Day 62 (2): Beautiful bridges
Esfahan Travel Blog› entry 88 of 260 › view all entries
June 6th, 2010 – by: Biedjee
We arrived in Esfahan in the early evening. It had taken us much longer than if we had travelled by bus, but it had also been a lot more fun. We checked in to our hostel and went into town. Michael had been in touch with a girl he had met in Tehran, who was visiting her parents in Esfahan this weekend. We met Maryam and her friend Milad in the town centre and went for a walk towards the famous historic bridges of Esfahan.
On the way we passed the Jewish quarter of Esfahan. There is still a sizeable community of Jews living in Esfahan, despite all the hardships of living in an Islamic republic (Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians are allowed to practice their own religion, as long as they don't interfere with anything Islamic).
When we passed a synagogue we found the gate open, so we peeked inside for a moment. A man came towards us and upon seeing me he started talking in Hebrew and embraced me. I think he thought I was Jewish. I decided it was best not to tell him the truth. It was a touching moment, in a very strange way.
We reached the Zayandeh river, which is crossed by 11 bridges, 5 of which are remnants from the 16th century, the golden age when Esfahan was the capital of Persia.
We crossed the most famous of these bridges, the Khaju bridge, which contains a stone throne built for Shah Abbas II on which he could sit to admire the views. These days Iranians love to sit on this spot and reminisce of those golden days gone by.
Across the river we walked through the park to the next bridge, the Chubi bridge, which we crossed back again towards the city centre in search for a place to eat. Unfortunately the restaurant Maryam had recommended was closed, so we continued our walk to the Si-o-Seh bridge. This is the longest of the historic bridges, with 33 arches spanning the river.
After a very pleasant two hour walk Maryam and Milad dropped us off at a restaurant. They were unable to join us for dinner, so Michael and I went in alone, to much amusement of the staff, who were obviously not used to tourists.
Walking had made us thirsty, so before we could even look at the menu we wanted to have an ice cold Iranian beer (I have developed quite a liking to the lemon flavoured Istak beer). Remember I told you how in Iran it is very unusual to have a drink before your dinner? (or have more than one drink during your meal, for that matter?) Well, it was impossible to explain to the waiter we wanted a drink now, and then look at the menu. Once he thought he understood he went to get the drinks, taking the menus with him.
The food was excellent, trying several local specialities we hadn't had before. Although it turned out we ordered a desert as a main course, but that didn't put a damper on our spirits at all. Today had been a long, varied and very good day.
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