Day 60: Another day in Tehran

Tehran Travel Blog

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arriving at Darband
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Araz, Somayeh, Parisa (Iran)

...or maybe tomorrow. Today was the anniversary of the death of Khomeini, and the start of a bank holiday weekend in Iran. Travelling today wouldn't be the best idea perhaps, as the whole country would be on the road this weekend. I'd phoned ahead for a hotel in Kashan, my next destination, and it was fully booked for tonight. So after a quick consultation with Araz I decided to stay with him for one more night and leave early tomorrow morning instead.

I arranged to meet up with yet another Iranian couch surfer. Somayeh, a girl from south Tehran.
Darband
We met up at an over-full metro station where thousands of people were returning from the ceremony held at the Khomeini shrine. Michael, the Australian guy I'd met a couple of days ago, had been there as well. I was glad I visited the place a few days ago when it wasn't too busy.  

Somayeh is an avid mountain climber. With a complete lack of social activities in this country and virtually every kind of sports off limits for women, climbing the mountains around Tehran is a very popular pastime for young Tehranis. Almost every weekend she and her friends climb one of the mountains surrounding the city, including the 5671m Mt Damavand. I wish I had known this before. I would have loved to have climbed that mountain as a preparation for my visit to the Himalayas. I had looked around for tours, but these were simply too costly.
Somayeh and Parisa


Since there was no time for an overnight climb, Somayeh opted for the next best thing: Darband. This area in the foothills of the Alborz mountains is just within Tehran's city limits. It is a pleasant area, with the lower part of the trail lines with tea houses. Since today was a public holiday, the place was absolutely packed.

We met up with another CS girl, Parisa, and I had sent text messages to Araz and Michael to come join us as well.

Once we reached the start of the trail Somayeh changes from a cute, lovely girl into a cross between a strict scout leader and an army drill instructor. There was no time for gallivanting, there was work to do. All in good spirit of course, but not before long both Parisa and I were struggling to keep up with the pace as Somayeh literally flew up the rocks, despite wearing flip flops.
View over Tehran from Darband


We reached Darband village, which is little more than a collection of houses surrounded by tea houses, where we had a break for lunch. I was starving by this time. I'd received a text from Araz that he had arrived and he was making his way up via the a shortcut and about ten minutes later we met him at the crossroads of the trails.

I'd tried to stay in touch with Michael, but as it happened there was very little mobile phone reception here in the mountains, so half the time we didn't have any signal. He was stuck in traffic with a taxi, as the entire road from the metro stop to the start of the trails (about 5 kilometres) had turned into one big traffic jam. In the end we never managed to meet up, because his phone didn't have any signal in the valley, so he couldn't call us once he reached the start of the trail.
The whole gang


Araz, Parisa, Somayeh and I climbed a bit higher on the rocks so that we could see the sun set behind the smog and the lights of Tehran come on.

Back down we went for a small dinner in the nearby suburb of Shemiran. Araz wanted me to taste another Iranian specialty: Ash, which is some kind of local noodle soup-stew with eggplant. Very interesting, though I probably won't see myself ordering this again any time soon.

As it was getting late we left the restaurant in search of some taxis, and after saying goodbyes we each went our separate ways again.
Today had been a very nice - and unexpectedly - active day. I liked it. After several days of laziness at Araz' house I was glad to be out in the fresh air again. Well, semi fresh, as the air pollution of Tehran still reaches Darband. Anyway, I was glad I stayed the extra day in Tehran. Now I was really ready for some serious travelling again!

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arriving at Darband
arriving at Darband
Darband
Darband
Somayeh and Parisa
Somayeh and Parisa
View over Tehran from Darband
View over Tehran from Darband
The whole gang
The whole gang
Somayeh, Parisa and me, with Tehra…
Somayeh, Parisa and me, with Tehr…
Araz and me
Araz and me
Having some Ash
Having some Ash
Somayeh feeding me some Ash
Somayeh feeding me some Ash
Goofing around
Goofing around
Darband area
Darband area
Darband at night
Darband at night
Tehran
photo by: macajam