The hotel is brightly decorated and airy, still quite tired from the hours spent on the coach I find it hard to wake up and I’m sort of half grumpy. Breakfast is simple but now includes a boiled egg as well. I skip the egg.
The hostel’s location in close to the centre but in little narrow roads, we get the general direction from the receptionist and go look for the mosque. We can see it’s turrets from where we are but as the roads get narrow we lost sight of it. I feel like I’m walking in the streets I’d seen in a movie called Zaytoun. Dusty and in bad state with a maze layout and random guys on motorbikes, it feels surreal somehow to be here. I feel more like a spectator than a participant somehow.
After a few minutes wondering towards the general direction of the mosque we find a back alley into the bazaar. The place is huge, stalls are small and stuck to each other, it is not very crowded but busy, motorbikes weave their way into the alleyways carrying goods. Most stalls sell clothes, black cloth seems popular and beautiful dresses.
They also sell household items, carpet, meats…crockery. We wonder then where they get to wear these dresses, some of them short and exposed, I try to ask one stall owner if these were dresses you’d wear at a wedding but he can’t understand me.
There are stalls with spices laid out, beautifully coloured and smelling amazing. I want to buy some dried flowers but the stall owner can’t understand me when I ask if it’s tea.
After a long walk around we briefly emerge in the square. People take carriage rides around it, there are motorbikes here too.
As we get back in the bazaar we walk until we realise we’ve gone off the wrong way and start asking around. People here are helpful, even if they don’t speak english using the map they send us in the right direction.
I’m getting hungry and tired of the stalls when finally we emerge again in the main square we decide to go for lunch. We find a tiny place selling soup and kebabs and he points us upstairs. The stairs and narrow and the walls covered in white tiles. As we emerge upstairs we see elevated seating areas. The custom here is to eat on the carpeted floor and so this place has elevated carpeted wide seating. We sit to eat and soon our food arrives. The kebab is really good and served differently to what we had in Tehran. It comes on tray which is really good because with my bad ankle I can’t fold my legs under me and therefore have to eat with the tray on my legs. I’ll try to sit properly next time.
Locals eat here too and they all sit with the legs crossed and without taking their scarves and coats off. I have to take off my jacket, I keep the scarf on but it gets in the way and becomes a sort of bib even though I’m trying to eat without making a mess.
After lunch it’s hard to get moving but we want to see the mosque… the first impression you get being here is that this is what you’ve come here to see. The mosaiced roof decoration, the architecture etc.
We walk around the first building with access to a basement, the place is beautiful but not particularly impressing. The mosque is much nicer, higher ceilings with beautiful domes each different from the other and high windows with the lights streaming through them. It reminds me a little of the mesquita in cordoba. It’s good to have good weather.
Behind the mosque we can see great big mountain peaks in the distance. As we walk around we have a little chat with a cleric, there’s a lot of them here, they wear long white or grey dresses with chocolate brown capes and turbans on their heads. This one seems pleasant enough. We find a museum with pictures of war and terrorism commentaries most of which cover attack by Isreal to others but there’s also a picture of Aylan, the syrian little boy who’s death and picture made the world glimpse at the absurdity of what’s going on.
A student here asks me to translate the title of a religious book for him from spanish. It’s a book called ‘The last Message’, he thanks me and says much to my amusement that at that moment I was like the voice of god…I then said it’s funny the voice of god coming out of an atheist. He also finds that funny and looks at me as he’d never saw one before.
The exhibition makes me sad. Outside amongst ourselves we discuss a little about what we’ve just seen.
As we walk out of the mosque we decise to walk to the river to see a famous bridge… walking in busy traffic isn’t exactly my favourite but we get there eventually only to find a wide flat and bone dry river bed. The bridge is stll nice to see though and we decide to stay a little and watch the sunsetting behind the mountains in the distance.
Walking back along the dry river is nice and as we get to the square we stop and do some people watching. Lots of locals also hang out around here, the square is hectic and busy with traffic and people crossing randomly.
As we get hungy we ask a group of women where we could find a nice restaurant, they don’t speak english but one of them comes with us and asks people until we find one. That’s really nice.
Dinner is another kebab with rice, it’s not as tasty as the one we had with Mina but still good.
museum 200000 Rial and 50000 Rial for the audio = Eur 6.25 (Skip the audio…it doesn’t provide any useful information beyoned a physical description what you’re looking at)
mosque 200000 Rial = Eur 5
lunch 145000 Rial = Eur 3.63
dinner 130000 Rial = Eur 3.25
If you can’t find something don’t be hesitant to ask the locals they are more than happy to help.