We went to explore Tehran after I had got roughly 2-3 hours to rest having been awake for over 24 hours. No sleep for me on the two flights I took – especially not after my heart nearly exploded running from one end of Istanbul airport to the other to desperately attempt to catch my connecting flight to Tehran. Note to self, do not book connecting flights with only 70 minutes between them. Especially when the first one ends up being delayed by 60 minutes. This is not fun.
At least once I arrived in Tehran around 7am on Friday 13th (and got through the painstakingly slow immigration line) my guide found me easily – I think I was probably easy to spot – and he happily chatted away with me taking away any potential awkward tired silences on my end.
‘Guide’ you are probably thinking.
Yes, unfortunately, but not really unexpectedly, those of British, US or Canadian nationality are not free to roam around Iran as they please. You have to be booked on to a tour with a company. Luckily for me, I work for an adventure travel company, so my trip was to do with work and the promotion of tourism to Iran. Everyone visit Iran! Ok, job done.
So after getting an initial insight into the Mad Max style of road use in Iran, I scoffed some free breakfast at the hotel (I had stupidly turned down the second complementary meal of my two flight journey to Iran after aforementioned heart-attack inducing exercise in Istanbul airport), napped for a couple hours then met my guide again and the 3 delightful Americans I would be sharing the next 11 days with.
Spoiler: by the end of the 11 days me and the Americans….friends for life. A pro point of the enforced tour guide/tour group rule for Iran.
Over the couple of days we had in Tehran, we explored the Grand Bazaar, the Imam Zadeh Saleh shrine, Golestan Palace complex and Daraband which was a particular favourite of mine. You can see a few of my quick sketches below.