Iran: how many people have misconceptions about specific countries? Too many, and Iran is one of the countries on that list.
I honestly had not the time to visit it around, and just focused my short trip to Tehran, the capital. Therefore, I am not in a position to talk about pros and cons, however I still would like to express what I saw and how I felt when interacting with local people.
First of all: in general, people do not speak English, but they try to help you as much as they can.
Second: Sometimes I am too much adventurous and not reading about the rules of the country nowadays turned out to create a whole bunch of mis-adventures during the trip, starting exactly at the moment of my arrival.
Although Iran has recently opened the doors to tourists, there is still the small issue of Visa and Mastercard (or whatever foreign credit cards) not working in the country. I changed some cash, as planned, and was expecting to find at least one ATM at the airport to withdraw money directly. Nope. No ATMs accept foreign cards.
I paid my visa on arrival with dollars, and instead of 50 USD, I had to pay 10 USD more with no reason.
Usually the visa on arrival is pretty fast to get it. Not in Tehran: I had to wait about an hour.
Awesome. With my 30-days visa and very few cash in my pocket, I went out of the airport looking for a bus to reach the city: no bus, no subway. Only taxis with a fixed rate for a one-way journey to Tehran.
Fixed rate doesn’t exist in my vocabulary and I started negotiating with taxi drivers that didn’t speak a word in english. Somehow they understood I was asking for less, and they all laughed about it. It took me some time to get it done, but I got a bit of discount and the chance to meet an other traveller to share the taxi with.
Alright. Destination: Tehran!
By the way, if you are on a rush in Tehran, please notice that the airport is pretty far from the city. It took us around one hour to get there, with no traffic.
As the pictures shows, we, girls, need to wear something to cover our head (in arabic language they called it “hijab”), although we don’t need to cover every single hair. I have seen so many iranian women around, wearing their “hijab” and still showing lots of hair.
The city itself is divided into two parts: the South (the poorest area) and the North (the richest one).
One of the main problem in Tehran is the wi-fi. You can’t find wifi everywhere, and if you are lucky enough to find a place with it, it is going to be very slow. So, be patient.
I was so (un) lucky that I didn’t even need the wifi: my phone decided to stop working all of a sudden. And that’s where my best friend Karin, who was waiting for me at the hostel saved my whole trip. Because, honestly, I am a free spirit, but I still need to send a text to my mom whenever I land somewhere not to make her worried. 100% Italian mom. 🙂
Reunited again. Let’s go to explore the city!
As I only had 25 hours of time and lost about 2 hours at the airport, we only visited the south part of the city.
I thought to be in the small towns of Sicily sometimes:
Admiring the unique art of the persian mosques:
The food? Simply amazing: warm bread with a very tasty kebab and yogurt sauce.
The people: as mentioned above, they can not speak english well, though they try every time to help you. I kind of felt I was in the Italy that my grandparents were talking about when they were young.
I only took few pics as my phone didn’t help me with that. I wish i could show more.
I will definitely go back and visit the areas of the mountains, outside Tehran, and all the other mosques with their beautiful and fascinating colours and architecture.
This was just a taste to let me go back! 🙂