A Travellerspoint blog

Peru and Isla del Sol

I left for Lima dec. 7th and arrived after 8 pm. The hotel promised that a driver would have waited for me at airport, but nobody was there, so I had the first feeling on how things could go. I arrived at hotel Kamana after nine, so I just had a beer and went to sleep. The morning after I started exploring the city. I chose a hotel in the historical centre instead of Miraflores (the area where usually tourists go) because I wanted to have an idea of the city at first approach and it worked. It was dec. 8th the feast of Immaculate and all the historical centre was partying with people dancing on the streets and around the churches.
Lima

Lima


Lima

Lima


Lima

Lima


Lima

Lima


Lima

Lima


Lima

Lima


Then I had the good idea of purchasing a local sim card, I went at Moviestar and, after 2 hours of queu, passport copied and checked twice(from the staff of the same shop as if one did not trust the work of the other one), I finally got my sim card which became active after only 4 days. In the afternoon I had a stop at the Prisco museum, next to the less excyting chocolate one. The morning after I took a flight for Cusco and from the airport I booked a taxi with Taxidatum, to go to Ollantaytambo with a stop at Salinas de Maras on the way. The salinas were stunning and, being there around 2 pm meant that groups of tourists already left so I could enjoy at best. I arrived at Ollantaytambo around 4 pm and loved this small town at first sight. I stayed at Hostal Chayanasi, a few steps away from the main square small and cosy accomodation with heating in the room. Heating in the room should sound normal as temperatures in the night can go near 0 around here but no, this is the only place in Peru where I had heating. I read many posts about the lack of hot water in some hotels or hostels but nobody complained because there was no heating in the room, I must be the only one enjoying a warm bedroom. I had my first dinner in Ollantaytambo at the popular Albergue Restaurant at the train station. I must say it was a nice dinner but definitly not the great experience described in the social networks and in the travelguides. The second evening I hate at Uchucuta and I enjoyed it more, it was much simpler but here you could really say products were fresh and cooked at the moment. I had my first try of Quinoa soup and theirs was really excellent with a few hand maid ravioli in it. Ollantaytambo does not offer much apart a few day trips if this is what you are looking for, but for me it was the first real taste of Peru and Andes, one of the few places I would like to go back one day.
Salinas

Salinas


Maras

Maras


After 2 days in this nice town, I took the Inca rail train to Aguas Calientes to reach Macchu Pichu. Train or Inca trail(walking) are the only ways to reach Aguas and Machu Picchu. Trains are expensive both Peru rail and Inca rail, but if you do not walk for days, you have no chance. The trip is about 2 hours long and in Aguas station I was supposed to be welcomed by the owner of the guesthouse I booked but...guess what? If this happens also to you, just go to the main square(2 minuts from the station) where you find the tourist information centre and they will tell you where to go. Bus for Macchu Picchu was 24 dollars for the 2 ways and you could pay with credit card with an extra commission. I arrived at Macchu Picchu around 11 and it was really a hard experience for someone with a severe fear of the height such I have. I asked in many forums if it could be a problem and got all negative responses but well, I guess none of people that tried to help had an idea of what fear of the height is. Anyway I was there so I had to fight my fear and visit the sacred site. In Aguas I stayed at Hostal Verayok which not only did not have any heating but had an open window(which you could not close) in the bathroom.
Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu


The day after I left again for Ollantaytambo, and with a driver from taxidatum, I went to Cusco. Many told me to skip Cusco, but I must say I enjoyed this busy city. It's high, yes but anyway I was heading to Titicaka, next, which is higher. I stayed at Kamila lodge, no heating but a good location, hot water and nice room with a balcony on the curtyard. As I said I enjoyed spending my two days in the city just walking around and stopping just for an icecream or a mate at the San Pedro Market. The centre is not huge so it's easy to walk around it without taxis. The restaurant I can reccomend here it's the Sanguicheria, they mainly serve sandwiches and salads but the quality is excellent the prices very low and the portions are huge.
Plaza de las Armas

