26th July 2015:
On the 24 July we crossed into Turkey …and to our surprise it was an easy crossing . But before I go on I want say how great Tabriz was. Tabriz is the centre of the carpet trade. And it has the oldest bazar on the planet…. Apparently been operating for a millennium.
What an amazing place. Apparently 7 km2 of different types of traders and markets. Carpets being the most famous … But everything, absolutely everything. We wandered around for 3 or more hours in wonderment and made a few purchases. Tom was the biggest spender…!!! As he does not have as far to travel. Or an easier exit from the tour.
We also visited the Tabriz’s blue mosque. Which had been rebuilt a couple of times after earth quakes.
In the afternoon we Tom and I ventured out to the town of Kandavan, a little place where traditionally people developed housing by carving homes out of the sandstone panicles . Now a tourist town , but worth the visit . We appeared to be the foreign tourists but lots Iranian tourist. Many of the homes allow visitors ( for small price ). We wandered around and eventually found the little place we would visit . Walked up a bunch of stairs and our host new he had a top spot … A window with a great view along the village.
The other interesting thing was landscape surrounding the town. Grass covered rolling hills with steep valleys. And the valleys full of fruit trees and other horticulture, watered from underground aquifers feed from the stream flows. And that is not to often. Tabriz has an average rainfall of just 270mm. And drying if what we have heard about climate change is true.
This type of landscape with broader or narrower valleys, rich with horticulture was the landscape we travelled through towards to boarder, which was good roads with a fare amount of traffic. ..a lot of trucks heading for the boarder …again the Silk Road still exist.
Our drive across the border took right past the fabled Mt Ararat which sticks proudly up and out surrounding landscape. Always nice to come across a site which has such iconic significance ( in this case the fabled location of the resting place of Noah’s Arch) .
All in all Iran was great. Like the guide book Lonely Planet says …. Every one advises you not go to Iran …but they are most friendly and hospitable of people. But also as the guide books say they are crazy drivers.