|at the Ayatollah Khomeini Mausoleum Tehran|
Smog is bad across the mountains this morning – by 9am they are practically obscured. We see on BBC World News that on the recent Day of Cyrus there was a huge disturbance at
his tomb - a nationalistic demonstration which we visited only the other day –
all tour groups had to be kept away as 1000s converged and local guards
couldn’t cope – but seemingly all went off without any obvious extreme
violence. How lucky we were able to visit when we did.
The smog today has affected my chest badly and I cannot actually now wait to get out of the city. Before we left the hotel I went up to the 13th floor for the advertised view from the Chinese restaurant there but cannot get out of the lift lobby as the doors into the restaurant with the views is locked.
|inside the Ayatollah Khomeini Mausoleum Tehran|
Suitcases checked and loaded on the bus - we are soon on our way to the airport via the Ayatollah Khomeini Memorial. We pass by the American Embassy building – scene of the American hostage crisis when the Embassy staff were held hostage for 444 days from October 1979. It is now an exhibition hall and the Swiss embassy is responsible for the American Embassy at the moment. The British Embassy only opened quite recently – hence enabling our own visit.
Driving through the streets it is noticeable that the many small shops on which the Iranians seem to very much depend are grouped by product – thus there are concentrations of shops selling shoes, brass ware, musical instruments, bread, meat, hardware, building materials, wheelbarrows and so on…
|Ayatollah Khomeini Mausoleum|
|the blood fountain at Behesht-e Zahra (cemetery)|
Back on the bus we make our presentations to the driver and Ali – who have looked after us so very well throughout our trip.
So to the airport – a train line is being built alongside the road to the airport from the city – this should go some way to relieve the traffic pressure on this extremely busy route.
Before taking a break for a while from posting here - until the next pilgrimage perhaps - I would like to thank Rachel and McCabe Pilgrimages for such a well organised trip, the Revd. Canon Adrian Slade who made such a good job of leading and spiritually guiding us, our excellent local guide Ali with his encyclopaedic knowledge of just about anything we wanted to know, and our driver who transported us safely and cheerfully throughout the journey, always there to meet us and look after us and give us another picnic! And thank you to all my fellow pilgrims for being such good company.
So where shall I be going next? Any ideas welcome and I would love your comments on any of my blogs to date.
I wish all my readers a very happy New Year. May there be more peace for everyone in 2017.