Iran second to last day!!

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September 15th 2016
Published: September 15th 2016
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Last night i enjoyed the best meal on the tour so far, a true home cooked Iranian delight.
Apparently the best cooking in Iran is done in the home, and a few enterprising cooks open home cooking cafes, serving only 1 or 2 tables in their kitchens. Our meal was one of these. Certainly have not seen the opportunity to order, let alone eat, a meal like I enjoyed. First was an Aubergine soup, with yogurt and green herbs (it was a mix of smoky flavours and a light sweetness), then was a meatball, the size of a softball or large grapefruit (a mix of a small amount of chicken mince, lamb mince, chickpea, sultanas, rice and an Iranian bean. The mix was not dense or dry, and was full of flavour). Desert was a baby fig, marinated in honey, rose water and sugar syrup. Not overly sweet. A tasty finish). The total cost was 100,000 rial, USD 3-. The cook also does take away. Only opened 3 nights previously. TDA's Iranian guide found this place at lunch and mentioned it to Phil and I. Over dinner the guide informed me that he travelled with an Australian TV chef and kitchen team last year, for a TV documentary on Iranian food. It was either Shane Delia, or the chef who owned the highly regarded middle eastern restaurants in Melbourne.
He also said he arranges cooking tours in Iran. Various cities and provinces have unique food and which he says is delicious. Must be true for a TV documentary! When pressed he suggested a 10 day tour by car with driver which would showcase the best sites across 5 regions and unique daily meals. It sounds a good option as a lay over on the way to Europe!! I am getting his details. I doubt it would be overly expensive as most things are remarkably cheap here. Tourism is in its infancy.
The tour departed Tabriz with a local bike club escort, about 100 club members. It was a slow, chaotic first 10 kms where we farewelled the club members. All anxious for photos. A surprisingly large number of female riders. Tabriz is the 2018, centre for Islamic tourism. It has a way to go to rival Asia!!, however the people are very friendly and welcoming and If restaurants sold food as tasty as we ate last night, it could be on its way!
Todays ride was long, but not to bad. There were limited drink stops, making it feel longer! Once we escaped the city and feeder towns and traffic, the scenery reverted to bald mountains and farm land along water courses. Along the way we passed a caravanserai, a meeting place for travellers. Built 450 years ago but recently renovated, but unused?? Quite special in style!
Tonight's camp site is pitiful. It is slashed weedy farmland, bisected by streams, which hides swarms of flies and mosquitoes. The surrounding scenery is interesting, but after a long, hot ride, my frustration on seeing where we were to camp boiled over. This company refuses to pay for campsites! The only thing similar to a good camp site is that the tent is erected on land. There the similarity ends!


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