I’ve finally finished sorting through my photos from Iran, shrinking and uploading them to Flickr.
Mehran, Stan and Reza really were a winning team, and I would recommend a visit to Iran to anyone – it doesn’t really matter where or when, and different people will be interested in different things. Once you’ve been and seen what an an amazing and beautiful country it is, and that the people you meet in the bazaars and at the sights are so welcoming and hospitable, rightly proud of their history and culture, I am sure you will want to return – I know that I do.
I’ve so many favourite memories – wandering the backstreets of Yazd, marvelling at everything in Esfahan, exploring the bazaars and mosques of Shiraz, hearing Persian poetry by moonlight at the mausoleum of Hafez, being presented by a beautiful flower by a young woman as we walked back to the hotel one evening, getting dressed up in traditional nomad wedding dress, carrying out conversations by way of the Lonely Planet Persian phrase book, being interviewed for local telly near Bazm and for an advertorial in the Abbasi Hotel, tucking into melon (various varieties), cheese and fresh bread with a breathtaking view of Mount Dena and minutes later chancing upon Qashqai nomads and their flocks on the annual migration to summer pastures – the young and the weak getting a ride tucked up snugly in carpets pockets on the back of a donkey, unexpected hail and film crews in ancient Hamadan, the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (even when disrupted by the 21st century noise of young blokes on motorbikes), the kitsch souvenir shops, signage and stalagmites and stalactites at Ali Sadr Caves, staying in amazing converted/restored caravanserai in Yazd and Esfahan, relaxing in the Eram gardens, taking tea with the nomads near Bahvanat and trying my hand at churning butter in a goatskin, the smell of freshly baked bread and the production line four man bakeries in Kashan, Shiraz and Hamadan, the amazing switchback road climbing up and through the Alborz Mountains, through the green of the orchards and wheatfields, the grandeur of Persepolis and the peace and tranquility of the gardens of Fin, the stunning colours decorating the mosques and traditional houses, palaces and citadels – and flowers everywhere.
How: Wild Frontiers’ Land of the Peacock Throne tour
When: April/May 2007
Advice / Info: FCO, CIA Iran Country Profile, BBC Country profile: Iran Wikipedia: Iran, Lonely Planet: Iran, Pars Times: Iran