Flying the Qatar Airways 15+ hour nonstop from Doha to ATL last week took us on a great circle route that would be fascinating to do on the surface, straight up the Caspian Sea, closer to Baku than to the Turkmenistan coast, then east of Grozny, along the edge of the Volga flood plain west of Astrakhan, beyond which it’s not far from the Kazakh border.
Further north we crossed the southwestern Russian agricultural heartland, not far east of the frozen conflict in the Donbass. Then across the Baltics, just south of St. Petersburg and Helsinki, across Norway and over the sea near Bergen, entirely north of Iceland, across the Greenland ice cap north of Tasiilaq, from Baffin Island down west of Cleveland and on in.
We passed over Esfahan and just to the west of Qom and Teheran:
Those of you who have gotten to southwest Iran before us will know this, but judging from this photo there may not be many of you: Southwest Iran looks pretty darned desolate.