Plaza de las Armas


After my two days wandering around Cusco I took the Cruz del Sur bus to Puno. After more than 6 hours of bus I arrived at the Titicaka town and actually the driver from the hotel, this time, was waiting for me at the terminal. Suites Antonio was definitly one of the best accomodation I had in Peru, big room(still n o heating), big bathroom, good b reakfast and decent wifi. At any floor there is a coffe station where you can get complimentary tea, mate, coffe. Puno is a small town and the morning after I would live at 6 for Copacabana in Bolivia so I did not explore much that day. The Titicaca Bolivia bus left a few minuts after six from Puno and arrrived in Copacabana at 11.30, so I had just the time to relax a bit with coffe and mate de coca before catching the 1.30 pm ferry to Isla del sol. The trip from Copacabana to Isla del sol is one and half hour long and, this leaves you at Yumani on the southern and more developed side of the island. It's not an island easy to live in, even for tourists. Most attracion and hostels can be reached after a long serie of steps, but after 5 pm, when the last boats leave the island, it's really a paradise. I chose to stay at the Yumani hostal which is the closer to the port and to the lake(also the easier to reach), and after sunset, I could clearly hear the sound of the small waves from my bedroom, excellent lullubuy. The day after I left at 10.30 am and stopped one night in Copacabana to do some shopping and relax a bit. I stayed at Wendi Mar hotel and it was a good one.
Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol


Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol


The next day I got back to Peru and stopped one night in Puno before leaving for Arequipa. In Puno I had a very nice dinner at Mojsa, I prefer simpler cooking but I must admitt they are very good, the restaurant is on the main square and their lamb is something to try. In the morning, after 6 hours of bus, I reached Arequipa, which I did not know, was the second biggest city of the country. The main attraction seems to be Juanita:the visit is made of 2 parts: 20 minuts of movie and then the tour of the museum where the last room is the one with the mummy. The guides will start the tour(and at the end you should give them some money), but you are not obliged to follow the guide, so, while the others do that, go straight to the last room and you will be alone in the most important part of the museum, then, if you want, you can go back and finish the visit. I then visited both Recoleta and Santa Catilina monasteries and, in my opinion, the Recoleta one is much better even if more difficult to reach than the Santa Catilina one which costs 4o soles instead of the 10 of Recolletta.A Peruvian friend of mine told me I should try the first Ceviche at Purito Limon in Arequipa and I followed her advice. It is about 2 kiloemetrs from the historical centre but it's absolutely worth the 5 soles I paid for the taxi. Mundo Alpaca deserves a visit, it's free and they explain to you the process of making Alpaca clothes.
On my last day in Arequipa, I walked aroun mainly looking for a park where to sit on the grass and read for a while. The city centre can be really noisy and polluted, and taxi do not stop honking even in the night, go figure during rush hours. I found Selva Alegre park to be pretty close to where I was and so that was my choice. In the morning only a few young couples were there so I enjoyed my book reading and some people watching. The morning after I had a 7 am flight, so, a very long day started at 4.30.
Arequipa

Arequipa


Recoleta library

Recoleta library


Purito Limon

Purito Limon


San Camilo market

San Camilo market


Once in Lima, I went to the Cruz del Sur terminal and, at 1.30 pm, I left for Paracas. After 3 hours, finally I arrived in this lovely small fishermen's village. It has been love at first sight even if I did not visit Ballestas yet. I stayed at Daniel's house hostel, which is a very basic accomodation but Carlos and his wife, enjoy this job and really do all they can to make their guests feel well. I had a fried fish dinner and the morning after, had my trip to las Ballestas. I loved these small islands and the wildlife around them. The trip was a couple of hours long, and after that, I simply started going around the village exploring any corner, enjoying the sun and the smell of the ocean. The next day, I decided to try going to the natural reserve, walking on my own. It has been about 16 kilometers to reach la catedral which is the main viewpoint of the park and about 3 hours going and 3 hours to get back home. There is a checkpoint at the entrance of the park where you are supposed to pay the ticket, but nobody asked me to, may be it's only for cars and busses. You can also vsit the park with quads. Walking on early morning gave me the chance to have it all for me as tourists will start arriving after 10, when the Ballestas tours finish. The morning after I went back to the natural park, but this time I stopped on the beach near the checkpoint where I was still alone and there were lots of cormorans and other birds.The longer I stayed in Paracas, the more I loved this place and its people and its nature. That was my last day before going back to Lima and then home.
Paracas

