Internet has been a disaster, so although I have so many observations about Iran which I would like to record as memories, I am going to have to record my daily events and leave personal opinions for when internet is more stable. Hope my trip journal does not become boring!
We had a great day yesterday, actually a fascinating day.
Breakfast in our courtyard was a delight (here I go digressing again, but breakfasts in Iran have been interesting and a lovely start to each day) as usual, such a pretty area. No muesli in Iran, we enjoy the tastiest tomatoes (like we enjoyed in Turkey, so fresh, bright red, ripe and juicy) cucumber, fruit, feta cheese, eggs, heaps of the delicious flat bread, jams, dates, olives, Ramadan pastries etc. so we fill up at breakfast time as we never know when we might eat again.
After breakfast we headed off in a bus to one of the great ancient cities and great wonders of the world, once the centre of the Persian Empire ie. Persepolis.
It was built as an intended showcase of the Achaemenid empire, designed to awe visitors with its scale and beauty. And my golly, it certainly was awesome with its imposing gateways, mighty towering columns, beautiful palaces, exquisite and such interesting relief carvings all telling a different story of life in the past. All in ruins, naturally.
Persepolis was conceived by Darius the Great and burnt down by Alexander the Great. The fun part about exploring these ruins was a pair of glasses we hired which enabled us to see exactly how each section looked including the vibrant palace colours and carpets whilst we wandered around the ruins.
We spent a few hours there before heading off to see the Necropolis, tombs discovered in the area by archeologists including some really clear carvings providing the history behind the tombs.
We stopped at a little restaurant on the way back to Shiraz for a very pleasant lunch and a very poor interpretation of a cold beer. They are malt non alcoholic beers, the bottle looks exactly like a cold beer and probably due to the malt, pours like a beer with a head and good colour, but tastes like lemonade ugh, you can’t imagine how that screws your brain up, let alone your taste buds.
We visited the Hammamet-e Vakil, very old and attractive baths and steam rooms used in the past by Shirazies where there were fountains once, vaulted ceilings, pillars and pools. I enjoyed seeing this sight.
After a quick shower we went to a family home for dinner, met the wives and children, a lovely home with a little fountain the front garden, quite a spacious home and completely different to Sahar’s unit. This was actually a normal family home and I’d say they were fairly comfortable financially.
We arrived at 8.00 pm expecting to eat soon as the fast was over, however we sat around chatting for two hours over tea , fruit and Ramadan very sweet pastries, mind you all homemade and quite delicious.
Finally at 9.30 we had dinner, also very tasty and different to our usual cuisine. About 3 different dishes, chicken, lamb etc but all mixed with rice with totally different flavours. I love their use of spices in each dish. I’ve never eaten so much rice before. There is always a salad, dates and olives.
So another late night by the time we caught a taxi back to our hotel but an interesting evening where we learned a bit more about life in Iran and more particularly in Shiraz.
We had a bit of excitement coming home, being Friday night the city was incredibly busy, especially the mosques. We have a mosque in our street and it was so chaotic that the police had blocked off our street and our taxi drivers were yelling at them as they had been given strict instructions to deliver the 7 foreigners safely and directly to our hotel door. Eventually when we realised that the shouting match was not going anywhere, we all bailed out and walked back to our hotel past the mosque and found it interesting seeing all the people.
Another good and constructive day, we saw a lot, experienced heaps and learned even more about this interesting country.
Time to move on, tonight we sleep with a family out in the country somewhere in this area.