It was five am. The incredible birdsong woke me from some pleasant dream. I kept my eyes closed. The birds were singing in Persian! Slowly a smile crept over my face. I am in IRAN! I am HERE! I felt totally relaxed and rested! It took me from Friday night till Monday morning to get my body back to normal. I showered early, I love this quiet time in the hostel, before people start to wake up. I plan my day slowly afterwards.

There was a city walk, all the way down to the palace and the Grand Bazaar. After breakfast I set out on another adventure. The sun was shining, the birds kept singing in my heart. The smile stayed on my lips. As soon as I opened my Lonely Planet for guidance, people would stop, asking if I needed any help. Five people standing around me, how to get to Golestan Palace. Opinions were divided. Finally, an elderly man took control. Straight across the enormous roundabout, then right, then left. It sounded rather simple! This roundabout is HUGE! Traffic coming and going, what to do? This workman, holding his toolkit in one hand, was strolling across, I  skittered over to him, made sure I had him between me and the oncoming traffic, and got across. He was talking to me in Parsi. I have no idea about what. I just told him that the traffic was absolutely crazy, he smiled, obviously no idea what I was saying either. I have mentioned the traffic, haven’t I?

The palace was enormous! Entry fees were 500,000 rials. Before I got a heart attack I asked how much it was in U$ . Ten dollars? PHewww. Sounds so much better. It was beyond words to describe. I was speechless. My inner child loves anything that sparkles, glitters or mirrors. So I was in my prime playing time. Plastic booties over my sandals meant I could skate on the marble floors. School groups were plentiful, all wanting selfies with the blue-eyed foreigner and practice their English! My Instagram followers are increasing daily! I could have spent many more hours, but it was time to go shopping.

The Grand Bazaar was just around the corner, and oh boy, it was chocker block packed! Unbelievable! So many shoppers, never seen before. Hard to get in. I had planned to buy a manteau( overcoat)  but size 44 is the largest there was. This wouldn’t fit over my winter top! Fortunately, a lovely French back packer had given me her coat the day before. Too small as well, but as it is getting warmer daily, it will do for the time being. I took a taxi back to the hotel. Expensive! A whole A$5

At two pm. My dear old friend from twenty -five years ago was coming to pick me up. We were going into the mountains. Ah, this feeling, this incredible feeling, when you meet up with like-minded people after such a long time,  and you realise, that nothing has changed! It was as if we met yesterday. We gossiped about old friends, people who have since passed away. Reminisced about our adventures and stupid things we did, so many, many years ago in a country far, far away. We went to this magic place, high up near the mountains. Shame the rain started, and last weeks snow and rain damaged had not yet been cleared. I had an excellent fish kebab, and of course tea.

Tea is one of the main things in Iran. I had hoped to lose weight by not drinking alcohol, fat change, the tea comes with a stick of yellow sugar, I have forgotten the name, and it is just sooo delicious that I can’t resist! So far I have resisted the Iranian sweets. I remember from the good times had with my Iranian friends in Mysore, India, that they can be irresistible!