Paracas


Paracas

Paracas


Paracas

Paracas


Paracas

Paracas

Posted by xaver 06:53 Archived in Peru Tagged food lima paracas bolivia titicaca isla_del_sol natural_reserve Comments (0)

Myanmar

Overland in Myanmar Jan. 2017


View Myanmar on xaver's travel map.

This is a trip I took in January 2017.
I left Rome on Dec. 30th, spent the new year eve in Bangkok and then started going around Myanmar from Mandalay. In Bangkok I stayed at Wohraburi hotel in Sukumvith area and it was not such a good choice, brakfast never ready on time, rooms cleaned only after you complained because you found it not cleaned and so on.
I flew to Mandalay with Thai smile from Bangkok and it took a couple of hours to get there. The Mandalay airport is small and you have 3 atm to get local money. Actually the only one working, the on of KBZ bank. The taxi from Mandalay airport to city center was 14000 kyat.
In Mandalay I stayed at hotel M3 and I enjoyed my stay there. I paid 22 € for a double room with breakfast. It is not in a quiet area of the city, so, if need silence, this is not your place.
I arrived on early afternoon, so after checking in hotel, I decided to hire a motorbike and a driver to visit a few places such as Mandalay Palace, Mandalay hill, Kuthodaw Paya, Sandamuni Paya and Atimashi Monastery. I spent the all afternoon doing this trip and it costed 15000 kyat, anyway as the traffic is busy and the streets are often dusty, I do not particulary reccomen using motorbike.
Mandalay Palace inside

Mandalay Palace inside


Mandalay Hill

Mandalay Hill


Kuthodaw Paya

Kuthodaw Paya


Sandamuni Paya

Sandamuni Paya


Atimashi Monastery

Atimashi Monastery


I must admitt this first tour of Pagodas did not impress me much, so the day after I opted for a day trip to nearby villages of Amarapura, Sagaing and Mingun.
I hired a car and a driver for half a day and it costed 35000 kyat. It was a foggy day and I so particulary enjoyed Amarapura, its U Bein bridge and the daily life around the river.
U Bein bridge

U Bein bridge


Boats at Amarapura

Boats at Amarapura


Amarapura tree

Amarapura tree


In Sagaing I enjoyed the view on the hill with its many pagodas.
pagodas Sagaing

pagodas Sagaing


Mingun instead was a nice surprise with its Mingun Paya and Hsinbyume Paya. To visit the archeological site of Mingn you must pay 5000 kyat.
Mingun Paya

Mingun Paya


Hsinbyume Paya

Hsinbyume Paya


cow taxi

cow taxi


The morning after I visited the Mahamuni Paya which in my opinion is the only "not to miss Pagoda" in Mandalay. I do not mean the other ones that you kbow about are not worth a visit, but in my opinion this Pagoda gives you the best experience of relgious tradition in Mandalay.
There are more praying devotes than tourists and this says a lot, then families with children in traditional clothing slowly come one after another to bring offerts.
It's hard to get close to the Buddah with golden leave, and even when I got there I just felt like take a picture and go away as I was betwen the buddah and people praying him. Nobody complained but I really felt like an obstacle.

