Mashhad was my last stop before leaving Iran for Turkmenistan. I took it easy and enjoyed my last days in this wonderful country. It’s a pity that Iran has such a bad image in the west because for travellers it really is a great destination. People are incredible friendly and hospitable, the landscape is beautiful and there’s a lot to see and do; they just have a bit of a problem with their government.

To close off Iran some Iranian phenomena:

  • I now know how it must be for girls; with guys staring at you, smiling and whispering and then sending one member of the group over to come nervously talk to you. Usually these conversations are short as mentioned earlier; to keep them interesting for myself I started telling people that I’m from Nigeria; didn’t have people question that yet though..
  • If a lady gets up from her chair the really conservative types refuse to sit down immediately on that spot; the residual body heat that you feel makes it almost equal to having sex!
  • When an Iranian is wealthy it is important to show this to the outside world. One of the surprisingly popular ways in Tehran of doing this is to get a nose-job, making the tip of the nose curl upward a bit. To make sure the world notices that you got your nose fixed you then leave the plaster on for way longer than necessary! (If only Tehran had night-life; we would have gone clubbing with band-aids on our noses..)
The holy shrine of Imam Reza, attracting 15 million pilgrims per year. I tried to sneak in but got stopped and got a free guide who showed me around (stopping me from seeing the actual shrine though at the heart of the complex). One other impressive sight in here was a mosque that had it's entire ceiling covered in little mirrors (from 1m up from the floor to the roof).
The other thing, beside the shrine, that Mashhad is known for are its' carpets. Pictured ones are $8000,- each.
The sole day of hitch-hiking in Iran; hitched in the back of multiple pick-ups when we went on a tour to a nearby village in the mountains.
Naturally I cannot pass up on the possibility to take a picture with a goat. Also visible: my new ugly (but effective) sun cap.
The traditional village of Kang in the mountains west of Mashhad.