Friday, 31 August 2012

Erzurum to Bingol, Turkey (31 August 2012)

Today, Malaysians at home would be celebrating 55 years of Independence. Selamat Hari Merdeka Malaysia! 

We, on the other hand, started our day in Erzurum visiting Ataturk Musem and walking the streets of Erzurum.



Thursday, 30 August 2012

An unexpected day out with two Turkish families (30 August 2012)

In the morning we drove towards Horasan, a town in Erzurum Province, East Anatolia where we stopped at a river bank and had our breakfast of tea and egg sandwiches. We lazed around enjoying the river view and I did some reading. Soon two friendly, cheerful Turkish boys, dressed in only their swimming trunk, came by and chatted with the few english words that they knew. They invited us over to their picnic spot but we declined. After a while, they left. Twenty minutes later the same boys came back, accompanied by another boy and their two older sisters. They also brought with them two live trout.

>> Cheeky little boys.

The live trout they brought us >>

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Bijar to Bazargan (26-29 August 2012)

We left Bijar at 11.30am after breakfast and washing Our Sorento. Minutes later we came to a police check point and went through it without much hassle.

 >> Rock formation on a hill just outside of Bijar. Looks  like a bird’s head complete with beak. Mum sees it as two lions fighting. What do u see?

Border crossing to Turkey (29 August 2012)

Today we attempted our first border crossing at the Bazargan / Dogubayazit border crossing. Before we made the crossing, we stocked up on bottled water and some basic food supplies. We also fueled up - diesel is far more expensive in Turkey. There are shops selling Turkish third party insurance in Bazargan, Iran (look out for signage reading “Sigorta”), so we bought ours. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Hamedan (25 August 2012)

Our morning in Hamedan started with a search for the tourism office. We were expecting it to be located in a row of shops or a standalone building in a park, as was the case in most cities. However, after asking a few locals, we find ourselves walking into the Art Faculty of one of the university in the middle of the city.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Qom to Hamedan (22-24 August 2012)

23 August 2012 – We started the day early wanting to see the Holy Shrine in Qom. We drove towards the Holy Shrine hoping to find a parking spot, the street was busy made worst by a crowded Taxi stand at the end of the street. This is where it happened, an unmarked taxi was backing out into the street, we all thought he would stop to let us pass, traffic was crawling, but he kept backing up and the inevitable happened, he backed straight into Our Sorento’s back wheel and scraped the side bumper. Dad got off and inspected the damage. Seeing that the damaged was light and the whole bumper stayed intact, Dad got back in and drove off, of course after showing his displeasure to the errant taxi driver. This totally ruined our visit to Qom and we made our way out of the city to visit Jamkaran Mosque.


In the outskirts of Qom, we find ourselves at Jamkaran Mosque, a sacred place and a popular pilgrimage site for Shi’ite Muslims. The mosque was undergoing some major renovations to add a new entrance gate, amongst others.
According to Wikipedia, “Local belief has it that the Twelfth Imam (Muhammad al-Mahdi) — a messiah figure Shia believe will lead the world to an era of universal peace — once appeared and offered prayers at Jamkaran. On Tuesday evenings especially large crowds of tens of thousands gather at Jamkaran to pray and to drop a note to the Imam in a well at the site, asking for help with some problem.”

There is an interesting history on how the Jamkaran Mosque came to be built, click here and take some time to read all about it.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

20-21 August 2012–Isfahan

Isfahan was a joy to visit. This is mum and dad’s second visit, having been here previously in 2008. So, I had the benefit of a personal tour guide taking me around all the places of interest. Another bonus point was that there was no getting lost in the city. We visited some places both during the day and night. We skipped the Zoroastrian Fire Temple as we had already visited the one in Yazd and figured that the one in Isfahan would be roughly the same thing.
We started our tour of Isfahan with a visit to the Armenian Quarters.
Vank Cathedral >>
Church of Saint Joseph of Arimathea. The walls inside the church are all painted with illustrations from the Old and New testaments, Saint’s life etc.
Si-o-Se Bridge (but there’s no water running under the bridge) >>
Khajou Bridge >>
Imam Square. The square is lined with rows of bazaar selling all sorts of handicrafts, the Shah mosque on one side, the Ali Qapu Palace and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque on the other two sides. As we walked through the bazaar in the day time, a group of 4 students, who spoke English, chatted with us for almost an hour. Two of them were from Afghanistan but their family came to live in Isfahan when the war started. We came back at night and the atmosphere is great, not something we have seen elsewhere before. The well manicured grounds of the Squares were packed with groups of people sitting, eating and socialising.
Handicrafts at the Bazaar >>
This soft vanilla ice cream served with lots of lemon juice and slightly crunchy “noodles” (the guy tried to explain to us what it was but we couldn’t understand) is the best dessert we had in Iran. Though we did find other places in Isfahan selling the similar looking dessert, they did not taste the same or nearly as good as the ones sold at Imam Khomeini Square. Here I am buying another one at night while we enjoyed the lightings around the square. Flooding it with lemon juice was what made it yummier.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

17-19 August 2012 – Yazd & Naein

On 17th August 2012, we traveled from Aburkah to Yazd. Along the way we had a picnic lunch at Mehr Spring before reaching Yazd at 6.20pm.

Mud house at AburkahAt Mehr SpringOur watermelon cooling off in Mehr Spring

Narrow alley in YazdDSC_0563

Alexander Prison @ Yazd>>


Lariha House (traditionally built house of the Qajar era) @ Yazd>>

DSC_0600DSC_0602DSC_0603DSC_0606DSC_0615DSC_0614DSC_0616Courtyard surrounded by buildings on all four sidesP1040003

Zoroastrian Fire Temple @ Yazd (The fire in this temple has been kept burning for centuries) >>




>> Fresh Pistachios from the tree !!






We reached Naein around 2.40pm on 19 August 2012 and there was no one in sight. We saw little “caves” with doors half hidden from view and wondered if people here still lived in underground caves. Soon, a man came over the hill and started waving at us to follow him. He entered through one of the doors. As we were curious to see what was in the little “caves”, we followed. Soon we discovered that these “caves” are where the rug weaver still carry on their trade using traditional means. Here are some pics >>

DSC_0205DSC_0207DSC_0208This little "machine" is used to spin the thread ready for weaving.

After our little tour at the rug weaver’s, we ventured further into Naein village. Clockwise, one of the alley in Naein, some old ruins, mosque and the fort from Sassanid era, known as Narin Ghal'eh >>