Jawad brought us to a small village near the Varzaneh desert. He knew everyone in the village so he arranged a house whose owners had went to Esfahan for couple of days. They would get back the next day in the evening so till that time we had it for ourselves. He had also arranged lunch and dinner at the in-laws of the family. We got introduced to each other and we experienced their warm hospitality of offering us tea and sweets before we could sit down for dinner. They were very interested in our backgrounds and how life was in Holland. After dinner they asked us whether we were interested to accompany them to an Imam Hosseini session at a mosque. I went with the ladies and Farhang and Jawad with the men since men/women sections are devided in the mosque. I must say it was an interesting and both funny experience. Me and Farhang got stared at the whole evening and literally everyone was keened to know where we were from. All girls were sitting around me, asking questions and looking at pictures on my mobile (I actually lost my phone for a while haha). We all went back home after the session where we sat for some chatting with the family while sipping on our ‘chai’ and eat fruits afterwards (typical Afghan/Persian hospitality). After that we went back to our ‘own’ home with Jawad to chat further till late hours in the night before we decided to go to sleep in Persian style: on the ground. Painful, but definitely an experience we won’t forget.
The next days we had Persian-styled breakfast; home-prepared cheese and honey, accompanied by leeks, Persian bread and some tea with fresh herbs. After breakfast we walked around to visit places like Khan-e Yusofi, the pigeon house, Jawad’s uncle in his shop to buy special tea, mosques and witnessed demonstrations of how people watered their farms in the past by singing to their bulls and milled their flour by singing to their camels. We liked the latter ones the least since it was specially made for tourism and by this time you guys would probably know how much we hate that 😉 Furthermore we visited an elderly woman making table cloths. She wouldn’t accept money for a demonstration of how she makes them, so we decided to buy one from her. The family whose house we were staying at was back from Esfahan in the meanwhile and we got to know that they ran a family business of making/selling Persian carpets. Since it had been going on from generation to generation, all the girls in their family learned making them from a young age. This particular family had even a special room with the high stand and a half-finished carpet against the wall. So the woman agreed to give a small demonstration of how she’d sit on the small platform to work couple of hours per day to be able to finish the carpet in a certain period of time. It was really amazing to see how fast she’d work, her hands did everything automatically without checking the design for too long. As if she had memorised everything by doing it so often. When looking at the carpet, everything was perfectly symmetrical and you wouldn’t even find small mistakes. Dependent of the design, it would take about 1-2 years to finish a carpet. No wonder those things are so expensive!
We also went to the Desert of Varzaneh before our departure to Yazd. It was so beautiful out there. When you looked around, you saw the endlessness of the desert and you felt so small. After realising how cool this place actually was and that you could do ANYTHING without anyone noticing, we started to act crazy; running around, screaming like crazy retards and playing & rolling in the sand (except for Farhang since he got dizzy the whole time, entertaining Jawad and me for his failing attempts of trying it anyway haha). We searched and found traces of rats & foxes while hearing stories of Jawad how he’d spent couple of nights in the desert with some friends experiencing scary stuff. How adventurous is that? After the desert we went back home for dinner and some chilling with Jawad. Once putting on music, Jawad showed us his awesome dancing skills. As we quote his description: “It’s a personal mix of different types of dancing from Persian, to hiphop to even Michael Jackson”. It certainly was different from the Persian dances we were used to, only a heck more fun and we ended the day having a great time learning the “Jawad-dance”.
Our adventure in Varzaneh was over and we had to take our goodbyes from the families who took great care of us and especially of Jawad who had became such a good friend in a short period of time. He and one of the family members drove us to the highway to catch the bus towards Yazd which was only a couple of hours away.
Recommendation? De-fi-nite-ly yes! In Varzaneh we had one of our best experiences in Iran and it should be clear why! The villagers are the nicest, warmest and most hospitable people we had ever met during our travels! Go and witness what actual hospitality is 🙂