In all Pagodas you will find a sign saying you cannot enter with shoes soks nor shorts, I took shoes and soks away at the entrance but always weared shorts and nobody complained. In Mandaly I had a very good time eating at Aung Lin, a Chinese restaurant at No. ( 109) 30 Street, Bet 80 X 81streets.
I also had a very good traditional Burmese massage at Flora Hiar and Spa at 362 82 street betwen 30 and 31 street 906, here one hour massage costs 7000 kyat.
foto street life e ristorante
After 3 days in Mandalay, I took the Moe Thauk Htun bus to Bagan.This is a cheap (14000 kyat) bus not just for tourists, and in 4 hours and half it takes you to Bagan. It does stops many time to pick up passengers on the street. The service is door to door from your hotel in Mandalay to the one inBagan.
women at Mahamuni Paya

women at Mahamuni Paya


kids at Mahamuni Paya

kids at Mahamuni Paya


Fish head soup

Fish head soup


kids in Mandalay

kids in Mandalay


Bagan
In Bagan I stayed in the excellent Manisanda hotel. Here I paid a double room 52€ per night and it has been by far the most luxurious accomodation of all the trip. Breakfast is included and served on the top roof restaurant from where you can enjoy the sunrise on the temple.
In the morning at 9 am, I took hired a car with driver which, for 30000 kyat took me around the temple I chose for 5 hours. I selected the following pagodas:
Ananda, Dhamma Ya Za Ka, Dhammayangyi, Gubyaukgyi, Hitlominlo, Nagayon, Shwe San Daw, Shwe Zi Gone, Upali Thein
Upali Thein

Upali Thein


Shwe Zi Gone

Shwe Zi Gone


Shwe San Daw

Shwe San Daw


Nagayon

Nagayon


Hitlomino

Hitlomino


Gubyaukgyi

Gubyaukgyi


Dhammayangyi

Dhammayangyi


Dhamma Ya Za Ka

Dhamma Ya Za Ka


Ananda

Ananda


I had my dinner in Green Elephant Restaurant. I usually do not follow LP advices on restaurants as they tend to be diffiult to be found and overcrowded. In this case I made an exception as I really wanted to have a taste of Myanmar cousine and their Myanmar tastes menu is a good chance though, probably overpriced. It's the rstaurant that being advertised by an important guide does not do much to make customers happy, service is too fast which means everything is already prepared and not cooked at the moment. Wifi does not work if you are interested.
green elephant

green elephant


After an overdose of Pagodas that hurted feet, I left Bagan on my way to Inle Lake. I travelled with JJ Express bus and it was a good choice as the service was good, bus was new and price reasonable (15 Us dollars). You can book your ticket with them through their facebook page, so it's easy to plan your trip ahead.
From Bagan to Nyaungshwe it took 8 hours. Once arrived at Nyaungshwe bus stop, I took a sort of tuc tuc to reach the Sandalwood hotel. The single room costed 30€ per night with breakfast and the location was good, but after all I was quiete disappointed with my choice: wifi never really worked , they often forgot to clean the room. They have no heating, so when it is cold, I guess you will not have fun here.
The morning after I took a boat for 4 hours which costed 18000 kyat and started exploring the lake. Mind it's very cold in the morning in december, so do get properly dressed. Of all the various attractions araound the lake, I chose to visit Iwama Village, a cigar factory, the floating village and the floating gardens
Inle fisherman

Inle fisherman


long neck woman

long neck woman


cigar factory

cigar factory


floating village

floating village


floating gardens

floating gardens


I spent the two days left just being lazy, walking around the town, having massages and trying new restaurants.
Restaurants:
Everlight Indian restaurant
12000 kyat for rice, kebab and two beers. The boss said to me nothing on the menù was spicy unless I specifically asked, ofcourse it was not true and the kebab was pretty spicy.
Evergreen
This a sort of pub-fastfood, but they happen to cook some realy great lake fish barbeque. The draught beer costs 800 kyat during happy hour betwen 17 and 21.
Chillax bistro
If you, like me, one morning really miss a good coffe, come here and take an illy espresso, it's expensive(2300 kyat) but the taste is just perfect.
Everst 2
I had a good time here, they serve the curry with rice and chapati and it was enough to satisfy my hunger. The hot gignger honey drink was very good too. The place is small and the service is not fast but also not that slow. The owner speaks a good english.
Chili fish e hot ginger with honey 7000 kyat.
Live Dimsum house
Really a good restaurant I had pork steamed dim sum, vegetable grilled dim sum (4 pieces each), then noodles and ginger tea for 8000 kyat. The quality of food was good, you can see the chef while he cooks. Fortunatly I tried this restauramt on my last night, else I don't think I would have tried any else.
Everest 2

