‘Are you sure you want to visit Iran?’

‘Are you sure you want to visit Iran?’

An account from one of our companions.

Iran 2023

This is one of many questions I was asked before my adventure to Iran. Some put it bluntly, others more indirectly; all with good intentions of course. A friend suggested Iran and, in all honesty, I hadn’t considered visiting it prior to that. Being a teacher, I have worked with families and colleagues of different nationalities. All the Iranian colleagues and families I had worked with were all incredibly warm-hearted people who took pride in their rich culture and spoke fondly about Iran. I’m naturally a curious and rather unassuming person so I was eager to visit this mysterious country. I was certain that the way Iran is portrayed in the mainstream media does not mirror its reality. Since conflict in the surrounding areas had begun, a little apprehension was bubbling before the visit. As the visit drew closer, Sadia had been transparent with all of us and I decided to put my faith in the Almighty and go.

Having been on group and solo trips before, I was prepared to enjoy my own company as well as welcome any companionship. Apart from one sister (whom I had travelled with before), everyone else was a stranger. This did not last very long and I quickly felt safe and at ease with this amazing group of ladies. Spending the majority of my time around lots of people is not something I personally look forward to, however I enjoyed every aspect of our time together. The coach journeys were full of chatter, laughter and reflections. During every meal, I felt like I was sharing a meal with my family except I was devouring traditional, exquisite Iranian food. Witnessing historical landmarks and stunning Iranian architecture, was even more satisfying, when I could share moments of awe and absolute wonder with others who were equally impressed. I feel truly blessed to have had this opportunity to meet and share this journey with a group of unique sisters who are on a wonderful journey of their own.

Iran is a beautiful country. Being a creative person, my eyes tend to notice patterns and beauty in my surroundings and I simple couldn’t get enough of it in Iran. All the cities, even in the non-tourist areas were incredibly tidy and beautifully designed. All the sites we visited were a visual treat. The numerous palaces and mosques were each uniquely coloured, patterned and designed however equally dazzling. One would think that such creativity and design is a thing of the past, but visiting the bazaars in Isfahan proved me wrong. There are still numerous crafters working on miniature paintings, carving wood, painting ceramics, designing mirror and copper with intricate Persian patterns.

I know I mentioned food earlier, but it deserves a paragraph of its own. Persian food is visually the most attractive. Plates of golden rice are decorated with jewel-like berries. All of the restaurants we visited served authentic Iranian food, which I was more than eager to devour. Iranians hold their cuisine in high regard, and the absence of common fast food chains, which are so prevalent in the west, was incredibly refreshing. Their dishes combine a multitude of flavours and often include the healthy marriage of sweet and sour. When I close my eyes, I can still smell the saffron, the rose petals, the succulent kebabs which were marinated to perfection with walnut and pomegranate molasses! (my personal favourite)

I had the pleasure of seeing 4 cities during our 7 day trip – Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd and Isfahan. I was prepared for a whirlwind as that meant having to cover many things in a jam-packed itinerary. However, my excitement and adrenaline helped me to enjoy every moment and function rather well with less than average sleep. Although we covered a lot, there were still pockets of time where we could sneak away and explore the country independently.

A successful holiday such as this requires careful planning and consideration. I am very grateful to Sadia and Yasna for organising this holiday with such attention to detail. Yasna, our local tour guide, was absolutely magnificent throughout the journey. She was knowledgeable, approachable and always happy to patiently answer all our questions and attend to any requests. Sadia is blessed with a cheerful demeanour and is gifted at shooing worries and problems away with a light-hearted joke. I enjoyed her sense of humour, fun-loving spirit and genuine personality very much.

If you haven’t yet visited Iran, I strongly recommend you listen to your heart, book with an open mind and keep your eyes peeled to witness some of the most beautiful sights in the world.



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