Hitchhiking to Shiraz – Sightseeing in Shiraz
Hitchhiking inside the city is literally impossible. So, using Al Pacino’s phrase in Donnie Brasco “Forget about it”. Anyway, let me give a tip for better photography. While you are in Shiraz, try to wear bright colors. Yellow and pink are top priority because the tiles are mostly pink and yellow. In this case, you will be matched with tiles and your pictures will be more beautiful. Colorful scarfs are available there for women for beautify themselves and color their photo while on travel.
We visited Vakil Bath, Vakil Bazzar and Vakil Mosque. Each has its own beauty and style. You can’t have a bath in Vakil Bath. It is a museum right now. But you could be familiar with the architecture and the culture of Hammam. In Vakil Mosque, the spiral columns are a perfect place to take artistic photography. I am an amateur, of course. We met two Turkish travelers who took pictures with Yalda and Mahsa.
Pars Museum is another highlight of Shiraz one shouldn’t miss. The paintings inside the Pars Museum are marvelous. The tomb of Karim Khan Zand is there, too. It is a small museum but it totally worth visiting.
I really love the space between the Vakil Mosque and Arg-e Karimkhan. Tables and chairs in the open space are lovely for relaxing and having something to drinks.
The medieval-like fortress in the middle of Shiraz built during Zand dynasty was our next stop. Bitter orange trees surrounded the fountain inside the Arg. The amorous smell were there as well. I couldn’t cease to smell blossoms’ mind-altering smell.
Next was Madrese e-Khan or Khan School. The school was a two-story building like the one I saw in Oudlajan, Tehran or Agha Bozorg School in Kasha. But, this one is more beautiful than the two others are. Palm trees and dancing of fountains in the yard created an splendid view. While we were there, we met a group of French travelers. They were four. Three women and a man. I spent some time talking to them about Iran culture and lifestyle. When I see a traveler, I become talkative. They were patient enough to listen to my words. They were heading to Isfahan, Kerman desert, Varzaneh and Kashan. I wished them nice and safe trip and then we said farewell.
Qavam House or Narenjestan Garden is so beautiful you can’ stop falling for it. The colorful flowers, green trees and sound of water soothe your body and soul. While you are inside the mansion, look up to see the decorated ceilings. On the second floor, you could see the images of western women surrounded by the images of flowers on the ceilings. The mirror-work’s on the first floor is striking to watch. No wonder it was registered under the Persian Gardens on Iran UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Next to Qavam House, there is beautiful traditional house which is called Zinat Al-Molk House. It is not as eye-catching as Qavan house; however, it has its own beauty. Besides, it is close to Qavan house. It takes 15 minutes to visit it.
Tomb of Saadi and Tomb of Hafez
Literature is my life. I can’t live without it. Reading Hafez and Saadi is one of the most pleasurable activities I have ever done. Their poetry is so rich in philosophy and worldview that their reputation go beyond the Iranian border. Goethe, one of the greatest German poet, openly confessed Saadi Shirazi’s influence on him. And Hafez’s influence in Iranian daily life is inevitable. Having said that, seeing them was like seeing old friend who helped me through sadness and laughed with me in my happiness. I lost myself in the poetic atmosphere and began murmuring the verses quietly.
We returned two Arg-e Karim khan area to have dinner at Qavam Cafe & Restaurant. The food was yummy. I ordered Kebab Tabeii with special sour mayonnaise on it. Oh my God! I highly recommend it. It was soooooo delicious! We talked over the dinner about our hitchhiking back to Tehran.
Hitchhiking from Shiraz to Sa’adat Shahr – Indecent Proposal
Tight schedule always increase the pace of your travel, particularly on hitchhiking trips. We decided to hit the road at night. At least cover one third of our path to Tehran. We got a taxi to the first police station outside the city. It is eight kilometers away from Quran Gate. You can find it on google map. Its name is Traffic Police Station. I never risk hitchhiking at night, especially in the lower part of Iran. I don’t want to generalize that the lower parts of Iran is unsafe. No, not at all. But, when the night comes, the darkness may lurk at the corner.
While Yalda and Mahsa were determined to begin our trip to Isfahan, I had butterflies in my stomach. But, I kept the spirit up. We thumped up. A truck driver stopped. He was heading to Tehran. What a chance! We hooped in. He was not alone. His son was with him, a pre-school quite boy. Yalda and Mahsa were in the backside and I sat in next to the driver. He spoke Arabic on the phone. He was from Ahvaz. Ahvazi people speak Arabic. I didn’t understand Arabic. The presence of the child assured us that we are safe. He was a man of family. We could trust him. I began a conversation and tried to get as much information as possible. By getting info, I could knew him better.
After 30 minutes’ drive, his phone rang and he handed it to me and said: “My brother is on the phone. He wants to talk to you.” He had told me that his brother is driving another vehicle just behind him. But, I had no idea why he was eager to talk to him.
-Hi, how are you?
Me- How are you? I am fine. Thanks for giving us a ride.
-you are welcome. Can one of you come with me? I am alone and I need someone to talk. Ask one of the girl to come here.
Me- (surprisingly) Ok. But…they seem asleep. I will join you. But I warn you. I am talkative. (With a laugh) I might talk your head over.
