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Published: February 26th 2016
Masjed-e JamehDay 33 Saturday 20th February 2016
Up with the sparrows and out the door in the dark to the Tehran Railway Station. We walked over to information and before we spoke the man said “Yazd through there”, guess the other trains are not going to any tourist destinations and we obviously look like tourists. As we went to enter the gates we were stopped and told we have to check in with the police who had a counter just off to the side. Walk over to the counter but no one was there so we lingered for a while before I asked at the information who phoned the office next to the counter, next he appears from the room which was like a furnace when we entered. A quick check of our passports and a signature on our tickets and we were good to go, asked as we passed through the gates which platform and were told to sit and wait. Looking at the departure board and it was all in Farsi so other than the numbers which are the same as Arabic except for the number four I could not read anything. A man
The Best Way to Get Around Town
behind us asked us if we were OK and said he was getting the same train and would show us which platform when it opened. Finally on the train and guess what it is a furnace I was not sure if I could handle this for 6.5 hours and was worried Scott would melt on me.
As the train started to move at 6.00am and the heat was turned down so the trip was pleasant. The trains are modern and comfortable in the seated area, will try sleeper class next time. The landscape is flat for miles and then hits the mountain ranges which jut straight out of the flatness and they still have snow on them. We arrived at 12.30pm and got a taxi no problem and were off to the old city of Yazd where the buildings are made from mud bricks. We are staying at the Fahadan Museum Hotel, it is a traditional house built about 200 years ago with rooms arranged around two courtyards it is beautiful and the people running it are lovely. The rooms are a bit small but ours has a small dome in the vaulted ceiling with coloured glass
A Badgir (wind tower) on our hotel
to let the light in and the courtyards have day beds so you can relax in the afternoons with spiced tea being served – fantastic.
Had a quick walk around and stopped for a coffee which was spiced with cardamom and sweet have to say I really liked it and that is saying something because I am the one always complaining about coffee. Lunch was not so good, well it was OK and really overpriced for what it was, will need to look for more options tomorrow.
Late in the afternoon relaxed on the daybeds and tried to send emails, found a downside of the hotel, the wifi signal is weak so nothing is going through. Oh well family will have to wait to hear from us. Day 34 Sunday 21st February 2016
Breakfast in Iran so far is fairly basic fried eggs, tomato, cucumber and flat bread, here we had a few more choices and even yoghurt well I think it was yoghurt either that or cream it was so rich and then I read it was 30%!f(MISSING)at; there goes the waist
Sunset From the Hotel Roof
Doing a walk through the old city recommended by the Lonely Planet starting at Amir Chakhmaq Complex which is a Hosseinieh which quickly means a building used during rituals to commemorate the death of Imam Hossein. The façade is 3 stories high and one of the largest of its kind in Iran making it impressive. There are shops through the entrance specialising in grilled chicken liver called jigar we had just eaten breakfast so we could not fit them in but funnily enough by the time we walked back to the corner and found the store of Haj Khalifeh Ali Rahbar we found our appetite and brought a small box of traditional Yazd sweets for our afternoon tea later in the day.
Continued walking, passing a beautiful turquoise domed roof of the tomb Bogheh-ye Sayyed Roknaddin which is unfortunately covered in scaffold that looks like it has been there for a while. The main site on this street is the Masjed-e Jameh a mosque with an incredible entrance portal and two 48 metre minarets towering above. The mosque built in the 15th
century has been extensively renovated over the last 70 years to
Yazd Train Station
Shelley with backpack
bring it back to its former glory, inside there is a small museum showing pictures taken in the 1930’s by RobertByron a travel writer which showed the sad state the building was in then.
The walk winds its way through the narrow streets passed many of the city’s old mudbrick buildings some with badgirs that are wind towers and basically ancient air conditioning that circulate cool air through the buildings. The streets are so narrow that when a car comes down it beeps so no other cars enter the street and we have to jump into doorways till they pass, on the sides of houses especially on corner there are gouges along the walls at bonnet height where cars could not fit. We have seen piles of mud combined with straw in the streets so I guess it is a constant battle to keep the places maintained with the age of the buildings and drivers who don’t understand the width of their cars.
