The cold hit us the moment we got out of our apartment building into the taxi waiting to take us to the bus station. We didn’t mind much. The excitement of seeing Isfahan for the first time was sufficient to warm our spirits.
I’m sure the plane would have been faster and maybe more efficient but if you know me, you know how much I and my family love road trips. The initial idea was to make a road trip with our new car. But things have their pace in Iran as I explained previously and it took longer for our car to be delivered. So we had to find an alternative. With no car in sight, the bus was really our best option.
Usually you book a VIP bus, sit comfortably, are offered a few free refreshments and enjoy the ride which takes about six to six and a half hours. There are no precise timetables except for the departure time. Midway there will be a pit stop where you can go to the toilet and buy food and drinks. It can take from 5 to 20 minutes depending on the driver. The traffic is also an important factor and almost impossible to predict.
When we left at 9.00 a.m. the traffic looked chaotic as most mornings in Tehran but then somehow, the bus managed to pull through and soon we were on our way. Knowing how crazy driving is in Iran, being in a tall bus somehow relaxed me and made me concentrate more on the landscape.
It started off as a misty, gloomy morning which made the hilly desert landscape look a bit ghostly.
Colors would pop out here and there but the sun was still struggling to break through. I was expecting a monotonous desert landscape but I was pleasantly surprised to find it changing the closer we got to Isfahan.
Here and there fields with crops and water beds and interesting shaped hills caught my attention and distracted me from my “Persian Pictures”, the book by Gertrude Bell that accompanied me on this journey.
As the the afternoon set in and we could see Isfahan on the horizon, I was already thinking about how we would explore it. We got out of the bus and shouts of taxi! taxi! greeted us. There were friendly arguments between taxi drivers on who had the right to take us, who was official and who wasn’t . There are always private and official taxi parkings. The official taxi stand is the safer bet but the price should always be negotiated in advance as in general there are no taximeters in Iran. Sitting in the taxi, looking at Isfahan for the first time, I wondered what we would discover first. Those famous beautiful bridges came to mind …
For now, I leave you with the view from out hotel room. The best is yet to come …