By: Ann-Christin Hütter

Many years ago a Persian colleague of my husband Christoph catches his interest in her home country Iran. As we both took some time off this year for traveling around, we decided in January 2018, it’s the chance to visit Iran for three weeks.

The reactions of Austrian people about our plans were quite interesting: Some of them couldn’t understand our curiosity about this “dangerous“ country, others were even more excited than us and would love to come with us. So finally we booked a flight for three from Vienna to Tehran, because Franziska, a cousin of Christoph, joined us for two weeks – a great decision!

So we arrived in Tehran on the 3rd of April 2018 – and concerning me: Actually without any concrete expectations, but a kind of indefinite feeling like: “How will everything be?“ and for sure with a lot of curiosity.

As all three of us prefer traveling around without too many plans, we just booked a hostel in Tehran for the first nights in advance, had a rough idea about our travel route in our minds and knew, when we had to be in Isfahan for our flights back. AND we had Christoph’s friend in Germany who activated all her contacts in nearly every place in Iran we visited for supporting us and feeling comfortable – hospitality like we never felt it before.

Our travel route (by bus or sometimes taxi):

Tehran – Masuleh – Bandar Anzali – Hamadan – Isfahan – Varzaneh – Yazd – (Isfahan airport for Franziska) – Shiraz – Yasuj – Isfahan – Isfahan airport (Christoph and Ann-Christin).

Some impressions I’d like to share with you: 

Arriving at the airport and not knowing how to handle the hijab in an easy way ;-).

Discovering cities with many faces  – surprised by so many trees and the enormous amount of traffic (and how many cars can fit in one lane).

Meeting people on the streets, in shops who are curious in a very kind way, talking to us, exchanging information with us about our countries and just giving us a good feeling to be in Iran. People showing us the way to restaurants (walking through half of the city), ordering  food for us (because we were not able to read Farsi),  inviting us to their homes, doing sightseeing-tours for us (whole days), driving us around in their cars, not allowing us to pay for our sweets we’ve ordered … that’s how we came in touch with the extraordinary friendliness of Iranian people.

Enjoying hiking through different landscapes and being completely fascinated by the desert.

Getting an impression of the cultural heritage and some religious places of Iran.

And always finding nice places for having some tea or coffee.

 Our resume after 3 weeks how to handle the hijab:

Just be cool and look at the Iranian women. The feeling, that you lose it all the time, will get less.

And if you lose it, put it on again, nothing will happen.

Using kinds of pins to fix it, gives you a safe feeling in the beginning – but then it’s worth to think about the aesthetic appeal.

After some days it was normal to wear the hijab and it was not disturbed too much – exempt by heat! Then I really couldn’t stand it!

What I read in the beginning of our journey in the north of Tehran, became true for me:

So I hope, I will get the possibility to come back.