Everest 2


Dimsum Live house

Dimsum Live house


Massage
Jasmine Spa
The massage was too soft for my tastes but the place is clean and after the massage they wash you with hot water so to get oil off without a shower. Price is 16000 kyat for one hour of oil massage.
Wyn Nyunt massage
This place was suggested by lonely planet. As often, they tend to suggest cheap places without taking into consideration the quality of service.
One hour of traditional massage costs 7000 kyat and the young guy knows how to do it, but he was always in rush, did not really seem to wish to be there doing what he was doing. The place is not clean and they massage you on a wood bed which is not so confortable.
After my 3 days on Inle lake, at 5 pm I took the JJ express bus that left me in Yangoon after 13 hours. The 19 dollars ticket includes a meal.
Yangoon
In Yangoon I stayed at Hotel Bahosi. I arrived qt 7 m and they let me have my room, which was nice. The single room was 30€ breakfast included. The wifi works good, the staff is very helpful and speaks an excellent english, breakfast is poor.
I spent in Yangoon one and a half day and being tired from the rest of the trip, I visited Bogyoke Aung San market, Selu Pagoda and the "not to be missed" Shwedagon Pagoda.
I had an excellent dinner at Shan Yoe Yar restaurant. Actually this has been the most elegant restaurant I have been in Myanmar. Don't let the prices on the first pages of the menu scare you, go on and you will find excellent soups and noodles for less than 3000 Kyat.
I had some really good fish noodles and an excellent soup of eggpant and mushrooms. Then smashed potatos and 4 draught beers I paid 15000 Kyat. This has been the most expensive meal I had in all my trip, but it was my last night in Myanmar, so it was worth. Air condition is too strong for me, if you can sit outside it's better.
Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda


monk at Snwedagon Pagoda

monk at Snwedagon Pagoda


eggpland and mushrooms soup

eggpland and mushrooms soup


I enjoyed this trip, some street scenes reminded me of the Asia I met for the first time more than 20 years ago. It is fastly getting crowded, for now specially French and Italians. Food is still genuine and so most people.

Posted by xaver 09:18 Archived in Myanmar Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises boats Comments (1)

