and took us straight to Jolfa.
C > D Again we walked for 10 minutes, and we waited for another 10 minutes until a driver pulled over. When we told him that we didn’t want to pay, he liked us for our honesty. He said: “I usually don’t give rides to people who claim not to have any money, but you guys said, we have money, this is how we travel!” Well, he took us exactly to the border.
D > E We were officially at the border and after paying the tax of exiting the country, we exited the country! There we were between Iranian soldiers and Russian soldiers, all with guns. Don’t worry, they weren’t pointed at us. We were smiling and walking until we got into Armenia. Getting a visa is a piece of cake. Just fill out a one-page form and pay 6 euros. “The hard part is over” we were thinking, “and the easy part of hitch-hiking is in Armenia. Having this in mind, we rejected all the taxis with even the cheapest offers. We walked, and we walked, and we walked for about 1 hour. So frustrated, we decided to take a rest for a while. The side of the road was guarded with electrified fences and cameras and watch towers. We could see Iranian cars going by on the other side of the fence. Thirsty and tired, we sat down.
Finally a car with two old guys picked us up and drove us to Meghri, which wasn’t that far.
E > F We saw a natural spring of cool water next to the road. I drank cold water as much as I could and took off my T-shirt, soaked it, and put it back on. It was a great treat in the heat of noon. After that, we waited for about one hour until three crazy boys picked us up. They were going to the countryside to party, because they had all the stuff in their car such as meat, bread, and drinks. They dropped us off very shortly and asked us for 1 dollar! I said: “I told you we don’t have money to pay.” So, I offered him some money in Armenian Drams. He insisted that he would take only a one-dollar-bill! Then I realized he was joking, because nobody has a one-dollar-bill anymore. Not even Americans. However, I have one back at home and it was a gift from a friend of mine called Hamid. Anyway, we shook hands and they left.
F > G Again we waited for about half an hour and this time an old couple picked us up. They were nice and talkative, even though we didn’t understand each other. They insisted that we were going to meet a girl in Yerevan. Funny and somehow true! Not after a long distance, we were dropped off.
G > H At this point, things were getting worse. We waited for TWO hours, and nobody pulled over. We were really exhausted and frustrated. A young couple with a kid stopped, but they wanted $25 just for 30 km! It was a lot of money for us. Besides, we were hitch-hikers. Not very long after they left, an old damaged truck which was carrying gasoline picked us up. It was extremely slow and uncomfortable, but we didn’t mind, because we were picked up after more than two hours. He took us to Kapan which was around 30 km in about three hours!
H > I Surprisingly enough, a middle-aged guy with a fancy Mercedes-Benz picked us up and drove us about 30 km in like 10 to 15 minutes. He dropped us off by a road cafe and it was about sunset. We had 30 km more to go to arrive in Goris, where we could camp properly. So, we kept walking. There were more woods as we went and it was getting darker until to our surprise we were in the middle of nowhere in the woods with absolute darkness. It was even too cloudy to see the stars. Even 10 minutes, one car passed by, but they were too afraid to pick us up since the place was scary. We decided to camp there, but we heard sounds from the woods, like a pig snoring. We were really scared. We wanted to walk back all the distance we had walked from the road cafe, but it was like 5 km and we were extremely wasted to walk such a long walk. And nobody picked us up. When someone saw us, they would rather speed up than slow down. Finally, two army guys with a Mercedes-Benz dared to stop and see what was going on. They took as back to the road cafe and they asked the owner to let us camp next to his cafe. It was very cold, but we didn’t mind shivering since we were in a safe place. Furthermore, we made friends with the owner’s dog, so that it would protect us till morning even though he ate all our doughnuts while we were sleeping.
I > J Early in the morning, we woke up to have some breakfast. We ate some eggs and got to the road to hitch-hike again. This time, an old guy with an old Lada picked us up after 10 minutes waiting. He covered a great deal of the route, all the way to Vayk. It was great. We could rest in the car. But we didn’t know it was the silence before the storm.
J > K He dropped us off in Vayk. We waited, and waited, and waited. Again, waited. One hour passed, no pick ups. Then we decided to change location. We walked, and walked, and walked until we reached a road stop where there was some restaurants and cafes. Again, we waited, and waited. We were ready for any offer after waiting another hour. But we defeated this negativity and waited more. Until finally, a van with a couple in it picked us up. They were like 40 to 45 years old. They were the best drive in the whole trip. They fed us, gave us tea, gave us fruit and everything. We felt like their sons! They were a very fun couple, too bad they didn’t speak English. It was the highlight of our journey and they took us to Yerevan and showed us the address to go to our host’s place. Well, this journey had a hollywood-wise happy ending. 🙂