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Travel Journal-Persian Posts

Front cover

Front cover

Some of you already know that I write a couple of blogs (when the mood takes me!) my other blog being about my travels and experiences in Iran-Persian Posts. Over the past few days I have been catching up with my articles based on my 3-week holiday back in July 2014. Thank goodness then that I always keep a travel journal which I religiously and lovingly write up each evening so that I don’t forget even the smallest detail. It is amazing what you do forget and I love re-reading my journal weeks and months after my holiday.

My travel journal has come in very handy this whilst writing up my posts and I have managed to complete quite a few. We are already planning our 2015 visit so I must catch up before we go!

 

 

 

Travel journals are easy to put together and good fun. Collecting tickets and stubs, receipts, leaflets, postcards, menus, photos, labels and anything else that will stick onto the pages or slip into pockets is addictive but they give a great flavour of your travel experience and trigger memories otherwise filed away.

For this trip I used a great wire-bound book from paperchase. For £7.00 I got

Back cover

Back cover

lots of pages, both lined and plain so I could add my own drawings, plastic pockets and half-page paper pockets which were really useful to keep the leaflets and menus in.

You can buy the book online-Paperchase

If you are short of ideas but have collected a wealth of material, you will do worse than look on Pinterest for inspiration. There are lots of completed pages to view, ideas for travel-themed embellishments and layout designs as well as suggestions for what works well.

I will be writing another journal to cover my 2015 travels and have already got the book ready to pack! All I need now is to sort out the rest of my equipment to take and I will be set. Only 5 months early!

 

Sincere apologies

IMG_0321

Hello everyone! Apologies for the month of silence but I was hoping to catch up on my blogging whilst on holiday in Iran. However, the vagaries of internet access over there has meant that I was unable to access some websites, including my own Blog and therefore I have even more catching up to do now that I am back home.

After travelling for 17 hours, we arrived home about 1 hour ago and therefore need sleep before embarking on my writing extravaganza. I hope that details of my new adventures in Iran are worth waiting for!

I will be back soon.

 

Home thoughts from abroad

I am really looking forward to my next visit to Iran, which is due later this year. I love the country, its people, its food, the culture and architecture and the history is mind-boggling. The fragrant smells of spices and herbs in the bazaar, mud walls, easy living and bergamot tea to drink at leisure all day. It’s a wonderful experience.

When I am there, we tend to go out in the early morning to do our sight-seeing and visiting early doors before it gets too hot. After lunch, the family settles down for their afternoon siesta. I find it difficult to get into the routine of sleeping in the afternoon and usually spend my first week updating my Persian Posts blog.

This year I will be doing something in addition to my blog, and I don’t know why I haven’t thought about it before. This is a fantastic idea for any trip, holiday, honeymoon and days out and I will be stocking up on 3 weeks of Iranian stamps on my first day.

Postcard album

 

Robert Browning

Home Thoughts from Abroad

O, to be in England
Now that April ‘s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
That ‘s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Tuvalu who?

 

 

Ha! ha! I shouldn’t laugh but frankly this is laughable even in the dire circumstances in which Iran finds itself with increased sanctions imposed from today.

I sit on the fence when it comes to deciding whether sanctions are necessary and why they are being imposed. The political scene is too complex for me so I just have to try to pick out a bit of light relief from the carnage.

How on earth do you hide an oil tanker?

Register it from Tuvalu.

Tuvalu who?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18640746

The colourful ladies of Abyaneh

I am by nature an early riser but it has to be something pretty special to coax me out of my bed at 4.00am and I was hoping that today wouldn’t disappoint as I rolled out of bed and into the shower this morning. We were off to Abyaneh, a famous Iranian “historic village” then skirting the central desert via Natanz to Kashan. I was not to be disappointed.

Abyaneh is a remote settlement nestled high in the Karkas mountains and it’s red. The houses are built from the red-ochre coloured mud which gives them their distinct appearance and they butt into the steep slopes so that there are no back gardens and the emphasis is very much on the house fronts. We didn’t get to see inside a house but apparently there are no stairs becuase they use the natural slope of the mountain to climb between stories.

