03 October, Friday
Tabriz – Kandovan – Tabriz (142 km)
We were lazy this morning and slept till 08.30. There was no riding today, just wandering in Tabriz. Shahryar Hotel's breakfast was delicious. Especially honey & cream.
We jumped into a taxi and told him to take us to the centre. We learned that there are a lot of centres in Tabriz and after a while he just dropped us somewhere. When we asked a teenager where to go, he invited us to their car. Bryan Adams was playing on the tape. I don't understand Farsi but i guess his father told him "What the fuck is this, change this crap" and suddenly an islamic tune started.
First thing we want to see was Arg-e Tabriz
. A citadel from 14th century which was used to hang criminals. Of course it was in restoration. Like this is not enough, we learned that some other attractions on our list were in restoration too. Also because it's friday, everwhere was closed. Friday is sunday to them. We figured out that there's no point hanging out in Tabriz and decided to go to Kandovan.
We got back to the hotel and prepared. It was already 12:00 and we don't want to be late. Finding the Kandovan road was difficult, so complicated but the road was very good.
Kandovan is a mountain village at 2200 metres. It's highlight is the troglodyte homes, a reminiscent of Cappadocia (Turkey) but a very small replica of course.
We started to climb like goats.
The place had become a touristy attraction. It was a little crowded because it was friday. Azeri Turks live in these ice cream cone-shaped houses regardless of the curious mass.
After conquering the narrow and steep streets i was exhausted and want to continue in plain grounds across the -once- river.
Locals set up a small bazaar selling chestnuts, almonds, dryed apricots and grapes.
We were hungry but couldn't find good food in Kandovan. After chatting with a lot of people (because again we were the centre of attention) and taking a last photo of Kandovan, we were on our way back to Tabriz.
Wandering around Tabriz, i saw a burger shop and we stopped for lunch. We chatted with the two kids inside. They were constantly peeking on our bikes. I said "Come on jump on". You should see the joy and excitement on their eyes.
We hung out in the lobby a while. I kept my journals.
It seems like our hotel is a little modern. There was a thing in the ballroom and men were wearing ties in their suits. Wearing a tie is forbidden in Iran. The ladies were very elegant too.
Following the tips on Lonely Planet guide we went to Karim Khan square. The taxi driver was complaining about the gas quotas.
The square was insanely crowded.
It was packed with cars and people. Seems like this is the place where girls and boys checks out each other. Girls are 18 - 20 years old max. with tight jeans, converse snickers, head scarfs that will fall if you blow a little and the nose jobs. All the girls are crazy about nose job. We ate at Fanoos Pizza with Coca Cola.
This is a thing that you will recognize at the end of your first taxi trip when the driver says "kabili yohtur" means "no, i can't accept money". The funny thing is the driver still expects to get paid. This is Ta'arof
, a system of politeness among eveybody which can be confusing for foreigners at first. The solution is to insist on paying three times. By this time if he's still rejecting money, you can accept it. This is not all about money. A dinner invitation or a stay at a strangers house. They always want to give. But first you should reject in order to give them the chance to back out. If they're insisting, accept.
On our way back to the hotel i decided to test the system.
The taxi ride costs 3000 toman approx. When we got to the hotel i asked the price and the driver said "Whatever you give ?" I gave 2500 toman and he replied "ooh this is not enough, give 500 toman more"
So, he understood that i'm a foreigner and we laughed it away.
This is the room.
While searching for water in the minibar we found these but our joy and shock lasted till we read the writings.