We travelled to Tehran by train. The compartments were 6 berth but fortunately we were only 4 to a compartment. I found myself on the bottom bunk in the belief that I am too infirmed to get on and off the top bunk. I felt like a herring in a tin and bumped my head on the bunk above. This was the worse carriage of the whole trip.
We spent a day in Tehran where we visited the Museum of Iran. The guide said that after 1850 Persia had made agreements with France and Britain that ancient artifacts were to be left in Persia.
We also visited the palace of the Shah. It had large grounds, but the rooms were generally not as ornate as I had expected, except for the mirror room.
I went for a walk to a cake shop where a young student asked if he could help me, and explained to the assistant that 1 finger meant one piece of baklava not one kilo. He then introduced me to his mother. Again so friendly.
Then I bought figs and the assistant gave me a sample of nuts and other figs as well as my 100gm purchase. Again it was just a friendly gesture.
Then a much better train to Tabriz near the border with Armenia.
Here we visited Kandovan, a village built into the rocks about 50km outside Tabriz. People still live in this village but many of the buildings are now souvenir shops. I have very mixed feelings about visiting such villages as they are interesting but I also feel that we are looking at people as if they are in the zoo.
Herbs were also spread to dry on the roof and children played on narrow rocky steps and the roof of the house.
We left Iran the next day after an unpleasant experience with a local guide who tried to foister 2 other people in to our van for the 4 hour trip to the border. He spent much time being ‘charming’ to our very wise guide in the words of Henry Higgins “oozing charm from every pore”.
It did not work I might say.