I’ve long been hoping to take a first immersethrough group to Iran. There isn’t time to get a group together for October 2017, so now I’m aiming for April 2018. I’m thrilled that now at last it’s looking likely.
Iran has a long fascinating history that goes back to Cyrus the Great, who founded the Persian empire, and to Darius the Great, who built his capital at Persepolis. And it has of course a wonderful and rich food culture. I want to visit markets and bazaars, tasting the foods on offer, and discovering the beauties and complexities of ancient Persia and modern Iran.
It’s taken a long time to figure out how we can make the tour work. My apologies for the delay. Hamid, the Iranian travel agent who is helping with all this, tells me that visas for holders of Canadian, British, and European passports should be obtainable without much trouble, and that visas for American citizens are more unpredictanle but still worth trying for.
We still haven’t settled on precise dates, but here’s how the itinerary – on a roughly north to south route – is shaping up. It will be ten or eleven days long:
Our plan is to fly into Tabriz, the predominantly Azeri city in northern Iran with an extraordinary bazaar (a great place for good food and also for buying carpets), and to travel by land from there, in stages, southward. Our first stops are in Massouleh and Rasht, in the Caspian region, where the food is distinctively different from the cuisine of the rest of Iran. From there, travelling by road, we’ll have two day stops in each of Tehran, graceful Isfahan, and the desert city of Yazd. Our journey will end with a visit to the amazing ruins of Persepolis and nearby Naqsh-e Rustam, and with two nights in the relaxed historic city of Shiraz.
There are easy direct flights to Tabriz, our start-point, from Istanbul, and direct flights out to Vienna and to Istanbul from Shiraz.
If this sounds like your type of trip, if you’re adventurous and anxious to explore the for-so-long- inaccessible landscapes, people, foodscapes, and historic treasures of Iran, please consider joining us next spring.
Because this is our first tour in Iran, I’ll be bringing only a small group, for greater flexibility. Next time perhaps we can increase the numbers a little. And because we aren’t sure of conditions or of how flexible things can be, we’ll be unable to accommodate special diets or even those with mobility issues or need for accessibility in our local transport or hotels (there may not be lifts or elevators and there will be a fair amount of walking, sometimes on rough ground). The other thing to note is that consumption of wine or other alcoholic drinks is illegal in Iran. Though many people who live in Iran do drink behind closed doors, we will not be taking that kind of risk on this tour.
We have already started keeping a list of people interested in going to Iran with me. If you are interested in the idea, please contact my partner in immersethrough, Deb Olson. Her phone number is 307 745-7191 and her email is email@example.com.