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Published: December 8th 2014
My very last day. The last day generally sucks. This one will be a long one as the flight out of IKA isn't until 2225 tonight, I'm going to fill my day with last minute stuff and not sit around moping. There is saffron ice cream out there!
I still need a few souvenirs- my "go to" advisors, Fatima and Mehrabi, once again come to my rescue. Armed with another brilliant hand drawn map I head off to a couple of places selling handicrafts. I enjoy my last walk around the streets of Tehran; it's bustling, the traffic is crazy, the pedestrian crossings are optional, the moneychanger guys are out and about; it's a great city. I end up in 1 of the recommended shops and strike a deal on some more plates- evil eye design variations which I'm happy with. In another part of town near the old US Embassy the street is lined with more high end handicraft shops. I find the Esfehan enamelled plates that I should have bought in Esfehan- get one for my mum and still don't find a tablecloth as good as the one I also should also have bought in Esfehan. Next time
... Also find a gourmet food place, something I haven't seen to date- it is full of imports as well as Iranian specialty goods. They have a huge selection of tinned biscuits and sweets!! Butter fudge cardamon biscuits- yes please, with these my last minute souvenirs have blown out to about 5kg of extra luggage. Carrying around 5kg of stuff through the streets of Tehran equals exercise. Exercise equals a carrot juice and saffron ice cream stop... doesn't it?
By now it is afternoon, my remaining time is spent negotiating the public transport system to get to the Lavender Patisserie in the norther suburbs of Tehran. I figure I'll make a surprise visit to the girl that I met at Ateshooni in Garmeh. The plan was BRT express bus to Pesian station, off at Pesian and head north- can't miss it. Long story short- I met a lady on the local bus who convinced me that a cab would only cost a few $ and would be easier and they could take me straight to the patisserie. It was an entertaining taxi ride involving freeways, much further than I thought, we ended up in the very leafy green suburb
of Zafaraniyeh- lots of security high fences, high end shops and fancy houses. The poor taxi guy didn't have a clue where the patisserie was- he must have asked about 10 people and ultimately got the taxi wheel stuck in a ditch negotiating a 12 point turn in the skinny back streets for which a few guys walking by lifted the car out of (!!!!). We made it in the end to find out that my new friend was home sick that day! The coffee was great though as were her very exquisite baked creations. About 4 hours after setting off for the patisserie I caught another cab back to the hotel to get packed up. http://toptenteh.com/shopping/item/25#
Back at the Hafez I found myself invited for more ice cream courtesy of the the Polish brother and sister I met yesterday- they had bought litres of it for the staff and in true Iranian style it was shared with everyone. Have I mentioned how much I have come to love saffron ice cream? A great way to spend the last couple of hours - eating ice cream and chatting. The trip to the airport took about 45 minutes, I
Very upmarket patisserie in the leafy green Northern suburbs of Tehran
shared a cab with the ice cream bearing Poles and another Polish couple courtesy of Fatima's great arranging skills.
Guess where my last few Iranian Rials went- yep- they sell ice cream at the airport too.
In summary - Iran is a seriously incredible destination. IMO it has absolutely everything a traveller could want;
reliable and cheap public tranport
sublime architecture- ohhh those tiled mosques.... breathtaking
and probably the most standout feature of all- the people of Iran- I can categorically say that on all my travels they are the most friendly and genuine people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
I sincerely hope that I get the opportunity to go back, there is so much still to see and experience.
Long trip report I know, should you have any comments or questions feel free... What a place! What an experience!
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