Following tour guide Ann round the main square of Yazd
Our last main stop in Iran was Yazd, which is apparently the oldest living city in the world. I have heard the same thing about Damascus, so I don’t know how accurate that is, but it looks pretty damn old in places, so that’s good enough for me. As well as the Muslim mosques the city is home to a community of Zoroastrians who worship their god through light, and therefore have to keep a fire continuously burning in their temples – according to the sign, this fire has been burning since 47AD!
On the second afternoon I went for a wander on my own to get lost among the alleyways of the old city and thoroughly succeeded (it was pretty dark by the time I eventually found my way back).
The old city is famous for its badgirs – an early form of air conditioning made of wind catching towers on top of all the buildings.
As well as Zoroastrians and badgirs, Yazd is known to Iranians for its cakes so since it was Gill’s birthday and we weren’t allowed any alcohol (although they have plenty of non alcoholic beer), we decided to have a tea and cake party. Most importantly, someone found the best birthday hat ever, which I hope will be making a reappearance for eveyone else’s birthday as well.
On a side note, I learnt today that giving a thumbs up in Iran is the equivalent of a middle finger. I am mortified thinking how many times I’ve done that without realising :(
P.S. Almost let this post go without mentioning Zahra, the daughter of the hotel owners! She was helping out when we got checked in as she spoke English and her parents didn’t, and then she hung about to ‘practice her English’, which was near perfect anyway. We all assumed she was in her early 20s, but then she told us she was only 14 and just helping out while she wasn’t at school! I got locked out of my room once because my roommates had gone out and the spare key wouldn’t work and she stayed up chatting with me way beyond the time she was planning to leave, and she even gave Gill a new headscarf as a birthday present. Totally the poster child for Iranians being lovely. She says when she finishes school she wants to save up some money and visit England, I really hope she manages it.
P.P.S. We have also had an exciting breakthrough on the trip – Little Will is now eating chicken. Madventure is apparently a cure for vegetarianism