Wednesday, September 3rd 2014

Welcome to Iran

Welcome to the Cradle of Civilizations!

After a pretty dramatic (simply because a guy who gave us a lift to the border asked about cocaine in Ukraine and required from us to pay 200 $ for a 30km ride, which we refused, of course) departure from Turkey, we have finally have arrived at the border with Iran .. and my heart still beating fast and now even faster.

Turkey good bye - Hallo Iran

Good bye, Turkey!

I have arranged my scarf properly, and “courage” as the French would say. We patiently waited in the queue and when our turn came, I felt how everybody behind us was starring at the two lonely foreigners lost in this corner of the world. Probably almost no one goes to Yusefova – Serow to cross the Turkish-Iranian border.

The border-control officer gave us a big welcoming smile, stamped our passports and said: Welcome to Iran. Not many questions, no luggage control, no one bothered to go through files on our laptop or hard drive. So here we were…IRAN.

We followed the people, not knowing exactly where we were going. Right here at the border I have seen already the different faces of people. Beautiful faces. A very friendly girl who spoke perfect English, has offered to help in case we have any problems. She even bargained with the driver for our ride to the next city, as the only possible transport is taxi. Her eyes were very kind and beautiful.

The ride to the first city (Orumieyh), took about 30 minutes. We now had time to breathe and look around. Hills, old cars and inscriptions which we could not understand. We were surprised by the old cars all around, and they are so very functional and fast. We felt like in a James Bond movie from the 80′s.

The taxi driver took us to the bus station where we purchased tickets to Tabriz. While waiting for our bus we got some “Coca-Cola ” just beause what can be more ironical than drinking Coke in Iran, but later we found out it’s not original but locally produced.

Coca-Cola in Iran
Our bus came, and we noticed that we were the only ones sitting next to each other, a man and a woman. It made us smile. The way to Tabriz was so beautiful, as passing a salty water lake, with the sunset on the background. I had tears in my eyes, too many emotions for one day.

Once we arrived to Tabriz, while trying to figure it out how to get to the city center..we asked two young boys if they could help us. They were so helpful that they even paid for our tickets to the center and totally refused to accept any money from us.On the bus, everybody was smiling at us, wishing: Welcome to Iran. A lovely lady with whom I shared few smiles and some non comprehensive phrases, already invited us to stay at her place that night. It was already 9 pm. We politely rejected, as we thought.. probably that this can’t be real.

The boy who helped us with the ride, and spoke English, also invited us to his place. They were students and very cheerful. As they insisted, this time we could not refuse it. We stayed with them for the first time in Iran, and honestly couldn’t have asked for a better welcoming. We shared traditional Iranian food, which they prepared for us, we laughed a lot and told stories from our countries.

dinner in Tabriz

We had time today to visit the city & look around, I must say that the most fascinating sight so far is watching people. They are so beautiful, I can’t take my eyes from them. Women are elegant, modern, and they have mastered the art of wearing a hijab.

Iranian girl

In the way that it already looks like a modern accessory that was bought in expensive Parisian shops. There is so much more freedom here, than we actually imagine.

Of course, we had a separate ride on a bus where women and men occupy different parts of a bus. Bus stations and buses have separate entrance for women and men.

Bus entrance for women in Tabriz, Iran

We read about it, but I imagined it in a different way, like separate carriages, or separated by a glass wall to eliminate any contact. In fact it is just a fence (waist-height) and we managed to stand next each other and talk over this “fence”.

Female part on Iranian bus

People were curiously looking a us, asking where we are from, what we are doing here, etc.

The first impressions are very positive. Looking forward to explore more of this ancient country and meet more people to learn about their lives.

Have you been to Iran? What are you impressions and experiences in this country?

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17 Comments on “Welcome to Iran”

  1. Hey it sounds very good and excitement. Good luck :)

    1. Thank you, Yalin! We will keep updating the blog as frequent as we can.

  2. Damn it!
    Im envious! :)

    1. Hehe, after the first days we have some quite unpleasant experiences with people being nasty in restaurants or hotels. So not everything is as great as everybody says. I will write more a bit later. we are still getting accustomed to the place, the ways everything works, people interact, etc.

  3. Very interesting to write more about Iran)

    1. Thank you, Olya. More posts coming soon ;-)

  4. Great post, looking fwd to hearing more. Happy travels!

    1. Thank you, Bianca. We will keep updating as frequent as we can.

  5. hi there !
    i wonder how much it costs to cross the border ? i’m planning of doing so …

    1. Hello, crossing the border is for free. They might ask you to buy travel insuarance, but I told them that we have, and they didn’t bother us.

  6. Hi Lovely, Really nice to read. Yes whenever for the rest. Could you tell us more about the cities, and landscapes as well? wishing you the best. Love (et courage) Steph

    1. Hi Stephanie, Thank you.
      We will definitely post more about cities, landscapes and people.
      Hugs from Tehran.

  7. hi this is so bad that im not in pic because i thing i was leader of home but its no thing,you be happy and have a good night this is important:D:D hope you best wishes alesis and mara

    1. Thank you, Farzin. Yes, pity you are not in the picture. But really appreciate your help and care. Say hallo from us to everybody!

  8. DEAR ALEX/MARA
    I AM GLAD TO VISIT YOU R SITE AND I WOULD LIKE TO BE AT YOU R SERVICE ONCE AGAIN…I FEEL LUCKY U UPLOAD OUR HOME PICTURE AND I SHOWED IT TO MY FRIENDS…I ATTACHED MY EMAIL ADDRESS FOR U TO ANY HELP IN IRAN. PLZ DONT HESITATE TO CONTACT ME IF U FEEL A PROBLEM…

    1. Dear Kamyar,
      Thank you very much for your hospitality and help. Now we understand even more how you made our first evening in Tabriz easy and comfortable. I hope we will not have problems as many people are very helpful and nice to us. We will keep in contact and hopefully will welcome you somewhere in Europe.

  9. it took us 10 minutes to convince the interweb to show us the place where you crossed the border, openstreetmap much more helpful than the americans :)
    fantastic impressions, in prague its raining and the beer tastes soapy :D just in case you were about to become homesick…

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