Hitchhiking to Shiraz – Part One

Hitchhiking to Shiraz with The Seven Beauties

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Me at Tehran Metro Station

Nothing is more temping than Shiraz in late May or April. The weather is awesome. It is sunny with a light caressing wind. On the top of that, the blossoms of Narenj (Bitter Orange) fill the air in a way that it will intoxicate you. Its amorous atmosphere in Persian Gardens is a unique phenomenon should not be missed. On this travel, two of my female friends from Semnan joined me. Mahsa (is a Persian name means “Moonlike”, Mah means “Moon” and Sa mean “like”) and Yalda ( is a Syriac word means “Birthday”) are the two active eco-travelers in Iran. They are friendly and tireless. It is a long trip so your co-travelers should be in good shapes. So are Mahsa and Yalda. Our trinity is complete. Let’s go to Shiraz….Yeah.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Me, Yalda and Mahsa

Hitchhiking from Tehran to Qom – Green Plains

Our starting point was Tehran-Qom highway Toll Booth on Persian Gulf Highway. It’s a best point for hitchhiking to the south of Iran. Our meeting place was set: in front of Toll Booth at 3:00 P.M 29th of May 2019. I left my workplace at 13:00 ant took the subway station to get to Tehran-Qom highway Toll Booth. I go there early so, I had a sandwich for a lunch and slept for a while in a praying room next to the pay toll. They arrived there at 15:10 P.M. and we then hit the road.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Yellow and Red Flowers

Large vehicles such as trucks are not allowed to use this highway. Therefore, you should get a ride with cars. We thumped up for short minutes and a middle-aged woman in a SUV vehicle stopped for us. Her name was Roya (an Arabic name means “dream”). She was friendly and funny. She was heading to Arak to visit her friends. She offered us a ride to Qom and we accepted it.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Singing in the car to Qom

Qom is a dry land. I have passed this highway lot of time. But something has changed. The dry hills alongside the road were all green filled with small yellow and red flowers. It was unprecedented. Many cars stopped to enjoy the view and took pictures. The landscape was spectacular. The amazing landscape shortens out trip. We go to Qom in a blink of an eye! We dropped off at Qom – Tehran Police Station next to end of Tehran – Qom Highway. We waved goodbye and wished her safe trip to Arak.

Hitchhiking from Qom to Kashan – Friendly Couples

Kashan is our next destination. As I expected the possibility of getting a ride to Isfahan from Qom is low. This time a couple pulled over for us. They were from Kashan. Both of them were educated. I had visited Kashan a month ago. But, I like to visit it once more in mid-April. Rose Festival is coming!

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Hitchhiking to Shiraz- Lovely Kashani Couple

We engaged into a conversation about the beauties of Kashan and other visiting places around nearby such as Abuzeyabad Desert. They introduced a cozy Tea House in Kashan, named Firozeh Tea House. I have never been there, but I will put it on my list to taste the herbal tea there. You can contact them here on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/firoozeh_kashan/

Our dropping off location was at Qom – Kashan Freeway. It is nearly 5 minute drive before Kashan entrance.

Hitchhiking from Kashan to Isfahan – Isfahan Driver Guide

At Qom-Kashan Toll Booth, you could get a ride by trucks. But, we were lucky to get a ride with a sedan. The driver, Mohammad Hashemi, was a guide-driver returning back to Isfahan after dropping his travelers at IKA, Tehran. We talked about the ups and downs of tourism industry in Iran. He was a retired man but, he chose to work in as a tour guide as a fun. He suggested a less-visited place in Isfahan named Zefreh Hot Water Springs in Kuhpayeh District, on the way to Nain. It seems like an interesting place to me. I put it on my bucket list. He was so kind enough to call me next day to make sure we arrived safe to Shiraz.

Hitchhiking from Isfahan to Pasargadae – Long Talk, Long Ride

We dropped off at Kaveh Bus Terminal because he was heading to the city center and we did not want to hit the city traffic. The taxi drivers standing an shouting for the passengers are expensive. I decided to get a taxi on Snapp to the road where trucks were available. It cost us 31,000 Toman (Nearly 2 dollars) to get from Kaveh Bus Terminal to Esfahan-Shiraz Traffic Police. You cannot get a hitchhike in cities. Therefore, you should get yourself to the pay tolls or police stations outside the cities. 

