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Iran, what an experience 🇦🇺

Home » Iran, what an experience 🇦🇺

The first time I was in Iran I fell in love with this country. So I had to return in 2020.
Due to the current political situation and the resulting economical restrictions this country has gained a sinister reputation. When telling my friends my plans to visit Iran, they all expressed their worries: terrorism, thieves, burglary, women suppression. But I did not let me deter by this conception.
I don’t need to talk about the historical buildings, everybody can read up on them, apart from saying that the beauty of some buildings and places brought me to tears. What most touched me were the people. Until then I have never experienced such hospitality, friendliness, curiosity.
How often had I been invited to peoples’ homes or their picnic blankets? Iranians love to have picnics and they spread their blankets wherever there is some grassy area shaded by a tree and without fail you will be invited to join or at least some nuts or other Persian delicacies will be offered to you.
But be aware of tarouf: this is the politeness code: an Iranian person may offer anything to you, sometimes the offer going well beyond his means. Please reject the offer at least three times, to give the person the chance to withdraw their offer.
Iranians are a very educated people and extremely proud and knowledgeable about their culture. Often you will see a person standing in a park reciting poems of Hafez. Women out there, how often did it happen to you in your life that you walk past some strange men, they get up and sing a song to you?
Many women I met were very modern thinking, independent women, highly educated, and outspoken. Iranian women are very fashion conscious, wearing their head scarfs with unbelievable grace and always new wrappings, whilst I, as a western woman may get all tangled up and feel clumsy in comparison. One day I was struggling with my shoulder bag, dog leash, and the shawl tangled up in all of this, a woman recognizing my predicament, stopped, smilingly unwrapped this mass, draped the shawl around my head, kissed me on both of my cheeks, and went her way.
You will meet women clothed in their Chadors, who have a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence or astrophysics, which I for certain did not expect, having these prejudices of these veiled women all being of shy and rather submissive nature.
This year I traveled to Iran again, this time as a single woman in my own car. Never was I frowned upon, in the opposite, people were very curious and welcoming, men as well as women. Women traveling alone, you will be surprised by the respect you will be treated with. Never have I felt threatened or uncomfortable, even when sleeping in my van in the middle of a city.
Again the help I received when breaking down was incredible. Refueling the car with diesel is a bit problematic, as you need a diesel card, which you don’t receive as a tourist. Some petrol stations have those cards, most don’t, so you have to ask truck drivers if you can use their cards. This request was hardly ever rejected, only if they had no more allocation left on their card, very often again they showed their generosity: my car was often filled up for free.
Iran, once Corona is over and I can continue my journey to Europe, I will come back into your embrace, I will enjoy your wonderful people, your delicious food, your mind-boggling monuments, and your melodious language. Before saying goodbye with tears in my eyes.

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