Blogs from Esfahan, West, Iran, Middle East


Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan December 29th 2018

It was a hectic scramble getting to the bus station and having arrived at the huge Terminal e-Jonub back in Tehran, I had no idea what was going on. All the signage was Persian-only which I cannot for the life of me decipher, so I just approached the man yelling “Esfahan, Esfahan!” who took me to the ticket office and put me on the bus. At least in China I could at least recognise characters, even if I didn’t know what they meant. I'm not sure if the bus was sticking to a timetable but I knew that buses left for Isfahan pretty frequently from here and would probably just leave when it had picked up enough passengers. While I was buying the ticket, I was pestered the whole way by some dude trying to tell ... read more
Pol-e Khaju
Kakh-e Ali Qapu
Inside The Masjed-e Sheik Lotfallah

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan November 19th 2017

Wednesday 1 November We arrived in time to relax for a while before going out to start exploring this amazing city. For a start we walked down to the Se-o-e Pol (33 arch bridge), a fabulous sight and popular with tourists and locals alike. We realised that we were going to start seeing other European tourist groups for the first time. Luckily the city is big enough and the numbers small enough so that this is not a problem. After this some of us went to the Shahrzad restaurant and had possibly the best ever plate of lamb chops followed by a shared dish of the local speciality, khoresht-e mast (google it). At the end of the dinner the waiters plied us with local nougat (gaz). Thursday 2 November Esfahan A day of sightseeing in this ... read more
The 33 arch bridge in Esfahan
Women's mosque
Masjad e Imam

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan October 18th 2017

Travelling further south we are aiming for Shiraz, but we have a lot of Persian history to learn about, and see, on the journey. Initially we head into the mountains, passing through remote rural villages - the going is slow. We stop, for an enjoyable picnic lunch, and eventually reach our destination for the night, at a home stay in the small village of Faraghe. We stroll around the village, sampling hot breads straight from the wood-fired ovens, and later sample figs and pomegranates picked from the orchard trees. We enjoy a simple but tasty home-cooked meal around a blazing brazier. The following morning the history commences when we visit the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, a high stone tiered edifice. Iranians are forever drinking tea, lightly spiced with mint, ... read more
Mirror-tiled Interior Ali-ibn-hamzeh Shrine - Shiraz
Eagle head Statues - Persepolis
Reflections at night of the Imam Mosque - Isfahan

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan March 10th 2017

Roam abroad in the world, and take your fill of its enjoyments before the day shall come when you must quit it for good. – Sa’adi Arrived in glorious Isfahan, only a four-hour bus ride from Yazd, in the early evening. The jewel of ancient Persia and one of the finest cities in the Islamic world, according to the guidebook, and famous for its Persian-Islamic architecture. The most well-known Persian saying about Isfahan is “Esfahan nesf-e jahan,” or Isfahan is half the world. A wonderful city to explore at leisure, drinking tea and wandering the bazaars, if you can manage it. Amazing mosques, fabulous palaces and elegant bridges, and shopping which will empty both your days and your pocketbook. We stayed at the lovely and atmospheric Sunrise Traditional Hotel, a bit far from the Naqsh-e-Jahan Square ... read more
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Imam Mosque

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan November 16th 2016

Our ride to Yazd bus station arrived promptly. Iranians are very punctual, if not 5-10 mins early. We enjoyed the cool of the early morning once we’d found our bus. Passengers started to get grumpy when 9am came and we still hadn’t left (it was supposed to be an 8:30). A young woman who was studying in Yazd had sat opposite us and we’d been chatting to her as she spoke good English, she’d made a deliberate beeline for that seat in a relatively empty bus so we knew she was keen to engage. She told us that the driver was saying it not his fault he couldn’t go, that there was some problem with the company that they couldn’t understand something to do with accidents and the company be temporarily closed. The men on the ... read more

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan April 21st 2016

Our first full day in Esfahan began with a visit to the 40 Column Palace. Kurush, our new guide, gave us the tour of the place and pointed out historic references among the paintings decorating the walls. Outside, a vista of foliage could be enjoyed by visitors. We walked among the gardens for a bit. The next stop was an old mosque known as the "Shaking Minarets". While outside, Kurush bought us this blended carrot drink with ice cream. This mosque was built in the 14th century over a tomb and is famous for, several times a day, having a person climb into one of the minarets and shaking it excessively. This, in turn, will cause the others to shake. While waiting for the show, I met a man who had come from another part of ... read more
Khaju Bridge
Tasty Treat

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan March 2nd 2016

Day 40 Saturday 27th February 2016 Today is a bus to Esfahan which leaves at 10.30am so slept in a bit and got a taxi to the terminal. No sooner had we jumped out of the taxi and we were being asked where to and do we have a ticket, every step someone different asked us the same question and wanted to see our ticket. Finally sat down and another man asked to see our ticket and confirmed the bus in front of us was ours, then started to walk away with our ticket. Scott called out and he said “computer” sometimes you just have to go with the flow, a few minutes later he reappeared and handed us a computerised version of our ticket. Today’s bus is a standard and it is still ... read more
Pol-e Si-o-Seh Bridge
Masjed-e Shah
Vank Cathedral

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan February 10th 2016

Next stop in my little Iran tour, the jewel of Esfahan. I took the 7 hours local bus from Shiraz to Esfahan. The bus was scheduled for 6am, we left at 6.45am. The bus ride was comfortable, less than 4usd for a 7 hours ride. The restroom stop a local mosque, which is a first for me. And one more time, amazing people. Not many tourists do venture independently to Iran today, even less seem to take local long-distance you end up meeting people, and even when they don't speak English, they are super friendly! Visiting any place on a National day, and you face the issues of closed places such as museums or other sites. I arrived in Esfahan just after lunch time. I knew most mosques do close here by 4pm on ... read more
Beautiful Si-o-Seh bridge
I like when they stopped to ask me what I tought of what was happening!
Beautiful Naqsh-e Jahan Iman Square

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan September 29th 2015

The Persian proverb "Esfahan is half of the world" (which if Google translate has worked is what the title of this blog says in Farsi) is hyperbole but it is a spectacular place with a huge square, many mosques, palaces, bridges, and a fantastic bazaar. Where it definitely isn't half the world is in restaurants – perhaps the biggest challenge we faced during our days there was finding something local to eat, one night we even resorted to pizza and a Subway style sandwich ffs !!! True to form the people were friendly, chatty and hospitable, inviting us for tea even when they weren't trying to sell us something or when we told them we weren't going to buy anything – despite Esfahani's being known for their selling skills and fondness for money. We did though ... read more
Imam Mosque
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Sheihk Lotfollah Mosque

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan July 23rd 2015

Geo: 32.68, 51.68Giving up on our Chinese visas yet again we head south, to theoretically calmer but hotter conditions. Camped out the first night and woke up to a flat tyre. Darren pulled a large lump of metal out of the tyre and plugged the hole and we were off and racing. Stopped enroute to visit a kashan which is an old traditional village that had been continuously occupied for 2500 years. Wow it is hard to get your head around exactly how old stuff is here.The town was nondescript however once we found the Bazaar we were in for a treat, it was not full of the normal tourist crap found in the larger cities. It also had some very interesting pools of water under large overhead curved roofs that were very efficiently cooling the ... read more
Village Street View
Looking very local
Granny on her Donkey

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