Last stop was to be Alexander’s Prison which is opposite our hotel which is a 15th
century domed school which has a deep well in the courtyard that was supposed to
have been built by Alexander the Great but that fact is widely disputed except from tour guides. Unfortunately inflation has hit this site to, as the LP quotes the price being US$0.20 and it is now 150,000 rials (about AUD$7.00) that is a huge difference to see a well no matter how deep it is. Instead walked back to the café for a Yazd coffee and back to the room to blog and eat some of our afternoon tea. The sweets here are great, we brought an assortment which included sweets made with coconut, rose water, pistachios, almonds, cardamom and all containing lots of sugar. Dinner and lunch options in the old town are very, very limited but we spotted a place a short distance from our hotel so we gave it a try for dinner. I (Michele) went a traditional stew that was better than most that I have tried while Scott stuck to Chicken Kebab as he cannot taste anything anyway at the moment Day 35 Monday 22nd February 2016
My (Scott) health is still in decline and woke up feeling even worse than yesterday and spent most
of the night coughing, thankfully no one was in the next rooms otherwise I am sure they would have put me out of my misery. After a very slow breakfast we once again had a go at trying to send emails, with not much success, cannot access internet and our phone doesn’t work, so we are isolated once again, if this keeps up we may have to resort to sending postcards. Managed to pick up a voucher for a bus to Shiraz for tomorrow from the local tourist information centre next to the hotel so we at least had an exit plan.
Our plan today was to view some of the more distant sites around town and Shelley told me she would allow me the luxury of getting a taxi instead of walking, true love. All I wanted to do was lay on the bed and die but needed to get out as I don’t think our room was too healthy for an Asthmatic with the flu, ie. Old rugs, lots of dusty nick nacks and curtains. Saw a Pharmacy yesterday so we did a twenty minute walk and picked up some antibiotics, sinus tablets and cough
Amir Chakhmaq Complex
Seen from the busy street level
mixture for $4; Iran sure is a cheap place to get sick in. We wandered further down the street with me popping pills as I went till we got to an “Iranian Milk Bar” and we both had a fantastic Banana smoothie. Should have been ready to take on the world after all of that but all I wanted was bed so we staggered back to the hotel. The rest of the day was spent alternating between the fabulous cool courtyards of the hotel and our room, with me coughing and whinging.
Late in the afternoon Shelley managed to coax me outside once more and we did our final walk through the town on sunset. Yazd is an incredibly photogenic old town and it is a real joy to experience, and I was a bit annoyed I had been so sick whilst here. We ended up at the Bogheh-ye Sayyed Roknaddin which we had seen yesterday but was unable to find the entrance, but today we did. The Bogheh-ye Sayyed Roknaddin is a 700 year old mosque and mausoleum to a local Islamic notable, and at present is being restored. From the entrance gate we could see
that it was open but wasn’t sure if we were permitted to enter. While we procrastinated a troupe of local women came along and invited Michele inside with them, they actually invited us both in but stupido didn’t notice and after waiting outside for about 5 minutes one of the women came and fetched me. The inside is full of scaffold and you can see how they are restoring the badly deteriorating interior. Also inside is the gold encrusted tomb of Roknaddin which you can (and we did) drop money into. Sort of thought maybe he might be an Islamic patron Saint for the sick backpacker. Had a good chat to the women outside afterwards and discovered one of the women has a brother in Melbourne.
After that pleasant discovery my energy levels were waning so we headed back and along the way passed a few political talks that were drawing large crowds of locals. The elections are only a few days away and the number of elections posters going up has skyrocketed. Back at the hotel we climbed onto the roof and took some sunset photos before going back to dinner where we ate yesterday. Tomorrow
Rear of Entrance Portal
we are moving on and we are both kind of sad to be leaving such a fabulous old town and a great hotel where the staff have treated us like family.
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