Shiraz

As I have less than 20 days in Iran, I could only see a part of it, and chose to follow the classic route recommended by the Lonely Planet. I flew from Tehran to Shiraz, a ~ 1000km and 2h flight, for 760k IRR, i.e. less than 35€!

I send some couch requests on CS only the day before; it was too short to get something. But still, Betsy sent me an invitation to meet in the city. So I first get a cheap hotel in the center and met Betsy. What a lovely girl! She used to learn English as translation and is working on some writings. Native from Shiraz, she knows everything and could show me all the main sites worth seeing. The Gardens there are particularly beautiful. The bazaar, mosque, bath gained also some nice shots. We finished the day with the tombs of Sa’Di and Hafez, the most famous and popular Iranian poet. It was impressive to see so many people coming to the tomb of Hafez to pray on it.

In the evening, we went to a good traditional restaurant, where I saw again the few tourists I saw before in a Mosque. I joined them to a tour in Persepolis the day after. I had a great time with these guys. Arnaud from France (un Breton aussi d’ailleurs, du côté de Lorient!), Cornelia and Steffi from Austria, Leon and Andre from Germany were all students in Erasmus semester in Istanbul, Turkey, having a 6 weeks trip at the end of the semester through Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran. 5+me = 6 tourists, it does not fit in a car, we hire a mini bus for the daily trip to Persepolis (which mean Persian city in Greek). As we started quite late, we were in at noon there, quite exhausting to go around under the heat. Persepolis used to be a magnificent city. It is particularly interesting for the multi cultural references from many countries under the influence of the Great Persian Empire. However, though very different, Persepolis is not as impressive as Petra I saw a few weeks before… The second stop, Necropolis or Naqsh-e Rostam, was actually much closer to Petra, with a few huge caves used as tombs. The bas reliefs there are splendid, and the caves are much better preserved than the ones saw in Petra.

While the group of 5 took the night bus to Yazd, I stayed one day more in Shiraz. I started with the Citadel and the Pars museum close to the hotel. I walk some kilometer through the city to reach the Shater Abbas restaurant for lunch. Kurosch, a friend from Germany but originally from Iran, recommended me this restaurant and it was a good luck I got his email the day before!  It was worth the effort: I could get the best lamb Kebab I ever had! I just missed a good wine with it, e.g. a Shiraz wine, the name of the city has become a variety of wine, and honestly, before coming here, I only knew the wine! But now, alcohol is forbidden, and most Muslims don’t drink and don’t like alcohol. Wine much more than alcohol, but it is difficult to find in Iran.

I then met Betsy again in the public park for another tour in the further areas around the city. We first went to the impressive Bagh-e Eram (Eram Garden). While just entered, an unexpected storm started: the first time since Europe I saw rain! I was particularly surprised because I was dreaming about it while in Persepolis the day before! The rain cooled down the atmosphere, which made further move much nicer! After a sweetie ice cream made from Arno tree (kind of Granada), we walked in a higher spot for an impressive view over the city.

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