Many people asked us “why do you want to go to Iran” and there is one simple answer to that: the people. The hospitality, friendliness, openness and their interest in foreigners is exceptional. Besides wonderful people Iran has very diverse nature and impressive historical buildings.
We guess that due to what you hear about Iran in the western news you might (like many people) have a very wrong opinion about Iran – you might think it’s an unsafe country. The truth is the country it is the complete opposite of what you hear about Iran in the news – very safe (well except for the crazy traffic…), friendly and open people, lots of joy and laughter. You can’t imagine how warmly we were welcomed.
And yes women in Iran have to respect hijab – a dress code where first of all they must cover their hair and second of all must cover most parts of their body (no shirts, no cleavage, no naked arms and legs). These are the rules but Iranian women try to circumnavigate them as much as possible. In Tehran you will see lots of hair (the scarf basically sits very far back on the head revealing lots of hair) and the women dress up a lot. And they wear make up – a LOT of it!
We traveled from Tehran to the very green and coldish north. We really enjoyed the north of Iran – it is much less touristy than the south and the people are incredibly hospitable. We were welcomed with arms wide open, got invited to stay several nights with families, met the parents of many young Iranians we stayed with and if we would not have said no so often we could probably have been invited for tea at least 10 times a day. In the north it was much greener and colder than expected.
From the north we traveled southwards and visited many cities with fascinating buildings. We slept in the desert, walked through many Bazaars, met wonderful locals and travelers, visited more mosques, shrines and historical buildings than we can count, went hiking in the lonely mountains until the snow prevented us from going further, went to the ancient ruins of Persepolis and got smiled, waved and talked to about one million times.
We experienced so much that it would be too much to write down. As it is much easier to describe things together with a picture we encourage you to have a look at our picture gallery and the description of the image.
Iran will stay in our memory as a very fascinating, misunderstood country with the most hospitable people we have met on our entire trip around the world.
NOTES & ANECDOTES
when we arrived at Tehran airport at night there was a lady at the arrival section which held up a “distant horizons” sign – that was VERY weird… we spoke to her and as it turned out she was from a travel company also called distant horizons and was waiting for a passenger… what are the odds?!
Iran is a country where there is a HUGE difference between public and private life. Behind closed walls most of the women will dress entirely different to what they wear on the street – no head scarf and basically like most people in the western world.
the music taste in Iran is VERY different to western music taste: the music is very romantic and rather slow
there are very good and cheap public buses between mayor cities. If you want to go to rural areas it will be a bit more tricky but there will always be a local helping you.
Iranians are very hygienic. There is soap everywhere (you will literally never find a public restroom without soap) and there is lots of cleaning everywhere.
in Iran the WWW is called “world wide WAIT” – the main reason behind this is that as many sites are blocked Iranians have to use slow VPN connections to circumvent the filtering and be able to access Facebook, flickr and many others.
on the road there are many annoying and most of the time useless speed bumps. These speed bumps do not stop the Iranians from speeding and the only ones they help is probably the brake pad industry…
Iran is the nation with the highest number of “nose jobs” (nose operations). This is probably due to the fact that as women can only show their beauty through their face (and partly the hair) they want their face to be as beautiful as possible.
many people are unsatisfied with their situation in the country and many young people want to study in a foreign country or emigrate.