“I’m going to Iran”, I announced to my coworkers casually as they asked what my vacation plans were. “Iran? Oh how nice! You’ll come back tanned!” I looked around confused. Was this directed at me? Tanned? “But it’s cold there.” “NOOOO!! really?”
When you’re from a country like mine you get used to random questions that seem racist, funny, sad and awkward. Answering ignorant comments becomes so normal you almost forget to make a face. We ride camels under the hot desert sun and live in tents apparently.
I wish to banish these comments. I wish to change your viewpoint. I want to show you the snow, the changing seasons – yes we experience them all – I want to take you on a journey to Iran: the undiscovered jewel because Iran needs a publicist.
I flew with Turkish Airlines – an airline I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy. Sorry Turkish. I don’t care about the awards you’ve won. I had a terrible experience all four times and I sat in comfort. One of your attendants rudely answered my simple request “Do you have Turkish coffee?” “No, that is only for first class.” Well, pardon me. I suppose my $ 1700 doesn’t cover a simple cup of coffee! My meals were cold, they tasted terrible and what was up with the ridiculous looking ‘cooks’ walking around the plane? Why do your attendants refuse to sit while the plane is taking off?
In any case after arriving in Tehran my luggage was also lost so I had to file a report and await its arrival the next morning. Thanks Turkish Airline!!!
Tehran at night is pure magic simply because it is never as quiet there as it is at 4 a.m. Not a single sound, though it must be pointed out that much like New York City, Tehrani’s never sleep. Tehran is always awake and people are always out and about but coming into the city from the international airport – located about an hour and a half from Tehran – you really experience that calm and peace the city seldom shows.
Once you’ve slept off your jet lag you have to get out. Try and embrace the pollution, there’s really no other way around it.
What to do in Tehran:
Darband – Darband means ‘doorway or gateway’. This beautiful area is situated right before the mountains and is a popular hiking destination. There are tons of restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can also go for shisha or tea. try eating at Baghe Behesht.
- Darakeh – Located in the north-eastern part of Tehran, this is yet another part of Tehran that leads to hiking trails but if you would like to go for food you have to eat at SPU Restaurant – one of the best!
- Golestan Palace – Why do you need to go? Because this gem is on the UNESCO world heritage list and is from the Qajar times – approximately 1800’s.
- Niavaran Palace – Where the last King and Queen of Iran spent their days.
- Saad Abad Palace – One of the largest royal establishments in Tehran that belonged to the Pahlavi family.
- Tehran Bazar
- Eat at Dizi -What you need to know is the address: Iranshahr shomali, Mousa Kalantari street, n#52, Tehran, Iran JUST GO! Trust me it’s beautiful!
- Buy some jewelry – Go jewelry shopping! You won’t regret it. Try Malekan or if you really want to splurge go to Goharbin.
- Buy souvenirs – Souvenir shopping is a must. There are tons of stores. Opt for anything made of copper, camel bone jewelry boxes or a copper lantern.
- Eat at Nayeb restaurant – This restaurant is worth a try just for the decorations! Absolutely magnificent French inspired decor and great food!
Eager to see more photos of Iran? Check out my gallery and stay tuned for more posts on Iran.