We got home from our first, ten-day Persian tour, to be followed soon by others, inshallah. Soon we will also publish the usual joint post crowning our tours, in which the participants tell about their experiences with pictures and words. But so that nobody would be killed by curiosity in the meantime, here we publish the first report, sent by Svetlana from Vienna, which summarizes in a superb way the mood of our journey.
so let the first report be mine, now that I have time for it
others will certainly write much more relevant texts, but I am now carried away by the emotions… nevertheless, I try to arrange the experiences in my head and in my heart. there are a lot!
we saw many wonders – but wonders you can see wherever you go. what was unique and enchanting, it was the openness, kindness and friendliness of people. all the time, everywhere
I try to live without prejudices, unfortunately I do not always succeed. I know some Persians in person, my eldest son was there, and told enough about the country. nevertheless I imagined it as some oppressive dictatorship, where the people go wrapped in black, head down, avoiding eye contact, fleeing foreigners, women humiliated to ashes, always accompanied by men on the street, and so on
and then come the surprise:
open, friendly, smiling faces, greetings in English: “how are you?” “where are you from?”, and on hearing “from Madjaristan”, they explained even more eagerly, with an even larger smile
they adored being photographed, I have never taken in my life so many photos of so many people
they were almost offended when we admired only the neighbor’s kid. they came after me telling theirs is also here, I should capture him/her too
older women began talking to me, without the slightest sign of shyness
in the subway, a young girl, on seeing my ineptitude, simply came up to me, took off my clumsily tied up shawl, put it beautifully on my head, tied it perfectly in a second, and then gave me a thump on the back, like ok, now I can go on
once, when traveling alone in the subway, I gazed (I think too obviously) at a beautiful Iranian girl, and she, before getting off, embraced me with tears in her eyes (and I also started to cry…)
girls and women, beautiful like a dream, and many handsome men, wonderful kids with huge round eyes. it was interesting that we saw no strollers, always the fathers carried the little ones, with endless pride
I steadily walked on the streets with a wide grin, which they obviously interpreted like I was so happy on seeing them, so they immediately smiled back, and they posed, indicating I could, and even must, take a photo of them
I felt ashamed several times on recalling how unpleasant the sight of a woman in chador is to me in Vienna, I would never think about smiling at them, but they welcomed us enthusiastically, with a large smile. I was astonished at this many times a day…
next to a monument, a family had a picnic on a rug spread out at the fence, and as soon as they saw me, they tore off a piece of their bread, and handed it to me together with an apple and some dates, accompanied by the inevitable hello and a wide smile
or when we got into the bustle of the festive parade, complete strangers took care of us, literally defending us with their bodies, so the crowd would not sweep us away
if someone opened a packet of sweets, biscuits, dates, he or she naturally offered it to us
when strolling in the bazaar, two old men came running after us with tea and sugar (we were twenty, there was enough for all of us!)
incredible human encounters, relationships, experiences, several times a day
there was absolutely no inconvenience anywhere. it was perhaps only in the larger restaurants that they did not elicit enthusiasm. I think they get the same amount of money when they do not have to work or when they must provide for a large group
I travel a lot, and I got used to the fact that for the locals the tourist is a necessary evil, which must be survived, exploited and cheated, to whom you must sell your wares, pull him into a restaurant, convince him to buy this and buy that
in Iran there was no sign of this. no bullying, no cheating. even in the bazaar!
unfortunately the ten days were not enough to fully understand the use and value of their money (http://riowang.com/2015/10/the-persian-banknote.html), so wherever I had to pay, I simply handed over my purse, letting them take out as much as they want. I am absolutely sure that no one ever cheated me
it was a fantastic experience, I am still dizzy of it, and try to arrange my impressions. there are a lot…
the group was also pleasant. we laughed a lot, had great talks
I got a roommate with a way of thinking and sense of humor similar to mine. in the evenings we laughed aloud as we browsed through the events of the day
I love to travel alone or in two, and I will obviously do so in the future (it has some advantages over the group), but the shared breakfasts and dinners, always in good mood, always full of laughter, telling anecdotes and recalling events, make you forget the difficulties that sometimes arise during a group travel
not to mention that the endless knowledge and very good style of our leader is irreplaceable. in a journey organized by myself I likely would have not seen half of what we saw (but I plan to go back alone as well!)
all in all, it was a fantastic trip!
I highly recommend to everyone to forget about the prejudices the “Iran the evil” spread by the media (which of course does not mean that I agree with their policies and their hatred of Israel, on the contrary!), because the man in the street is quite different!
Iran is definitely worth a trip! it is a great experience to get to know their culture and their humaneness
I try to select some photos and upload them, it is no small job, all of them are a treasure for me, but I know that 3000 photos are not interesting for everyone, not even 300
in the meantime, check back often to the professional photos of our tour leader: https://www.facebook.com/Studiolum-154265574590018