Monthly Wrap #19: 27 December 2015– 15 January 2016

When we left home oh those many months and days ago, we had a rough plan and three countries we’d decided were on our MUST visit list.

Cuba – Check

Morocco – Check

Both had been visited, and unlike the romantics, we’ve had mixed feelings about both of these beautiful countries.

But that left one, and on the second day of month nineteen, we slowly (seriously, the longest exit you could ever make from any country) made our way across the border out of Armenia, and into the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Starting month nineteen in the Islamic Republic

Countries Visited:                           5 (Armenia, Iran, Turkey, China, Australia)

Australia?

What the fuck!?

Yes, you better believe it.

What this means, is that after five hundred and sixty eight days on the road, day number five-six-nine was spent back home, for the first time in a long time…

Weird shit indeed.

Cheapest Bed(s):                            Mashhad Hostel, Tehran 500,000.00 Rials

After reading in advance that the lodging costs in Tehran were likely to be the most expensive anywhere, it came as a wonderful surprise to find it in fact our cheapest!

Most Expensive Bed(s):                Iran Hotel, Qazvin 1,100,000.00 Rials

Having been dumped on the side of the highway after sunset and in pouring rain, we weren’t in a position to be too picky.

Still, Sarah did talk him down by a few hundred thousand Rials…

Highlight:                                          The Alamut Valley and the Castles of the Assassins

Given where we were, it may come as little surprise there were a lot of candidates this month.

The incredible ruins of Persepolis.

Beautiful Esfahan with its huge square, beautiful bridges and stunning mosques…

Then came a day in the snow covered Alborz mountains, with no other tourists, stunning scenery and the almost mythical, Castles of the Assassins!

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The stunning vistas from Lambasar Castle

Lowlight:                                           Sarah getting attacked by kids in Yazd

Okay, so this sounds bad, but it isn’t as dangerous a situation as the header may suggest.

Still, in a country that was otherwise the most friendly we have ever visited, this little experience came as a surprise.

As Sarah waited with our packs as I went off exploring (in search of our hostel), a posse of young locals thought it would be a good idea to throw a stick in her direction.

It’s completely likely that hitting her was not an expectation, but nevertheless, hit her they did.

In shock, the majority bolted, whilst a couple lingered a few moments longer to apologise (probably shit scared of what mum would do if she found out).

Meanwhile Sarah was left with a bloodied toe, that eventually bruised pretty badly…

Favourite New Food:                     Gaz

There were two contenders for what ultimately became our final month (or half month) on the road.

One was a sweet coconut infused bread, the name of which we never discovered.

But ultimately it was the nougat like sweet (chock full of pistachio’s) specialty from the Esfahan area that stole the show.

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Best Beer:                                         Baltika

When you spend essentially the whole of the month in a country where alcohol is illegal, it doesn’t present all that many opportunities for this category.

That said, despite us sneaking in a Chinese brew on the trip home, Baltika, a Russian 0.0% alcohol beer still took out top spot!

Most impressive Church:              Imam Mosque, Esfahan

Iran was always going to present us with some difficult decisions in this category, and the facts are that despite this place ultimately topping our list, I probably have photos that make others look even more amazing.

Pictures however, aren’t always everything…

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In a country of beautiful mosques, this was a beauty…

Bucket List Items:                           Visit Iran

New Bucket List Items:                  0

Highest Elevation:                          2,062m            Alamut Valley, Iran

Days in thongs (flip flops):           12

Twelve days.

That’s pretty much 66% of the final days we had away with our toes free!

In the northern hemisphere winter… with plenty of snow about.

What a treat!

UNESCO Sites:                                 5     (Golestan Palace, Persepolis, Meidan Emam, Esfahan, The Persian Garden, Masjed-e Jāmé of Isfahan)

When you’re exploring a region considered the cradle of western civilisation, it’s little surprise you’ll find a few UNESCO sites around the traps.

Some of these locations, are simply stunning!

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In the footsteps of Darius and Xerxes at Persepolis

Number of towns:                          12

Number of beds:                            8

Nights in transit:                             3 (2 buses, 1 flight)

Randoms:          

  • In Iran, it appears that the dogs are banished from the cities. But for a few used by shepherds, the rest simply appear to roam the wastelands in between the cities and towns…
  • Iran, despite being cut off from the international banking world (when we were there, the embargo was still in place), has more different banks than any country we’ve ever visited!
  • Esfahan delivered a first. One grandmother rather liked the idea of her three granddaughters having an Australian husband. Talk about options…
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This entry was posted in Armenia, Australia, China, Iran, Monthly Wrap, Turkey and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Monthly Wrap #19: 27 December 2015– 15 January 2016

  1. I love these wrap ups Chris. We usually do a “best & worst” list toward the end of each trip, and it’s always fun. The Imam Mosque looks fabulous. ~James

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