Iran on the road

8 days overland in Iran

The trip started from Teheran on December 2014, though when I started planning my itinerary I realised Iran was too big and our time too short. I soon decided that Tehran was not so interesting for us and so we stopped one day, and only because we arrived very early in the morning and did not want to leave immediatly for a new destination.
We stopped at Atlas hotel which was not too expensive but it was not such a good choice. It is is a 3 stars hotel not far from the ex american embassy. The twin beds room was not small and the wi-fi worked well for Iranian standards. We paid 55€ the twin room with breakfast. There was no buffet breakfast, you get a juice, tea or coffe and bread butter and marmalade. I must say staff was not so friendly neither helpful when you asked for info.
E3676D12E2266CCDA3BFEDB1372E1F67.jpg
Next to the lobby there is a small room with a few computers guests can use.
We wanted to travel through this wonderful country by car but did not want to drive, so we decided to contact a driver and our choice was definitly a good one. Ali infact, the driver we hired, was not just an excellent driver but also a super guide, we practically did about 3000 kilometers in 8 days.
his cost was 85€ per day and he has been worth every cent.
His email is: ali@iran-tehrantourist.com
In Teheran we visited the ex american embassy and the bazar which has been the worst we saw on the country. The morning after our arrival we left for Yadz.
On our way to Yadz we stopped a little bit in Na'in which we liked a lot. It used to be a very important city on the silk road, now it looks like a ghost town.
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One more stop was Qom, a very important religious town with the Shrine of Fatima Mausoleum. Fatima Masumeh was the sister of the eight Imam Ali Al Rida and the daughter of the seventh Imam Musa Al kadim. In shia islam, women are often considered as saints if they are relative of one of the twelve Imams.
She is infact considered as saint and her shine is one of the most important of all Iran.
The importance of the place was clear as it was full of pelegrims.
The mosque comprehends a burial chamber, three courtyards and three prayers halls.
It occupies 38000 square meters.
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We arrived in Yazd after a long trip, after sunset, so in the dark we did not really realises we were in the desert. In Yazd we slept in the wonderful Mehr hotel.
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Our driver for dinner took us to eat camel meat and the morning after we started exploring the town.
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What catches soon your attention around Yazd are the windtowers.
Iranians invented windtowers to face the harshly variable climates of the country.They caught the wind and distributed it in the house rooms(aircon). Winditowers still stand and are used in various desert towns. The towers are not only on ordinary houses but also on top of water cisterns and mosques. The function of the cistern below most windtowers in hot dry regions was to help balance humidity inside the house.
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We then visited the bazar, which is is located betwen Khan square and Khan school. It is not a huge bazar but in my opinion it is still better than the Tehran one. The bazar is protected by two wooden gates. The most interesting part of the bazar is the goldsmith one. Inside the bazar we visited the beautiful Malek o Tojjar hote.l Our driver and guide insisted telling us that we should visit this hotel as it was unique. It is inside the bazar and the entrance is very anonymous so that you really get a surprise once you are in.
This hotel is an ancent mansion, in the past belonged to a well known business man whose title Malek o Tojjar was given by a king due to his trustworthy. His descendandts lived in this house for 4 generations. The various rooms of the building have unique carachteristic, any room adorned with different paintings on the walls and the ceilings.
In the 1997 the Malek o Tojjar was inaugurated as the first mud brick hotel world wide and became complete with 23 rooms and 77 beds, some of the rooms are worth a visit.
We visited the summer room, the winter one and the one I enjoyed more, the mirror room. Each room has a bathroom which is on a lower floor and the steps are high, so if you need to go in the bathroom often during the night, you'll better stay away from this hotel.
They ask 1 € for the visit.
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The fire temple:
The flame inside the temple, is considered to be the symbol of the God of Light. The flame has been burning for the past 3000 years, which makes the place one of the most important fire temples for the zoroastrians.
In the temple there is also a large garden and a pool.
Ticket price 50000 rials
Open:8-12 15-18 from saturday to thursday
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Houses:
Houses are build with mud and unbaed bricks and this because in this region there are no other available materials apart mud and mortar.
In the cold season the absorbed temperature is as insulation from the chilly weather outside.
In the hot season mud and un backed bricks strongly resist the sun rays.
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Jameh Mosque
This Mosque also known as Friday Mosque dominates the old city.
The gate covered with majolica tiles is one of the highest of all Iran and next to it there are two minarets 48 meters high.
