|we walk through Shiraz to the Citadel|
|the Citadel Shiraz|
The huge tiled panel over the entrance shows the famous Persian warrior Rostam fighting the white devil Deev, from the long epic poem Shahnameh written by the Persian eleventh century poet Ferdowski.
|our first picnic and gorgeous Iranian cakes|
Picnicking is an Iranian institution and they have perfected it to an art form. Everywhere we travel we see families picnicking - by the side of the road, in gardens, at special picnic sites, at viewpoints, even in car parks. The blankets are spread out, shoes left at the edges, and family groups kneel and sit cross legged enjoying this most sociable of gatherings.
|all we get to see of the church of|
Simon the Zealot
After coming out of the citadel we are to experience the first of many picnics back at the coach. We soon discover that the tour buses, guides and drivers are all geared up for this always welcome refreshment. They invariably produced delicious local cakes and biscuits to supplement the coffee and tea served from large thermos flasks replenished daily at the hotels.
Suitably refreshed, we can only walk past and glimpse the
the Zealot. Simon was martyred in church of Simon Iran,
and the church is apparently open for all on Sundays, but not at other times it
seems. There is also a Zoroastrian fire temple and an Armenian Christian Church
in Shiraz, but
again access is not straightforward.
|steps lead up to the Tomb of Hafeiah|
Our final visit of the day is to the Tomb of Hafeziah, the much loved fourteenth century Shirazi love poet. The tomb is beneath an octagonal kiosk surrounded by pleasant gardens, and is much visited by Iranian families and tourists alike. The Iranians love poetry and revere their own poets, often able to quote large passages from the best known works.
As we leave we are approached by a man with a canary - for a small sum, the canary will randomly pick a card from a collection - the chosen couplet from Hafez's anthology The Divan, is a charming alternative to our horoscope.
|fortune telling budgie|
Supper tonight is at Shatar Abbas One - they were making bread and pastries as we went in. As a result the bread was lovely and fresh. The veggie option was a plate of sliced fried peppers which was quite unimaginative - the others had the usual meat kebabs. Tea was a very long time coming after the meal.
Some of us walk back through the extensive
to our hotel. Even late at night it is relaxed and friendly with quite young
families strolling, and young men playing board games at tables. It has been a
very pleasant first day and introduction to this incredible country. And each
day seems to be better than the last. Azadi Park
Tomorrow we will visit Persepolis.