lunedì 7 gennaio 2013

The end

My blog ends here, waiting for the next experience to be worth telling.
I started it for two reasons: 1) I did not want to forget what I saw 2) I wanted to spread some information about a country which is often spoken about but is not truly known.
Thanks again to all I met during (and before) the trip. If it was such a wonderful experience, it is because of you. Your hospitality and your fight for freedom is something I will cherish forever.
In ogni caso, forza toro.

lunedì 31 dicembre 2012

A forgotten stamp

From Tbilisi we flew to Istambul (and then Italy). In Istambul we met an Italian woman who told us the horrible adventure that had happened to her in Iran. With some friends she had entered Iran via Turkey by train. At the border the Iranian police forgot to put a stamp on their passports. When they tried to leave Iran from Teheran, the airport police noticed that they did not have the stamp and prevented them from taking the flight. They were locked in a room and interrogated harshly for hours. After a few days, she was allowed to leave the country, while the men were still in Iran (that is why she was alone when we met her). Anyway, I did not read any bad news in the newspaper the following days, so I suppose that everything ended well.

Sick at the airport (for Alessandro)

To make our last day more exciting, Alessandro got sick some hours before our departure. When we reached the airport, he was very weak. We had to find a wheelchair to carry him around. Since he felt he was about to vomit, we took a waste bin and we put it between his legs (on the wheelchair). I have pictures to prove that! :)

giovedì 27 dicembre 2012

Armenia and Georgia

Armenia has an ordinary capital city named Yerevan and a nice countryside made up of hills, forests, lakes and... a lot of ancient monasteries! They are very beautiful, but also quite similar to each other (at least this was my thought after spending two days moving from one monastery to another one:).
In Georgia we only stayed in Tbilisi, the capital. Unexpectedly (to me), it is a really nice city: the old part lying on the cliff with its small streets and houses, the fortress ruins on the other side of the river, the churches. And a dynamic nightlife: we could even go to a disco (which seemed extraordinary after three weeks in Iran). The city was being completely renovated: there were construction sites everywhere. I guess thr economy is doing well, and the name of the road to the airport could suggest who is helping: George W. Bush road (I am not kidding)!

A cultural shock

Entering Armenia we suffered two shocks. The first one was cultural. We were used to the warm hospitality of Iranians and we suddenly had to deal with the abrupt manners of Armenian taxi drivers and hotelkeepers. A major difference.
The second one was due to the local prices. Everything seemed very expensive, but it is just Iran which is very very cheap.

martedì 25 dicembre 2012

We cross the border

It was late when we reached the Iranian border. We wished our driver goodbye, we changed our money and we started walking towards Armenia. Luckily, there was not much traffic, therefore we did not have to wait for a long time neither to exit Iran not to enter Armenia. However, we were the only ones passing the border on foot. This is my last image of Iran: the five of us (and our big bags) crossing the bridge over the river separating Iran and Armenia (the no man's land), almost in the dark, while the last rays of sunshine coloured the sourrounding mountains red.

sabato 22 dicembre 2012

...and a wonderful monastery

Beyond the umpteenth twist of the river, the monastery finally came into sight. A view that was awesome. Kalisa Darreh Sham is an ancient christian monastery dominating the valley among high arid mountains. It consists of a church and some other stone buildings where the monks used to live (not anymore). A water source provides drinking water and allows the cultivation of flowers and fruit trees in the gardens. I have rarely been in such a peaceful and relaxing place.
Just beware of wasps: there were a lot of them, and seemed to like visitors a lot.