Esfahan-Shiraz Traffic Police is situated between two mountains. Three trucks pulled over in order to rest. It wasn’t dark because the full moon was in sky. One of the truck drivers there started to gaze at us strangely. I guessed he had never seen a hitchhiker in his life, particularly two women and a man. I must confess that Mahsa’s bright yellow manteau was not suitable for hitchhiking. It’s better to wear something loose that covers your back, upper than your knees. Anyway, a truck stopped. I asked for a ride.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Hitchhiking from Isfahan to Pasargadae

He was totally shocked by seen us. I talked him into it. After introducing, I began to explain about our travel type. He was taking in slowly and slowly. It was something he has never seen. I did my best to persuade him into that we are not gonna hurt him. It was 400 kilometers drive. I had a long way to show our aim: travel, and fortunately I did.  We passed cities such as Mahyar, Esfeh, Shahreza, Aminabad, Izad Khast, Shurestan, Abadeh, Bidak, Surmaq, Safashahr and Morghab. Mahsa and Yalda slept for a while, but I had to stay awake. I had to be cautious at any time.  We dropped off in front of a restaurant, at the corner of Pasargadae path. While we were walking toward the Pasargadae, a car stopped. We had decided to camp near Pasargadae area, but the driver persisted on hosting us. We accepted it. Iranian hospitality is second to none.

Hitchhiking to Pasargadae – The Tomb of Cyrus, the Great

We slept like a log. Budgerigar’s singing woke me up in the morning. After a long travel and sleep, hearing melodious singing of a bird was like heaven.  Mr. Azad and his wife were kind enough to ready breakfast for us. Then he accompanied us inside Pasargadae. He knew the ticket seller. He just said, “Hi, how are you?” and we passed the gate. He pulled his string for us.

Since my visit to Chak Chak in Yazd, I have not felt so elevated and happy by stepping into a place. I felt an underling joy lurking beneath my skin. Each step meant a huge delight. Mr. Azad warned me not to kneel down. It is prohibited to do that before the tomb of Cyrus, the Great, the kings of kings.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Cyrus, The Great at Pasargadae

We got our pictures taken. We visited the other historical sites in there; Audience Palace, The private Gate, the Gate Palace and Pasargadae Caravanserai. The entire area was covered with green plains and yellow flowers. It was fantastic. I felt so good to see Pasargadae. Mr. Azad’s cute daughter was with us during our visit. I bought a hat for her as a present. I  knew it was nothing in compared with what they did and offered. However, I bought something to show my appreciation. 

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Mr. Azad and His cute daughter

Hitchhiking from Pasargadae to Naqsh-e Rustam – Necropolis

Necropolis is not far from Pasargadae. A young man named Hamid stopped for us. He was from Abadeh. He was so kind to stop at Sivand Dam for a short stop. The river made the area green and beautiful. We head towards the Naqsh-e Rustam, the Necropolis. I could see it from 5 kilometers away at the foot of the mountain. It took nearly 45 minutes to arrive at Necropolis.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Sivand Dam in Shiraz

These ancient Persian rock reliefs cut into the cliff, are from the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods. The tombs of Achaemenid Kings are in large cross shape carved into the rocks. I am wondering why it has not been registered on Iran UNESCO World Heritage Sites yet. It is so unique and marvelous. Down these tombs, there are Sassanid rock reliefs.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Hamid from Abadeh at Naqsh-e Rustam

Groups from different parts of the world were there visiting these marvelous place. I came across a group of young students from University of Basel, Switzerland, with archaeology pamphlet on their hands. They were on field trip, as one of them claimed.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Naqsh-e Rustam or Necropolis in Shiraz

Hitchhiking from Naqsh-e Rustam to Persepolis – The Capital of Persians

Persepolis wasn’t so far. It was 15 minutes ride. We got on the back of a pickup car. I missed pick-up cars! It is so much fun to be the back of the pick-ups. We got off at Marvdasht Sq. and picked up again. This time by a family from Khuzestan.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Lovely Family from Khuzestan at Persepolis, Shiraz

It was crowded because of the religious holiday. But I didn’t care. It was good to see people are coming for visiting an ancient place belonging to 2500 years ago. I met Mr. Keramt Bordbar, the head of Persepolis Museum, a close friend of mine. He exclusively explained the museum for me. What a pleasure. He has repaired most of the objects in the museum; therefore, he knew the very details to the end. We are gonna run a business together soon. Very special program in Shiraz for travelers.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Mr. Keramat, the head of Persepolis Museum in Shiraz

