Hi everyone! I visited Iran exactly a year ago in August and I would like to share my experiences with you. I always wanted to visit Iran but i was waiting to meet a local person (which apparently you don’t need to wait, you can easily meet locals when you are there). Finally when I was living in Budapest i met this guy who is from Tehran- and I told him’ yes, we can be friends with you cause I wanna travel to Iran’. Now, he became one of my best friends!
So I visited Navid in Iran last year. I traveled almost every country in Europe, US, and some other Middle Eastern countries- and Iran is my top so far. The uniqueness for me comes from the people and everyday social life- the amazing difference between the life inside and outside of home, the resistance of people in every aspect of life (a good majority of them), the close and large group of friendships they have very much far away from individualism, the wide variety of women that you can notice even though they all wear hijab and of course amazing culture with great history, music and food. My first night: I was coming directly from crazy Sziget Festival and I was expecting to go home and sleep but Navid took me to a gathering with Iranian friends. I am fucking tired, dont wanna meet anyone but I found myself talking to everyone there until the morning about what I would normally talk with my close friends. I was obviously drunk when i came home and apparently I recorded my voice (this was suggested to me by one of the women I met that night- Faniz). Guess what I’m saying in that record- that i think I’ve never felt more close to the people I met for the first time in my life. And I was right, I met them next day, the other day, and every night until I left and I felt like I’ve known for long time. I was the only foreigner every night but they took me as one of them. Faniz came to visit me in Budapest, we had an amazing time with her, I felt that I know her for long time. And I’m sure if I get to meet any other of them, which I will, I will clearly feel the same.
Apart from the people, the every day social life as a tourist is an experience. As a woman, I enjoyed traveling by myself a lot! It is interesting to go around by yourself and see how things change when you walk around the neighborhoods. I come from Turkey, we also have similar social differences even between streets but in Iran it was more obvious and observable for me. I would take the men’s vagon in metro by myself, or sit by the Imam Shah Mosque all day and write, or go to a very old traditional tea house in the Bazaar of Esfahan and drink tea all day, or smoke cigarette in a square in Armenian neighborhood Julfa, and every time I would have different observations and reactions from people around. Esfahan is the most peaceful city I’ve ever traveled- the Siesopolis bridge, although unfortunately there was no water in the river,is stunning. It has great acoustics and that is why men go there to sing at night (only men, as women are not allowed to sing in public). In my last night, I went to that bridge with my alcohol-free beer and listened to a guy singing some Farsi threnody. I closed my eyes, then I wrote to my travel notebook ‘One day I am gonna come to this bridge and there will be water in the river so that I can put my legs in, I will have my Farsi beer in my hand and I will sing’. I am sure one day it will happen!
I am happy to be a part of this group – I am planning on going again next year to travel to Tabriz and Shiraz (this time by at least 48 hour long train from Ankara). Anyone who needs a suggestion on traveling to Iran, I would be happy to give as much as I can.
See you in Iran!