-Okay. No problem.
I said goodbye and handed the phone back. I never wanted to send either Mahsa or Yalda alone to the other vehicle. It was unwise to do that. The truck stopped in a parking area next to road. He got out of the truck and checked his wheels. I shared the news with my friends. Yalda interrupted me and said” It is fine with me. I go there. You stay here.” I asked her if it is ok two or three times. Yet, her answer was the same. I respected her answer, although I was worried. A truck stopped behind us and went toward him to have a quick evaluation. Yalda got her backpack, climbed down, and then got up the other truck. I climbed up and I was about to close the door that I saw Yalda next to the door. I was shocked. She worriedly asked me to get down. I knew something went wrong. She told me that the driver asked her get laid with him. Yalda is a strong girl. I knew her well. I looked back and said to the diver that we preferred to be together. I guessed he knew it. He didn’t flinch at all at our decision.
When the trust broke, the silent came over. A deadly silent. I was worried and scared. What could I do if she was hurt? It was big mistake to let her go on her own to be with the driver’s brother. Anyway, I asked a driver to turn on a music. Might music replace the suffocating atmosphere. I have tried to engage the driver into a conversation on the recent flood in Ahvaz. Luckily, he took the lead and began talking and taking.
Meanwhile, we cooked up a story to get off the truck. Mahsa’s uncle was in Shiraz and he was coming back the same night. The phone rang and Mahsa told him to stop at the nearest city, Sa’adat Shahr. The driver bought our story. We dropped off at the police station. I asked the driver to come with me and gently told him his brother indecent proposal to Yalda. He knew it of course. But I wanted to throw it to his face to know that we are travelers, hitchhikers and adventures. However, we are not into shady things such as drugs, murder or sex and they were wrong about us. Hitchhiking might sometimes get hard and it was one of those instances.
Hitchhiking from Sa’adat Shahr to Isfahan – Long Ride to Sunrise
The trucks left and stood for a while to shake off the negative feelings. It was the first time I have ever encountered such a misconducts. It is hitchhiker after all. Anyway, a young man pulled over and offered us a ride. He claimed that he was working in a police agency in Tehran. I asked for his ID. I had to be cautious this time. He showed it to me and I felt somehow assured.
He was from Borazjan, the capital of Dashtestan County, Bushehr Province. He was an employee in a special police force in Tehran, but he despised his job. He confessed that they made him and his fellows into mad dogs attacking anyone in uprisings or riots against the government. He introduced some interesting places in Borazjan and I jotted it down into my notebook to google it later on. I felt sleepy and I fell asleep. So did Mahsa and yalda. He woke me up at 6:45 A.M. next to Soffeh Terminal in Isfahan. I thanked him, exchanged phone number, and said goodbye. We used the toilet in Soffeh Terminal and had biscuit and fruit juice for breakfast. Then we got on a bus from Soffeh Terminal, in the southern part of Isfahan to Kaveh terminal, in the northern part of it. The bus fare was 20 cents per person.
Standing there was a mistake. Neither cars nor trucks stopped for us. I searched the net and found the police station outside of Isfahan, Shahin Shahr – Kashan Police Station.
Hitchhiking from Isfahan to Abayneh Village – Unexpected visit
We took a taxi to get to Shahin Shahr – Kashan Police Station. Every cars stopped for us asked for money. Isfahan seems un-hitchhikable. We paid 2 dollars to get there which wasn’t expensive. Out of surprise, a sedan car pulled over. Two girls were in the car. I welcomed us with a big smile. Kimia and Paria were heading to Abyaneh on their own. They were beautiful and lovely to hang out with. Their friendliness made us accept their offer to Abyaneh Village. The weather was awesome. There were some clouds in blue sky but the sun was shining brightly.
I met several international travelers from Poland, Hungry, France and China. In order to thank them for a ride, we bought Ash for them and had some fun. A couple asked me to take a picture of them and I did. I love to take pictures. After strolling for an hour, we said goodbye and headed to Kashan.
Unfortunately, the cars were full. It was a religious holiday. Never travel in Iran on national or religious holidays. The chance of getting ride is low. As usual we began walking along the road. It was useless. People passed us waving their hands. We walked for 20 minutes. And out of luck a car stopped. The man got out. He was the same person I took picture. What comes around goes around. It is a Karma, I guess. They couple offered us tea and cookies. They stopped at Anar Boulevard because they were heading to Badroud.
Hitchhiking from Kashan – Qom – Tehran
After 10 minutes, another young couple stopped for us. They looked like rich. Both of them wearing snazzy baseball caps. They were heading to Nushabad, the underground city in Kashan. We dropped off at Nataznz – Kashan Pay toll. Best place to get a hitchhike to Tehran. Cut a long story short, we hitchhiked from Kashan to Qom and Qom to Tehran. It got home at six. P.M. and took a shower and hit the bed.
Hitchhiking to Shiraz was a different experience. It had its own joy and danger. It taught us a good lesson. Never hitchhike at night. Never trust easily to drivers with children. On general, Iranian are hospitable. It is undeniable. But, be alert and cautious.
You can read the first part in the following link