The Gardoneh mehr (swastika) painted on the majolica (picture 2) tilesrapresents the infinity, the ethernity, the birth and the death, and the same symbol can be found in other buildings in Iran dating back untill 5000 a.c.
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The Mausoleum of Seyed Rokdannin
The beautiful blue dome that marks the Mausoleum of Seyed Roknaddin, is easily visable from all the city center. Here you will find the tomb of the Islamic notable Seyed Roknaddin. Its wind tower is 33 meters high.
In the interior you can find a water stream and the cold air coming from the wind tower cooled the interior with the action of the water. Water and cold wind are too important in the desert to not use them in a useful way.
Open 8-13 16-20
On friday 10-12
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After 3 days in Yadz we left for Shiraz, my memories of Yadz re above all about the street scenes, the brown of the wals, the dusty streets and the windy whispering of desert.
At Shiraz we stayed at the nice Aryo Barzan hotel
This is the only international standard hotel we stayed in all our Iranian trip. It is a modern four stars hotel with all the standard facilities and a good buffet breakfast. We paid 66€ for a twin room, breakfast included and were happy of that.
Wi-fi is free and actually works good. The location is great either, in a few minuts you reach the fortress and the bazar.
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Mosque Nasir Al Mulk
This mosque built at the end of the XIX century has some really awesome decorations made by an unusual dark blue majolica tiles. But the most impressive area is the winter prayer room, with its wonderful coloured windows and the coloured majolica tiles. Try to come in the morning so you can enjoy the show of the light going through the coloured windows.
Open 8-14 15,30-19
Ticket 2€
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Mausoleum Shah e Cherag
In this wonderful Mausoleum rests Sayyed Mir Ahmad, one of the 17 borthers of Imam Reza. Sayyed was killed here in 835 d.c.
The first mausoleum was built on its tomb but most of what we see today has been added starting from the Qajar period.
Inside the many mirrors give a shining effect to the all rooms. It seems that non muslims cannot enter, but our guide said we were tourists and they seemed more than happy to let us in, infact they let us even skip the controls that locals had to pass through.
Inside it's not possible to take photos, you are allowed just on the square.
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Mosque Masjed e Vakil
The portal is adorned with majolica tiles and the inside courtyard is surrounded by small portics and recesses also decorated with tiles. The prayer room is 75 meters high and 36 meters large and the roof is supported by 48 columns. Inside the prayer room there is a very nice mihrab of 14 steps all obtained by one block of marble coming from Azerbaijan.
Open 8-20
Ticket 1,50€
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Tomb of Hafez
An iranian adage says that a house must have two thins a Quran and a Hafez's book. Hafez is loved and followed in Iran just as a modern celebrity and I was really curious to visit the Mausoleum. We spent here about one hour but if I could chose I would have spent there all afternoon, it's one of those places where you just sit down get a tea cup, here the songs made with the poet's words and feel in peace with the rest of the universe though you understand nothing. It was a friday and seing so many iranian teens visiting the tomb during their holiday made me smile, thinking of our teens crashing into malls.
Open 8-21,30
Ticket 0,50€
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Naranjestan
The building known as Narajenstan e Ghavam is a part of the Ghavam complex and was designed and used as birooni ( to receive people out of the family circle).
The complex built betwen 1879 and 1886 was the domicile of Governor's Court of Fars during the Qajar period. It also includes Zinat al Mulk house, designed and used as andarooni(the home dedicated to the close family).
The two buildings were connected by underground passage. This is a significant example of Iranian architecture during the Qajar period.
Open 8-18.30
Ticket 2,5€
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The Citadel
The fortress built during first years of Zand dinasty, dominates the centre of the city. It was a part of the complex that Karim Kahn wished to build in opposition to the power of Esfahan.
There are 4 circular towers in the fortress, they are 14 meters high and one of them, the southwestern one is pendent. Inside the fortress there is a nice courtyard with orange trees and a pool. You can also visit a small museum frankly not so impressive.
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Bazar e Vakil
The first thing I remember about this bazar was a man pushing a hand cart stopping behind us and politely asking if we could let him pass. I have this memory as in Tehran as I have written, the same hand cart men seemed to gain points if they hit people. So this is not just a difference betwen the two bazars but betwen the two cities. The Shiraz bazar is lovely, definitly the one I prefer even if Esfahan one is bigger. Even if you don't want to buy much as us, stop by carpets shops, some are really wonderful even for a profane as I am.
Open 8-18
Closed on friday
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After three days we left Shiraz with great memories reading some poetries of Hafez while heading to Esfahan. On the way we stopped at Persepolis.
Persepolis is the greek name of Parsa, ancent persian city located about 80 kilometers from Shiraz.
