Finally we got here! (Or better I got here, as Javi crossed the border a couple weeks earlier). And honestly I was a bit disappointed, till I got to Tehran, then everything changed and now I love it here.
When thinking about Iran, maybe because of the media, I thought I was going to be shocked how different things are. But, I’m not so much. Maybe is because we’ve been getting used to this differences from Western Europe gradually, since we got to Turkey.
Of course the first difference you see is the use of the Arab alphabet. For a few days I tried to learn how to read, but it’s impossible unless you know how to speak Farsi: they don’t write most of the vowels! So unless you know the word, it’s almost impossible to guess. Once you know what is written, you can read it, but by then is too late!
When I entered Iran I already had hosts for the first two cities I was going to cross: Urmia and Tabriz. In Urmia I spent two really nice days with Meysam and his family, who had millions or questions. For some of them I was the first foreigner they’ve met, so I didn’t mind answering. It was actually fun to see what they were curious about, and why.
Urmia is not as small as I thought, but doesn’t have that many things to see. I even visited the university. It was nice to see how young people are the same everywhere. And there is when I discovered that I totally look Persian, when one guy in the corridor greeted me “salam”!
Afterwards I left to Tabriz, where the great Johnny Roberts took my at his gypsy house. He had to work quite a lot in his restaurant, but still we talked quite a lot about travelling by bike. He wants to travel around the world but he needs some more encouraging, I did my best, but he needs some more.
Tabriz there are quite a lot of things to see, but I was quite disappointed. Nothing seemed so impressing that I would recommend. The biggest covered bazaar is there, but to me most of the bazaars start looking the same, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen all.
The Ali Goyli Park is nice, but far away from the center. Probably the best thing I saw was a carpet museum in the Municipality building. Maybe because I was alone and it was cold, but after two days I was ready t leave, even when I had to wait an extra day for my train.
The last day I went to Kandogan, where there are some houses carved on the stones, like in Cappadocia, but the difference is that here people still live. It was interesting, especially when I asked one man if I could see his house, but after Cappadocia this seems really small.
So after three days I was eager to take my train and continue exploring Iran, hoping that I would start liking it more. And it was getting to Teheran and start liking the country more. Perhaps because the weather changed or because Javi was there, but from then on, I began to enjoy Persia.