Terrorist or Tourist?

We left Mashhad before the weekend and headed to Yazd. Our first stop-over was in Tabas, a small city along the way where we found a simple hotel and met three Italians and their Iranian guide and had a great evening in the desert-heat (of app. 42 degrees) discussing all possible travel destinations together.

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The next morning we left Tabas and arrived in Yazd a little after lunch. We didn’t find the busy street life, people and chaos here. Yazd is a charming city with an old, walled city centre consisting of all mud-brick houses and buildings. It is also famous for its Badgirs, we called it wind towers, a genius system of natural air conditioning by separating the warmth and cooling the wind with cold water drums. Our hotel was located in the middle of the old city, in a beautiful building with a large courtyard… but it also brought us the first less charming experience in Iran as we had never met hotel staff/hosts that were so rude and unfriendly.

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Good thing we wanted to see the city and spend as much time as possible outside of the hotel :-). We walked for several hours through the old city and took a look at some beautiful mosques and facades in the other parts of town. The old city was quiet even though, different than in Uzbekistan’s old cities, the local people still live there. The skies over Yazd in the evening were unforgettable and the camera worked overtime again!

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After Yazd we continued our Iran-travels to Esfahan. Driving is a delight in this country. Roads are wide and the tarmac is great! There are relatively little police posts and at the toll points we (most of the time) can pass without paying – while getting a big smile and the standard question where we are from. We were stopped once at a police post, but mainly because the officers wanted to have a better look at our stickers on the car. After that they asked (while laughing) if we were terrorists or tourists. We had a blast and actually enjoyed the stop. We’re constantly driving through the desert between all the cities; some would call it boring, I think it is quite nice as colours change regularly and the sun adds to amazing light and skies.

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That is a thing we like very much about the Iranians, they have a very healthy sense of mocking themselves and the fact that they know the whole world seems to think they are terrorists and dangerous. ‘Why are you in Iran as a tourist? You know we are very dangerous!’ We are having a lot of fun with them. They are so honoured and happy that people take an interest in them and their country. And if you ask us, they can be proud of all of it!

Esfahan is an absolute treasure. It has the second largest square in the world where we spent an afternoon shopping, admiring mosques and other buildings surrounding it and we were completely in love with the bazaar (attached to the square) in Esfahan. It goes on for kilometers and you can find everything there. It is busy, chaotic, local and the smells, colours and products are fascinating. We also visited the three famous bridges of Esfahan, although this time of the year there is no river. You can just cross a field of sand in the middle of the city.

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Food in Iran is a feast. Every lunch and dinner are moments during the day to look forward to. We try as many local dishes as possible and we haven’t been disappointed once. Also in Yazd and Esfahan we ate well :-)…. the only thing we find strange (and not so gezellig) is the fact that there are hardly any terraces or tea houses with outside seating – while these cities and the weather is just perfect to have a tea (or other non-alcoholic drink) outside in the afternoon. Watching the people passing by… you know how it works. Even finding a small supermarket on the busy streets selling a soft drink is scarce.

But in general, as you can read, we are still charmed by this country and its people. Our next stop is Teheran where we are meeting a family friend and where the real shopping begins (saffron, rice cookers, Persian carpets etc). Especially for me this will be a nostalgic place as I will be going back to the house where my parents lived and where I was produced – visiting the hospital where I was supposed to be born.

4 Responses to Terrorist or Tourist?

  1. Marie Anne

    Wat leuk om jullie positieve reactie op Iran te lezen. Wij hebben hier altijd zo’n negatief idee over het land.
    Ja, heerlijk zijn die lokale markten. De geuren en kleuren…. Daar kan geen Nederlandse markt tegenop.
    Grtz

  2. Renne de Waard

    Hi Mirian en Bert,

    Leuke verhalen en mooie foto’s. Fijn dat de reis goed verloopt. Helaas missen we jullie als je in Nederland aankomt want wij vliegen 27 augustus terug naar Australie. Wie weet zien we elkaar in de toekomst in Nederland of in Australie. Veel plezier verder en een veilige reis.
    Tanneke en Renne.

  3. Betty Kemper

    Sweet memories of Isfahan! Wij waren er lang geleden en gingen “los” in de bazaar! Veel van de aankopen staan nog altijd in de kamer! Leuk om even een “bekend” stukje van jullie mee te beleven.

  4. Stefano Bondesan

    Hi Bert and Miriam! I’m glad to have met you and to be a part of your diary. Congratulations again for your adventure. Have a great life, I hope to meet again!
    Stefano

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