It was known as the richest city under the sun and it has been the cerimonial capital of the persian empire.
Darius in 519 bc established Persepolis as the most magnificent of the four Achaemenid capitals: Susa Ecbatana Persepolis and Babylon.
Ticket 150000 rials.
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On Esfahan we stayed in a sort of B&B, Dibai House.
This is definitly one of the best place I have ever slept in. It is a typical iranian house with its courtyard and the rooms around it. There is a small kitchen that guests can use to have coffe or tea.The place is run by a lady that lived 30 years in Spain and any year spend in Ibiza several months. The breakfast is excellent with homemade marmelades, and bread. We were the only guests in the house but every moening we found the breakfast buffet as if the hotel was full. Cutting services because there are not many custmers is one of the most common mistakes hotel managers do. There is a tv room and no tv in the room, I loved that.
If I must find a bad note, wi-fi did not really work good.
We paid 50€ for a twin with breakfast.
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Khaju Bridge
This is probably the most beautiful bridge in Esfahan.
We atually ejoyed having a walk through it even if there was no river to cross.
It is 110 meters long and it has two series of terraces: the lower one is interrupted by sluices that regulate the flow (when there is any water flowing).
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Naqsh e-Jahan square
Some guides say this is the second largest square of the world, just after Tienammen square in Beijing. According to wikipedia, there are some bigger ones. I don't know who is right and if there are different ways to measure a square: it's huge. My advice is to go after sunset the first time. Our driver said it looked like a big sheep, I did not see any sheep in it but could only turn left and right for 5 minuts to have an idea of where I was. It is impressive and slowly walking around it, without looking for the monuments but simply enjoying the spaces, is amazing. We came back the day after with daylight and the sensation was totally different, it was like if the a veil was off. It was not worse, but as I said you should first see it with the blue veil.
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Jameh Mosque
The complex of this mosque can be considered a museum of islamic architecture though it is considered and used as a house of God. Visiting it it is possible to see how islamic architecture developed in 800 years and you also must consider that here you find expression of any single period at its best. With its 20000 mt. Sq it is also the biggest mosque of all Iran. It seems anyway that the first religious rituals here were celebrated by zoroastrians.
In the center of the courtyard there is a fountain built following the model of Mecca's kaaba. In the past, people that wanted to go to Mecca, first came here to learn how to behave during the visit at the saint city.
Open 9-11 13-16
ticket 0,50€
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Bazaar e Bozorg
This is one of the oldest and biggest Bazar of all Iran. The corridors are connected by small domes opened at top so that the light can come in. Oldest areas of bazar, the ones near the mosque, are 1000 years old but the big part have been built more recently in XVII century. You can access the bazar from many points but the main gate is the Qeysarieh one at the northern side of Naqsh -e Jahan square. As we had limited time we did noot visit all the bazar but mainly the spice area. It is a huge bazar but I still preferred the one in Shiraz.
Open 9-20 closed on friday.
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We spent two days in Esfahan and then headed to Tehran airport as we had a night flight, on our way we stopped a few hours in Kashan.
We took a day use room in Kamalmolk house.
The hotel was run by 3 guys, very nice and enthusiasts of their job, they kept saying that guest must feel like at home and things like that. Awfully rooms are very poor more hostel style than hotel. Bathroom floor was full of water and you had to leave shoes outside the room so you got wet any tjme you went in. Wi fi did not work at all and we paid 20€ for a day use.
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Khan e Abasian
This house has been built for a rich window merchant. It is made of six buildings and it is built on several levels.
The courtyards have been built with the pourpouse to improve the sense of the space so they become bigger while we go up untill we arrive on the biggest open courtyard on the top.
The rooms on the various levels are adorned with some nice mirror composition and this is probably dued to the owner's activity.
Open 8-17
Ticket 1,80€
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Persian Garden Bagh -e Fin
It was realised for the Scia Abbas I and recently it has been added to the list of persian gardens in the Unesco Heritage.
The structure is composed by a main yard surrounded by ramparts with circular towers.
Behind the garden on a hillthere is a natural spring and the water pressure made it possible to have fountains and pools all around without needing of mechanical pumps.
Open 9-17
Ticket 0,50€
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After dinner we left Kashan for Tehran airport.
Today I found out that as I have been in Iran after 2011 I cannot have a visa for USA unless I have an interview in an american embassy. What can I say? If I cannot go to usa, I'll go back to Iran :-)

Posted by xaver 07:24 Archived in Iran Comments (0)

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