6:00am: The alarm goes off. I never set alarms. But I know how long it’ll take to get through Tehran to the bus station, even at this early hour.
7:30am: The coach is late. So Leon and I sit in the wintry morning sun, watching old men shelling sunflower seeds with their teeth.
3:00pm: The coach drops us at the edge of Esfahan. I’m disoriented. Oh well – time to put those Farsi lessons into practice. We quickly establish which direction downtown is. Success!
4:00pm: We alight in Naqsh‑e Jahan square. The million-square-foot UNESCO-listed square is one of the most touristic spots in the entire country. There are at least three other foreigners here.
4:01pm: A teenager accosts us. He’s here to get some free English practice. He tells us it snowed last week and shows us photos on his phone. We ask about the mountainous region we’re aiming for. He looks shocked and says it’s the coldest place in all Iran, and that we will die.
5:00pm: Sun setting, we head for the hotel. Tomorrow we’re meeting two friends there. They’ll be arriving on bicycles, having pedalled 6,000 miles from England. I’m feeling nostalgic – I also once cycled from England to Iran.
6:00pm: I get a room at a rate spectacularly lower than that quoted by our friends. I make a mental note to explain ‘haggling’ to them.
7:00pm: Kit explosion.
8:00pm: Normally I’d go out for a beer. But this is Iran. So I take Leon out for ice-cream instead. I suggest saffron flavour with pistachio sprinkles. I tell him we’ll get drunk if we eat enough of it.
7:00am: We awaken with an ice-cream hangover.
7:30am: Breakfast is lavash (flat bread) with butter, white cheese, carrot jam and hard-boiled eggs. We’ve avoided the backpacker hostel, so all the other residents are Iranian.
9:00am: Today is a day of chores. First job: find a kayaking helmet for our upcoming adventure…
Continue reading over at TheProfessionalHobo.com.
There’ll be more from Nora on this blog very soon – she’s got a lot to teach the aspiring long-term traveller about making travel financially self-sustaining…