SO MANY MILES TO WANDER
It’s been almost a year since I wrote on my blog, however that doesn’t mean that I haven’t travelled, fortunately I travelled, I went to Lofoten, Norway last June and in December I went to Myanmar.
But I am not going to write about those two trips (maybe another time), because I just came back from another country and it is about that one I will write. Iran.
When I told some people where I was going, the reaction was very similar: why are you going there, it is not safe, they are in war and so on. So, on my first two days, I just thought that I was probably on the wrong country, because I never felt so safe while travelling and people were so friendly to me…they had a chat with me in the gardens, happy to have travellers visiting their country; I was offered fresh and warm bread by a group of girls and I could go on and on about the amazing and kind people I met.
A good thing is that normally I don’t listen to those warnings, because they come from people that don’t travel and what they know about the world is probably based on the news and social media. One thing is the politicians or the person in charge of a country and another thing is the people of that country.
So, throughout the country I have met many Iranians (probably more woman rather than man), and they would approach me and ask me about where I come from and thanking me for visiting their country, they are thrilled to receive travellers. Some groups of teenage girls could be a little hysterical with happiness and plenty of selfies were taken. But I think some Iranians thought that I would speak Farsi because of my facial features and even saying “No Farsi”, they would continue a conversation and I really wish I could understand more than the basics.
Going to the teahouses (sometimes with some tourists) and trying to mix with locals; I would end up with a conversation about football; Portugal is in the same group as Iran for the world cup; but also with love advices for a very confused Iranian girl, while we smoked a water pipe together.
One of the best afternoons was probably in Isfahan. After a late lunch, I decided to go and see the life along the big square and what a surprise I had. A lot was happening: teams playing basketball on roller skates, guys showing of with figure skating; and they were damn good; also hockey and bikes; and music was playing. As the sun came down, things changed, no roller skates, now people were gathering together for a picnic or an ice cream, and having good time with their families and /or friends. Other ones, around 10 pm, would gather on the riverside to have picnics or just for a chat.
About Tehran, I didn’t quite appreciated the architecture, however the city as some positive aspects, such as the mountains in the North part of the capital, not very far and great for a hike on the weekends or a picnic. Also there are many green parks, however still not enough because it is possible to feel the pollution. The Tabiat Bridge is quite nice for a view of the mountains on clear days and on both sides there are green parks. The last day in Iran ended with a local dinner, and before that a teahouse and the last landmark seen was Azadi Tower (with views of the mountains), just laid there on the grass, trying to enjoy and keep in my memories the ambience.
Another great moment was before arriving Shiraz, we passed a salt lake and since it was Friday (which is weekend in Iran), there were families and friends having a great time riding four wheels, playing games and as usually having picnics.
And let’s not forget the sand storm in Yazd, it was my second experience with a sand storm, the other one was in the desert in Jordan. In Yazd, after we visited the Old City, we went to a traditional hotel to have some drinks and we went to the rooftop to see the views. The sky started to get dark and we saw a brownish cloud coming from one side; it was quite fast and we started to feel dust in our face, so I put my camera away and after just few minutes, we had do go downstairs to the hotel courtyard which had the roof covered with a thick plastic (at least it didn’t flew away). The sky turned completely brown and then a storm came and it started to pour down. The storm took some time to pass and afterwards the temperature went down and was much cooler.
Now that I am back from Iran, I can say that it is one of the safest and friendly countries in the world, because I went there and I had the experience of travelling in the country. But, I find it difficult to pass that to others, people are so wrong about Iran. I remember a man that was asking us to tell our friends to come to Iran, “We are not bad people” – he said with tears coming to his eyes. So, pay a visit to this beautiful and friendly country, you won’t regret it.