After a good night’s sleep, I had coffee with my new friend Fati (Shadi’s sister for those who know her). She gave me some advice and lent me a mobile to help me find my way. Iranian friendliness continued in the metro when two girls were mesmerised by my beautiful blue eyes and started chatting to me. One was a student and the other on her way to a poetry class – not pottery as I had originally understood. It is to be said that poets hold a special place in Iranian culture and historically have never been persecuted despite writing poetry which at first glance could seem risque.
Following this I found another bazaar and a very nice mosque attached to it but I couldn’t retrace my steps and, after going round in circles whilst asking directions to the Sa’d Abad museum complex and being given different answers, I concluded that every Iranian has their own way to get there. I eventually bumped into a couple who took me up to the gate but they didn’t want to leave me on my own (perhaps because I looked so clueless). Communication is limited as I don’t speak Farsi and they don’t speak English but they kept inviting me to stay over at their house but I had to decline due to different plans.
The complex comprised of 18 museums and was home to the holiday palaces of the royals since the Qajar dynasty. It covers over 110 hectares so I, once again, had a lot of walking to do on very hilly paths.
I went to the White Palace, the Green Palace. the Fine Art Museum and the Royal Costume museum, where I kept bumping into my new Iranian friends. I saw a lot of artefacts and clothes of the last Shah.
I then headed to the Niyavaran Complex, where the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi spent most of the last 10 years of his royal rule. The main palace is a time warp of the 60s and 70s, and the decorations are very different to what I had previously seen in other palaces!
It was time for me to pick up my luggage and catch my overnight train to Kerman. Arriving at the station, I was challenged as the board indicating the train departures was in Farsi, but eventually I made it on the right train and on time.
I ended up sharing my carriage with a young Iranian girl who, once again, displayed Iranian hospitality and friendlines throughout the journey. We even swapped key rings as souvenirs and now follow each other on instagram!!