I arrived in Isfahan in the early morning:
Isfahan. It was a name that I had read about in adventure novels before…Isfahan.
The first thing I saw was the train station, though:
I got a hotel room in the northern part of town, where I slept for a few hours, then I went out and had lunch in a rather simple restaurant:
And then I crossed a bridge into an older part of town:
I went straight to the Vank Cathedral, an Armenian church that had been here for almost four hundred years:
The interior decorations were very shiny:
Mostly just scenes from the bible, though:
After having been a Christian tourist in Muslim places of worship for quite some time now, I found myself enjoying the feeling of being among tourists (some of whom were probably Muslim) in a Christian environment:
Good to mix it up a bit every once in a while.
There was a museum next to the church, and I stayed until it got dark:
It all looked very nice in the evening light:
Then I walked around in the Armenian quarter:
It was called Jolfa, and it reminded me of Spain or Italy. People were out taking walks, there were little cafés everywhere, and the whole place had a very laid back atmosphere to it. I loved it.
I reached a square that was apparently a meeting place for young people:
They would stand or sit around in small groups, mostly smoking cigarettes or chit chatting, and every once in a while one of them would go over to another group and talk to them. I figured they were probably trying to hook up.
There were shops and cafés all around the square, so I got myself a rather strange-looking soft drink:
And then I stood around and obvserved what was happening:
Many of the women here seemed to be covering their hair only as a gesture, a mere nod to the law of the land:
It all felt very different from the serious piety that I had observed in downtown Mashhad:
I ended up staying for a few hours on that square, watching what was going on. I even made some friends. There were Nasrin and Rana, who were university students:
And there were these dudes whose names I forget:
Then the police came and cleared out the square:
And I figured it was time for me to go back to my hotel.