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Kalouts, Iran

How we went to the Moon- our trip to the Kalouts desert

Kalout desert was our favorite sight in whole Iran. We are always more than happy to skip the crowds and in the Kalouts it’s not even a challenge. There we could feel like tiny ants in the big world, surrounded by all this giant rocks shaped by erosion.

How did we get there?

We didn’t really dare to rent a car in Iran but that would definitely be an option. Instead we organized a tour going from Kerman which is the most popular way of going to the desert. The guides have pretty varied prices and some of them are pretty open to negotiation so it’s worth giving them a call to find out the details. I preferred to call them also to check out their English … quite many of them couldn’t respond my basic questions so it was clear they wouldn’t be able to respond more complicated ones out there in the desert. In final end we went with Ali from Visit Kalouts.

How much did it cost?

We paid 150 euros for us both which wasn’t the cheapest but pretty close to it. We were really satisfied with our guide Ali, his English was good, he was friendly, patient and happy to explain everything. We chose him because we felt his company had the best idea of what there is to see around the desert and the most organized plan. Others seemed just to want to drive through without much plan.

What it included?

Practically everything, transportation, food, accommodation in a rather basic house (2 days, 1 night), flexible schedule. If we wanted to stay somewhere longer, sleep longer or wake up in the middle of the night, it was all possible.

What did we see?

Except for the amazing giant stones shaped through erosion we saw how the people in the desert lived. How they dealt with water, their water system and reservoir and even a salty river. Yep plenty of water in the desert.

How about Kerman?

Initially we didn’t plan to visit Kerman, we just wanted to skip it and use it just as a stop to get to the Kalouts but after our tour we still had a bit of time before the night bus and Ali and Shiva (Ali’s colleague) proposed to give us a little tour. So we walked around the main square, the bazaar and local library. We realized that the place had much more to offer than we initially anticipated. It was quite pretty and had one hidden gem. A tea house opened in an old bath house in one of the corners of a bazaar labyrinth. Sitting there surrounded by all the beautiful tiles, Iranian carpets and even a fountain we were just wondering how come all of the people love the heating so high. We were literally melting away. I guess it was another way to imitate the weather like if it was summer.

At some point we got hungry and wanted to order food but it turned out to be impossible because they only served lunch and it was already after the time. But impossible in Iran can be solved … with money I guess. So we met a nice Iranian man that lived all his life in Holland and described himself as an almost royalty in the region. His new friends couldn’t walk around hungry so he disappeared for a few minutes and came back inviting us to the restaurant part of the place. We got served whatever we wanted and the food was delicious. We were a bit hesitant when we were walking up to the counter, we thought we might end up paying for reopening the restaurant but the meal was actually really cheap. Power of money and connections in Iran…

Białowieża, Poland

7 Must Do’s In Białowieża

Most of the people come to Białowieża just for one or two days. See the forest and go further. Big mistake, there is plenty to see and do in there. It’s a part of Poland that doesn’t feel like Poland anymore. It’s wilder and the catholic churches are replaced by the orthodox ones and time has stopped. So can youJ

  1. Search for bison!

Except for in the Reserve it’s quite easy to spot them in nature. We had really bad luck (that’s what everyone said) and we didn’t see any bison and we devoted many sleepless mornings to search for them. Anyway… The best times to see them is around sunrise and sunset then they are easily spotted close to the border with the Strict Reserve so the restricted part of the forest. If you want to know the exact places that people recommended to us, look on the map below 🙂

If you can choose the season then go in the winter because that’s when the bison get fed so it’s easier to spot them. Good luck! And remember, even if you don’t see a bison, the views will be spectacular.

  1. Go to the Strict Reserve, it is different!

Strict Reserve is a small part of the Białowieża forest which is extremely protected and nothing can be altered there so when something dies or falls it’s left as it is. We thought forest is forest, but the strict reserve is not just a forest. It’s a different world! It’s just greener, thicker and way more interesting, it even smells different. Not to mention all the weird mushrooms and plants we saw there.

To go to the Strict Reserve you need to have a guide and you can go on tour with a group (144 zl per group so you share the cost, up to 12 people). You can also take a private tour that starts from 280 zl (for polish speaking guide) and you go pretty deep for total of 6 hours walk.

We took the regular group one and we were pretty happy, the guide was really in love with the forest so she would tell us all about the history of it and interesting plants we saw and animals we heard.


  1. Sleep or at least see The Carska Hotel

The hotel used to be an old train station. Now it’s simply stunning. It’s like you travel in time when you’re there. Everything is maintained so well in the Tsar XXth century era. You can either sleep in your own train wagon furnished Tsar style or you can choose in one of the apartments in a nearby tower. I’m sure the views are breathtaking. You will also have the best restaurant in town just next to you, in an old train station building.

  1. Enjoy a tasty cup of coffee or beer surrounded by suitcases

During our stay in Bialowieza we discovered a magical café. It’s called “Walizka” café and it’s filled with suitcases, interesting books, nice pictures of bison and an amazing atmosphere. It’s quite small, just few tables so if it’s busy it’s really worth waiting for your turn. Homemade cakes and delicious coffee will reward it.

  1. Visit their Saint Nicolas Orthodox church

It might not be the most spectacular of them all and if you’re going by car you can visit more spectacular ones in other towns but if you never saw an orthodox church and you don’t have a car it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s just such a different experience than the one you would have in a catholic church.

  1. Walk around the town

Białowieża is just such a charming, little town and it definetly doesn’t get the attention that it deserves! We really enjoyed just walking around the town, admiring the wooden houses and beautiful forest surrounding.

  1. Just bike around

There are plenty of biking paths around Białowieża that will take you through the forest. I think it’s the best way to explore the surroundings as you are not too fast so you still see a lot but you’re fast enough so that the mosquitos don’t get you. I wouldn’t recommend any route in particular as they are all pretty much the same. Even though some say you need to see “The Trail of Royal Oaks” as it has really huge, old oaks, I would say that one is all about the journey, not so much about destinations. And so are most of the routes.