Most of the original carved wooden doors remain intact and when you look closely you will see that most doors have two knockers-one for men the other for women. This enables the person indoors to tell by the knock whether the visitor is a man or a woman (rarely is the “wrong” knocker used).

Unusually for an Islamic community, women enjoy equal rights with men and traditionally this has meant that many have not married until they are at least thrity and no more than three children are born to a family. Perhaps this emancipation is why the ladies of Abyaneh are famous for their bright coloured clothes an unusual feature for Islamic women and something which the colourful ladies of Abyaneh have resisted despite several attempts by the government to change this.

Sadly most of the houses are deserted now and the younger villagers have moved away, many abroad. Tourists flock in droves to see the village and its remaining residents, especially the colourful ladies and whilst when we arrived at 7.30am there were few other visitors by the time we left at 10.30am hundreds more had arrived and there was nowhere to park.  It was clearly good planning to get up at 4.00am and I was pleased that we had done so.

Some of the ladies are more willing to be photographed than others and I always asked before taking a photo respecting those who did not want to be. I fully understand their reluctance. At best it’s a nuisance, but it can be invasive and inappropriate so asking first is a must even if you don’t like the answer. One particularly bright and bubbly lady happily posed for photographs and even insisted that we join her on some of our pictures.  Her enthusiasm became clear when she asked if we could send the pictures by email to her daughter who lives in Europe! I had to laugh but gladly we wrote down the email address and tonight I will be sending her pictures to someone, somewhere in Italy!

 Other attractions in the village include the Congregational Mosque with a fabulous inlaid door. Sadly the mosque was closed so I was unable to see the painted ceiling which I had read about. The mausoleum ( “Holly Shrine” per the road sign) is also worth a visit if only for the views across the mountains from the verandah and its blue mosaic cone roof also shines out amongst the mass of red.

Abyaneh is an interesting place to while away a few hours and I was surprised to learn that we had been there for three hours. I was sad to leave without seeing more of the buildings further up the hill but it was getting very busy and we had places to go and things to see in Kashan.

Fin Gardens.

We have our mountains back!

The past two days have been marked by the gorgeous blue skies and ever-increasing temperatures to the extent that by 10.00am yesterday morning it was too hot to be outdoors and we abandoned all thoughts of planting our flower beds as intended and retreated inside.

By midday the tiles were scorching hot and without shoes it was like walking on burning coals.

After the heat however came the rain storm, although we were clearly on the edge with only one clap of thunder, and it proceeded to rain like I have never seen here.  Massive puddles formed quickly on the roads and we could hear the water pounding on the roof as we ate dinner. It was strangely comforting though as it reminded me very much of home and being on holiday in England.

This morning the clouds have disappeared and have been replaced by clear blue skies once more. Not only did the rain water all the plants but it also settled the dust which has plagued us all week.

We have our mountains back.

Paradise in the Nightingale’s garden

 

On a beautifully warm and sunny mid-morning Feri and I walked along the Chahar Bagh (Persian: “Four Gardens”) and into a park. What struck me immediately was how very green everywhere was. The trees and the grass were a vivid and verdant green which only comes from copious watering. Gardeners bearing hosepipes make sure that the Bagh-e-Bolbol (“Garden of the Nightingale”) is kept well-watered and the lawns and flower beds full of smiling pansies in full bloom were immaculate.

 

A marble pool filled with crystal clear water sits in front of the Hasht Behesht ( “Eight Paradises”) palace and the fountains spout cascades of water all the time whilst gentlemen abandon their bicycles and  sit round on benches telling stories all the time rolling strings of prayer beads in the palms of their hands.   

 

It is a peaceful and calming place and just as beautiful as the Hasht Behest pavillion which opens onto the gardens and draws visitors into its rooms.

Sadly, the upper story is closed due to restoration work but there is enough beauty to admire in the ground floor octagonal rooms without having to climb upstairs and it will be something to look forward to when we return.