Travelers from various countries such as United States, Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic etc. were visiting the glorious Persepolis. I met interesting travelers there. Here are my pictures with these travelers.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Travelers from Czech Republic at Persepolis, Shiraz
Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Spanish Female Travelers at Persepolis, Shiraz

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
American Travelers at Persepolis, Shiraz

Hitchhiking to Shiraz – Persepolis to Naqsh-e Rajab- Marvdasht -Shiraz

We left Persepolis at around 5 p.m. The ideal time for visiting Persepolis is half a day. We got to Naqsh-e Rajab, five kilometers away from Persepolis. Then head to Marvdasht with BMW. Yes, a hitchhike with BMW in Shiraz!

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Hitchhiking to Shiraz with BMW!

Abbas, a Shirazi man, offered us the best Faloodeh Shiraz on earth ever! Its name is Momtaz on the main Boulevard of Marvdasht. We dropped off at the end of Marvdasht city, at the beginning of Marvdasht to Shiraz road.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Faloodeh Shiraz…YUMMY

Then a young boy heading to Shiraz picked us up. He was smoking pot in a car! But he was alert. He looked a little suspicious. We felt something was fishy. He persisted to offer us a place to sleep after 15 minutes. I managed the situation to we could get off at the right place after passing Qur’an Gate. It was almost dark when we got to Shiraz. We were hungry and tired. We headed to Haft Khan Restaurant, but it was super costly. A dish of Kebab costs nearly 15 dollars. It costed an arm and a leg! Shit! We left there and found a restaurant next to Qur’an Gate. It was fine. I was so hungry that I forgot to took a picture of the food. Sorry, I have nothing to share here.

Best Place to Camp inside Shiraz City

I had googled a lot before travelling to find a place for a night. There are several parks in Shiraz where you can hang around and have fun. However, you are not allowed to camp in there. The only place in Shiraz where you can put up a tent is in Janat Park. It is in the west part of Shiraz. The taxi fare from Qur’an Gate to Janat Park was nearly one dollar.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Janat Park is the best place for camping in Shiraz

You should enter the park. Go straight ahead. Turn left on the second alley. Walk to the end of alley. There you can see the parking area. Next to the parking area, you can put up your tent. The park is completely safe. There were other tents there, as well. Public restroom is available, too. No smell was coming to our tent. We put up our tent and slept before we knew it.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Camping in Janat Park, Shiraz

Sightseeing in Shiraz – Early Bird Catches the Worms

The best time to visit Nasir-ol-molk Mosque or pink Mosque is early morning. You should be there at the very opening hour to fully enjoy the dancing of colors. AKA pink mosque, this Qajari Mosque has become a sensation in Iran. Photographers and travelers are rushing to pink mosque in order to get the best shot possible. We woke up at 8:00. Packed our stuff and headed to Nasir-ol-molk Mosque on the empty stomach. It was crowed, but I was able to take photographs. Those who arrived there after 10 p.m. are losers. So make sure to be there soon.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Dance of Colors in Nasir-ol-molk Mosque in Shiraz

After photography, we headed to a small café in Rouzbahan Street, in front of Abu Muhammad Sheikh Ruzbehan Baqli’s tomb. We orderd omelet. It was delicious and cheap. Mrs. Rasti is the owner of the café, a young woman with a good taste in cooking. You can contact her through the link below. She is not good at social media. I spent some time to update her Instagram page, add address and photos. It felt good to help developing business for her. Make sure to visit her there while you in Zand Street. She provides breakfast, coffee, herbal tea and cold drinks.

You can contact Miss Rasti in the link below

https://www.instagram.com/shahramcoffeeshop/

Mahraloo Lake – Pink Lake in Shiraz

While we were having breakfast, we decided to visit Maharloo Lake, in the southeast of Shiraz. We were tight on schedule, but we reached the agreement to skip some visiting place in Shiraz in order to visit this naturally pink lake.

Hitchhiking to Shiraz - The Seven Beauties - Ebrahim Barzegar
Maharloo Lake AKA Pink lake in Shiraz

Maharloo Lake is pink because of potassium and other salts. We got a taxi to go there and come back. The clock was ticking. We could do the hitchhike, but we did not. Time was gold then. It took us three hours to go to Mahrloo Lake, take some pics and come back to Vakil complex.

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