Archive for May, 2012

An email from a turkish tourist to me

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Dearest Arash,

After 25 days of travel in Iran, I am now home.

After we left Tehran, we went all the way to Shiraz, after Figen left for home, I did Bushehr and Mashhad too.

· It was pity to see Bushehr falling apart. Very poor people. If government does nothing soon, all those houses will soon disappear! It was amazing to see the land change coming from Shiraz, plain valleys and peak mountains, no trees, breathtaking view, long tunnels. Then as we descended the view turned into all palm trees. As far as my eyes can see! It was amazing, really. It was fond to see similarities between the other Gulf countries/cities and Bushehr too. I liked it. Masquitos were very agressive, with unfortunately very little infrastructure it does help them to feed.

· As for Mashhad, Haram is magical! I found security guardians very friendly too. Unlike other shrine staff. I was there for the 2 full days, in the streets, did not come across with even one more tourist! How is this at all possible, it’s beyond my imagination! No English speaking people was difficult for the communication. Thanks again to some lovely Azeri people that I came across, they were more helpful then ever… Overall, Masshad is a difficult environment for a tourist. I believe LP is not covering and giving enough information for Mashhad.

Here are some of my highlights of Iran. Perhaps can give some view :

Best restaurant : Hezardastan Traditional Teahouse, Restaurant and Museum, Mashhad. Very expensive though. But definitely was worth it!

Best cayhane                : Seray-e Mehr Teahouse, Shiraz.

Best qalyan                  : By the Si-o-She bridge, Esfahan. Obviously government removed them all, it’s black market qalyan!…

Best bazaar                  : Tebriz and Esfahan. Amazing. Workshops in Esfahan make bazaar atmosphere magical. Tebriz carpet bazaar is no 1!

Best hotel                     : Silkroad Hotel, Yazd. Peaceful, atmospheric, friendly staff, clean, good food, very good value. Also is a good place to meet new adventurers on a World tour.

Worst hotel                   : Hotel Iran, Quazvin. My nightmare hotel in Iran! Annoying staff too. Towels and bedsheets seemed not to be washed properly. I had some bugs (!) in my bed, which affected me for the next 10 days to itch.

Best city                       : Esfahan. Iran should focus on Esfahan as a marketing to change perceptions! Would appeal to many European travelers. Modern people, great food, good shopping, valuable history, amazing buildings, peaceful and colorful city. I strongly believe Esfahan is no different than any other big touristic cities like Rome, Istanbul, Beirut,.. This is a good strength.

Bad experience             : Taxi drivers in Mashhad was annoying esp for alone women travellers.

As a result;

I am back home with really good memoirs of Iran. I am trying to finalize some of my writings and photos on my blog, so that I can start posting and sharing all this with some curious to-know friends! They can’t wait to hear from me!

I wanted to thank you deeply for all your help, and making Iran so special for us. Surely, and hopefully very soon (perhaps next spring!) I will be definitely back to Iran, continue to enjoy the rural parts and less touristic attractions this time. Go off the road!

My home is your home. Pls whenever you are scheduling to come Istanbul, pls pls pls let me know, too. I will do my utmost best to join you. Also, still we are waiting to hear from Maryam for her soon visit to Istanbul. I hope she will manage to re-schedule it…

Hugs, warm regards, good luck with your new ventures,

Pls give my warm regards, many and special thanks to Shadi and Maryam too.

PS: Unfortunately I do not have their email addresses. If you can share I would be more than greatful!

Hugs, again,

Bike Geckinli

Istanbul, Turkey.