Tabriz, last stop in Iran and Van, back to Turkey
After visiting the South of Iran, we stopped in Tabriz. One day after our arrival we already wanted to leave. Weather was bad and cold, our old hotel located far from the city center…(more details in Magali’s review on Tripadvisor.com). The town does offer a very limited choice in terms of green areas and sights. We hopefully met Nasser from Touristic Information who helped us arranging several tours in the country side.
We stayed four nights in Tabriz after all (and changed hotel along the way). We then took a mini van for Van (!) We were fully entertained crossing the Iranian-Turkish border… We waited more than an hour in the middle of nowhere and got suddenly taken out of the line by an officer. We were taken to a separate office, officers did not speak a word of english and our farsi was very poor. After quite some time we figured out what was the problem. This was the first time officers saw red Swiss passports and our Visas originally made in Tehran airport were in latin character! After a few phone calls to their administration (probably in Tehran), they finally let us go.
We arrived in Van and we were more than happy to get back to the delicious Turkish food, nice hotels and to be able to use our credit cards again (no need to carry hundreds of dollars in our pockets anymore).
we did specifically enjoy:
- Meeting Tim and Rafael, two Irish-German guys who came along to the Babak Fort. We weren’t aware about the very steep and strenuous way to get to the Castle. Thanks guys, we had a lot of fun and wish you all the best for the future!
- The trip to Van. We travelled with two Iranian families on their way to Turkey (a lot of Iranians spend the weekend in Turkey for shopping). They were extremely nice and friendly!
- The restaurants in Van. We decided to skip lunch from Day 1 as the breakfast and dinner were more than enough!
- Daniel and the Barber. Daniel wanted to refresh his beard to avoid looking like a mujahidin. He finally got the 4* service including burning his hears hair and threading his cheeks (ouch!)
- Tabriz: Iran Hotel, don’t even think about it!
- Tabriz: Sahand Hotel, very nice 2* little hotel (unfortunately no web references, T: +9841 3555 2545 or +9841 3553 4626)
- Van: Royal Berk Hotel, we loved every minute spent there and the location can’t be beaten!
- Tabriz: Nobar Bath Resturan, real Iranian cooked food (other than kebap) set in an ancient Hammam.
- Van: Kervansaray Restaurant, the food is excellent and the staff very nice, we visited several times!
- Van: Tamara Grill, a grill located in the Tamara hotel, every table has its own grill-chimney. The waiter leads you to the bucher stand for you to choose from several meats and vegetables to grill.
- Van: Halil Ibrahim Sofrasi, very good kebaps (nothing in common with Iranian kebaps)
best kept secret tip
Go to the Touristic Information in Tabriz (unfortunately no reference found on Google or in the Bradt travel guide). It is located South of Tabriz Bazar. The team is excellent and always welcomes you with tea and biscuits, they speak english, german, french, italian (and even some dutch). They’ll give you some good tips about the area. Very helpful in a city where Tourism is starting to be developed.