It is sad to leave our friends, but we take the bus to go south. We are again the only strangers in the bus and inside and on the stops everyone wants to make selfies with us. A young guy named Muhammad wants me to sit next to him. A family of women (one girl introduces herself as Noushin) first looks at us with curiosity,
they start giggling, then offering nuts and finally they cannot stop making pictures with us. The bus stops in the middle of the way at a petrol station and everyone gets out for the toilets and some snacks. At first not many people notice that there are two foreigners, but as soon as the word spread we are again busy with selfies.
The bus moves on and we pass a fantastic landscape of colorful dry hills and blooming trees.
We want to be in the city of Kashan for the Persian new year festival. We have still some days left, though, so we thought about having a stop in a small city near Tehran called Qazvin. We had no place to stay, but Iran makes it so easy to find incredibly nice hosts that we do not doubt to be successful here again.
I write to a few people in Couchsurfing and get right away the answer of a nice young lady, that Uwe and me are welcome at her place. She is off with her sister for shopping in Tehran and would be back in the afternoon.
The bus does not stop in Qazvin so we get dropped at a petrol station near the highway next to the city. A taxi brings us in the center of this humming beehive. Literally everyone is outside on the streets for some last shopping. We still have time, our host Negar tells us that she and her sister are stuck in the Tehran traffic and need more time.
Uwe gets more stressed in the crowd, but we manage to see the bazar and a lot of impressive constructions, like the main square, mosque and gates. Very close, the fortress of Alamut is located in the mountains. It is a legendary place, where the Old Man of the Mountain took residence hundreds of years ago and raised his personal mercenaries, the famous Assassins.
Finally, we take rest in a park and wait for the girls to pick us up.
Never believe it when a Persian tells you that they have nothing to eat at home. “Sorry, we didn’t know you would come, so we have very little food at home…” – They always have full supplies and you will not get away without a belly close to bursting.
As soon as they arrive, they already greet us as if we are good friends. We play the Ta’arof game when it comes to buying kebap (we win!); they say, “we are so sorry, but we have to buy food for tonight, there is nothing at home”. Negar and Masoumeh take us not to their place, though (“it’s too small”), but to the place of their other sister and her family. I have no idea when they were informed about two foreign men which no one of them has ever met before but that are supposed to sleep in their little apartment this very night. When we enter, the girls change fast to more open and comfortable clothes, which the mullahs certainly would not like.
The family treats us like old friends who visit after a long time again. They tell us that they are actually six sisters, who live all over the world. Masoumeh lives even in Germany, her sister has been living for a few years in Germany and Negar is in the process of acquiring a student visa for Germany.
It does not take long until there is a table full of delicious rice, salad, kebab, bread and for dessert cake, baklava and cookies. Fortunately, I can also add my cherry cake to it. Not, that it is necessary, but the gesture is well appreciated.
We have a very comfortable stay in their home and Uwe enjoys playing Backgammon with Ali, the head of the family. Of course, we talk about the upcoming Nouruz festival, which is going to be in two days – that is what I thought. However, no, the actual celebration is on the eve, which is a calculated time depending on astronomical conditions. The actual New Year is going to be announced in the radio with a countdown. It happens that in some years this event has been taking place in the night or early morning. We are lucky that the next day’s New Year will start at 19:45. This is enough time to get to our next destination.
We are invited to a young family in the city of Kashan to spend New Year’s Eve with them. However, I assumed it was on the 21st March and not already 20th. I write to them that I am so sorry that I did not know the exact time and if it was ok to join them the next day to this great event. “Of course” – is the immediate answer. Nothing beats Persian hospitality!
We only have to make it from Qazvin to Kashan the next day until evening. Challenge accepted!
The family offers their marriage bed to us and every denial is wasted – the couple moves to their kids and the girls to their apartment to join us the next morning for breakfast.