Results tagged “Iran” from The travels of Mary Loosemore
... my track record of unwittingly foreshadowing unrest and/or international incidents on my travels seems to be continuing unblemished...... and I thought Bhutan was meant to be a peaceful place!
March 2008 - Bhutan: "2008 January and February - A string of bomb blasts hits the country ahead of elections set for March 24. The attacks are blamed on groups fighting for the rights of ethnic Nepalis exiled in 1991." (BBC Country Profile - Timeline: Bhutan) 'Maoists killed' by Bhutan police (BBC news)
April/May 2007 - Iran: "2007 March - Diplomatic stand-off with Britain after Iran detains 15 British sailors and marines patrolling the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway separating Iran and Iraq. 2007 April - President Ahmadinejad says Iran can produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale." (BBC Country Profile - Timeline: Iran)
October 2006 - Pakistan: "Raid on an Islamic seminary in the tribal area of Bajaur bordering Afghanistan kills up to 80 people, sparking anti-government protests. The army says the madrassa was a training camp for militants." (BBC Country Profile - Timeline: Pakistan)
January/February 2005 - Nepal: "King Gyanendra dismisses Prime Minister Deuba and his government, declares a state of emergency and assumes direct power, citing the need to defeat Maoist rebels." (BBC Country Profile - Timeline: Nepal)
Maybe I should add flak jacket to my birthday list......
I've finally finished sorting through my photos from Iran, shrinking and uploading them to Flickr.
Mehran, Stan and Reza really were a winning team, and I would recommend a visit to Iran to anyone - it doesn't really matter where or when, and different people will be interested in different things. Once you've been and seen what an an amazing and beautiful country it is, and that the people you meet in the bazaars and at the sights are so welcoming and hospitable, rightly proud of their history and culture, I am sure you will want to return - I know that I do.
I've so many favourite memories - wandering the backstreets of Yazd, marvelling at everything in Esfahan, exploring the bazaars and mosques of Shiraz, hearing Persian poetry by moonlight at the mausoleum of Hafez, being presented by a beautiful flower by a young woman as we walked back to the hotel one evening, getting dressed up in traditional nomad wedding dress, carrying out conversations by way of the Lonely Planet Persian phrase book, being interviewed for local telly near Bazm and for an advertorial in the Abbasi Hotel, tucking into melon (various varieties), cheese and fresh bread with a breathtaking view of Mount Dena and minutes later chancing upon Qashqai nomads and their flocks on the annual migration to summer pastures - the young and the weak getting a ride tucked up snugly in carpets pockets on the back of a donkey, unexpected hail and film crews in ancient Hamadan, the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (even when disrupted by the 21st century noise of young blokes on motorbikes), the kitsch souvenir shops, signage and stalagmites and stalactites at Ali Sadr Caves, staying in amazing converted/restored caravanserai in Yazd and Esfahan, relaxing in the Eram gardens, taking tea with the nomads near Bahvanat and trying my hand at churning butter in a goatskin, the smell of freshly baked bread and the production line four man bakeries in Kashan, Shiraz and Hamadan, the amazing switchback road climbing up and through the Alborz Mountains, through the green of the orchards and wheatfields, the grandeur of Persepolis and the peace and tranquility of the gardens of Fin, the stunning colours decorating the mosques and traditional houses, palaces and citadels - and flowers everywhere.
How: Wild Frontiers' Land of the Peacock Throne tour
When: April/May 2007
Advice / Info: FCO, CIA Iran Country Profile, BBC Country profile: Iran Wikipedia: Iran, Lonely Planet: Iran, Pars Times: Iran
On our first day, in Tehran, we were treated to an evening show of electric thunderstorms complete with amazing lightening, together with a fresh fall of snow on the Alborz mountains from the previous day, and were welcomed in Hamedan with hailstones the size of Mint Imperials bouncing off the main roads!
There's a film festival on here, and Stan (our leader) has already been nabbed for an interview on the merits of guidebooks. Today was a scorcher, and Hamedan was a great first stop after the metropolis of Tehran - offering both ancient monuments (Ectabana mud brick built city excavations, the stone lion carving Alexander the Great commissioned to commemorate the death of one of his generals who died on the trek back from India ...) and a brilliant couple of hours exploring the bazaars and backstreets. I've got some fab photos for vol 2 of my travels :)
I got my visa back yesterday. Applied for it through Travcour:
Saturday 24 March: The final pieces of paperwork for my Iranian visa application arrived (including details of who else is booked on the Wild Frontiers Land of the Peacock Throne trip)
Monday 26 March: Checked with Wild Frontiers that it was still worth applying for an Iranian visa. Their answer was "Yes, asap."
Tuesday 27 March: Posted forms, passport etc to Travcour. 1st class post, recorded delivery
Wednesday 28 March: Travcour emailed confirming receipt
Monday 02 April: Travcour emailed confirming they had got a visa and were posting everything back to me. 1st class post, recorded delivery
Tuesday 03 April: Passport and visa arrived.
I was rather surprised given the current state of affairs, but it suggests a quick turn around time by Travcour/the embassy. Then again, as Simon remarked, "They're probably not getting many applications for tourist visas at the moment."
Just spotted this on the BBC News website:
"Fifteen British Navy personnel have been captured at gunpoint by Iranian forces, the Ministry of Defence says."
That does not bode well for my trip to Iran in just over a month's time....
Yes, I've booked onto Wild Frontiers' recce tour to Iran in April/May next year.
I decided that:
(1) it isn't going to get any safer to go there any time soon, and the chances are it might get even more difficult to visit - so better to go sooner rather than later/never;
(2) I needed something to look forward to over the winter, and to help out on the "work-to-live" ethos; and
(3) If I didn't book asap the trip might get booked up, or I'd become too stingey to shell out.... either way I'd be missing out on (what I anticipate will be) an excellent trip to a destination that has long been on my travel wishlist.
My Amazon Wishlist has been updated accordingly.... for those of you wondering what to buy me for Christmas (hint).
Outline itinery is:
Day 1: London to Tehran
Day 2: Tehran
Day 3: Tehran to Hamadan/Hamedan
Day 4: Hamadan/Hamedan
Day 5: Hamadan/Hamedan to Kashan
Day 6: Kashan to Yazd
Day 7: Yazd to Bazm
Day 8: Bam to Persepolis
Day 9: Persepolis to Shiraz
Day 10: Shiraz to Yasuj
Day 11: Yasuj to Isfahan / Esfahan
Day 12: Isfahan / Esfahan
Day 13: Isfahan / Esfahan to Tehran
Day 14: Tehran to Bandar-e-Anzali
Day 15: Bandar-e-Anzali to Tehran
Day 16: Tehran to London