Arriving in Tehran by plane, I did the same game as in Cairo: no I don’t want to pay about 20€ for a taxi drive to the city center. So I take the bus, 10 times cheaper. But it was an experience for itself: since I didn’t left the Airport immediately and Tehran Airport does not seem very big or very busy, I had to wait about one hour to get the mini bus to have more than 10 persons before it starts. The only other tourist like me was a Japanese guy in Iran only for one week. If most of the Iranians in the bus could not speak much English, one working for Iran Airlines could a little and helped us (me and the Japanese) to change to the Metro. Already a friendly welcome in Iran!
I went directly to the place of my CS hosts, but had some difficulties to follow their instructions with street names. I later figured out than many streets (in this case a boulevard) get the same name!
I had a very nice time in Tehran in my first 2-3 days in Iran. Going daily for some sightseeing and museum, I went back to Targol and Massoud place in the evening, where we had long discussions about many topics. They also introduced me to their friends: one evening we went to a hill in Northern Tehran for a nice view over the city. With their friends we had a break playing arch, a premiere for all of us! The second day, Ali and Ali came at T&M place and we had a nice dinner together. All of them are hiking and climbing amateurs, I wish I could spend one day off with them in the 4000m high mountains in about ~1-2 hours drive from Tehran! The last night before continuing my trip, I invited them in a good Iranian restaurant.
About sightseeing, I started with the Golestan palace and its impressive glass galleries in the main hall. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed there. As usual (I think for instance about Abu Simbel), the best pictures to do are those forbidden, so what you see in my photo gallery is just an invitation to come into the country!
The Bazaar in Tehran is very impressive: it is huge, you can walk many km there, be amazed and get lost; see the different shops about the famous Persian carpet, anything from the household or some artists working on jewelries. You can also imagine the power of the leaders: when the VAT got introduced a few years ago, they made a lot a pressure to have some special rules.
The second day, a Monday, I went to the Malek library and museum because other museums were closed. A very nice addition to the cultural offer: you could get interesting information about the Persian writing and its evolution during the ages. In the library, men and women are also clearly split.
The jewelry museum and its masterpieces is probably one of the most famous and popular museum in Tehran. You can see the biggest uncut diamond used in a jewel, plenty of gold, rubies, etc worth probably many millions or even billions of $. I felt a little sad seeing all these wealth thinking what we could do with it! And I got also surprised that many people (particularly women) are coming to this place while the other museums were almost empty, even if these later are 6 times cheaper.