I am going to Iran on Monday. At the moment I am still in London sorting out last minute practicalities and also doing some reading. I have borrowed a copy of the iconic The Road to Oxiana by Richard Byron, written in the 1930s and I thought I should read through it, for sentimental reasons. My father travelled to Iran around the same time as Byron... Tomorrow afternoon I shall pay a visit to the British Museum to have a look at their Persian art collection. It will give me a headstart.
I have never been to Iran before and this being a rather misunderstood country, it warrants a travelogue. The sanctions imposed on Iran by the US have made things very difficult for Iranians. The UK does not have a cordial relationship with Iran and a few people I spoke with seemed rather mystified by my choice of holiday destination.
Everyone who has visited Iran tells me to keep an open mind, political games are one thing, people in Iran are friendly and easy going and keen to welcome visitors.
I have done some preparation: for the time being my social media accounts are set to private and my blog is also not public - I shall revert to it being public only when I return. I also have a VPN. These are just precautionary measures.
I have read the blog by Nomadasaurus and have joined the Facebook group See You in Iran. I have started learning the Farsi script and have a phrasebook. I have packed enough scarves to cover my head with and learnt a few stylish ways to tie a hijab. I have read the wonderful book by Alexandru Balasescu Paris Chic, Tehran Thrills about fashion in Iran and am looking forward to being there and taking photos.
I realise I am skirting the question. Why go to Iran?
At least once in your lifetime, you should go to a country that boasts 19 UNESCO world heritage sites. I think this is itself enough of a reason.
It's tricky for British and American citizens, the visa on arrival is unavailable to them but nationals of EU countries (and more) can easily get in.
I will soon have my very own photos to display and my own tales of travelling through this ancient and mysterious land, but for now, I would like to post the video 'Don't go to Iran' by Tolt
See for yourself.