The Bus ride to Esfahan

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ November 14th, 2007. Updated on April 18th, 2009. Published in: Travel blog » Iran.

Travel Journal Overview: I was traveling on a bus from Rasht to Esfahan (or is it Isfahan) recovering from by bumming out session at the bus terminal. Me travel and Iran were not working out. I was hoping my luck would change.

Intricate Mosque Roof in Iran (click to enlarge)

Intricate Mosque Roof in Iran (click to enlarge)

It was the early hours of the morning when a tall young student entered the bus took the briefly vacated seat to my left next to the window. I dozed off again i discomfort, but at the next stop was sleepily nodded to by my neighbor. He waved discreetly with his hand, before motioning for a seat swap.

This could have been for two reasons: 1) I had fallen asleep and was slouching on top of him. 2) he was a nice guy and saw how miserable I was. I decided it was actually the hidden option of number 3) IT was easier for him to sit in my seat, as every time the sadistic florescent bus lights came on at each bus stop, he wanted to get off to stretch his legs. It was a 16 hour bus ride from Rasht to Esfahan and I wanted to sleep badly. The thought of being woken up by a gangling Iranian student squeezing by me at every stop was enough.

I swapped seats, and soon passed out in my new reclining seat. At that moment I wondered if the student who had surrendered his seat to me could ever possible know how much his gesture had meant to me. Yes the new seat hurt my neck, yes the bus was bloody hot, but it also allowed me 2 hours of dozing bliss, well nearly anyway.

I was again brought back to consciousness by the torturous florescent lights. I looked out the window, was this Tehran? I thought it might be according to my memory of the map route to Esfahan. The nice guy next to me nodded a good morning. Looking at the red neon Farsi digital clock I waited for the undecipherable numbers to shift into Latin Script, it was 4.20am, hmm another 6 hours. Nope…

Nice guy spoke in broken English “Which Stop you leave?”

It took an instant before it clicked, I doubled checked. “Is this Esfahan?”

He nodded.

Bollocks, bloody timetable was up its ass.

I consulted my map and the nice guy. He pointed to the station we were arriving into, and gave me a couple of tips at what to do in Esfahan at 4.30am!

I thanked the stranger who had meant more to me than any other person in Iran so far, and headed out into the darkness of pre-dawn Esfahan. It is here in the shadows of the bus terminal that I realized what I enjoy about traveling alone. Here I was in a new city, alone, in the dark, not knowing what was about to happen. My adrenaline surged. A feeling that will give you a sheer heightened sense of everything.

The bus terminal was seriously overcrowded, people clambering for pre-dawn warmth. I decided it was best to head straight for a hotel. Finding the Taxi rank inside the terminal was not hard, the main road outside was devoid of life so I surrendered to the fact that I would have to pay 20,000 Rial for a 5 minute journey to the Amir Kabir Hotel.

The tired old man behind reception said all the single rooms were full, so again I paid over the odds at 100,000 (7 Euro) for a 4 bed room. It was 6am before I finally got to bed, ear plugs in. This would be the make it or break it city in Iran …

Some related links from this website that  you might like:

Stories: Feeling Low on the Road, in Iran

How to travel overland guides – Turkey to Iran overland

My Iran country guide

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