By Ridgely Fuller
Another beautiful heart warming, mind blowing day in Iran...waking up in Shiraz with plans to visit the Pink Mosque, the Botanical Gardens, and enjoying another lovely meal before flying back to Tehran...but so many wonderful and interesting surprises pop up during the day which inadvertently began with an elevator stop at the Foot and Mouth disease conference being held in our hotel. We learned it was sponsored by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Org (FAO) with over 47 participants from 15 countries along with several dozen Iranians attending. It is clear Iran is not being isolated by the world rather the U.S. is simply isolating itself with its policy of walking away for the nuclear agreement and imposing additional sanctions on the country.
A lovely woman from Bahrain joined us at breakfast explaining that she was in Iran with her daughter who needed a medical procedure. Shiraz, we learned is a world famous center for certain medical procedures including hair transplants and during the day we spotted several recent customers.
After breakfast we boarded the bus but were called back by the hotel manager who proceeded to bestow gifts on the delegation! We had already received gifts from out guides when our delegation was splitting up; some to leave for home and others to journey on for several days in the south leaving Tehran. These wonderful gestures of gifting those who have benefited from a service came as a touching surprise to me but typical of the Iranian culture; a guide explained to me that when Iranians are looking to share good news with you, they bring gifts. WOW!
The visit to the Pink Mosque in Shiraz was breathtaking and quite unlike those we have seen in Tehran and Isfahan. The photos simply speak for themselves. This visit was followed by a stroll at the Botanical Gardens where over 400 year old Cyprus trees line the paths abutting the gardens filled with pomegranate trees, assorted shrubbery and pansy beds in bloom on this early warm spring day. As we walked along, Barbara presented a picnicking family with a warm letter from friends extending friendship from San Francisco.
After yet another wonderful lunch during which we surprised one of our guides with a birthday cake we were off to the airport for the beginning of the journey back to the US. Shiraz is a lovely spot filled with the beauty, history and warmth of Iran and its people. Don’t think about passing it up on your visit here!