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Sanandaj to Kermanshah

sunny

The hotel in Sanandaj was so comfortable and friendly it was a temptation to stay another night but my visa necessitated moving on relentlessly, even with an extension I would struggle to do Iran justice. I had a quick nip round Sanandaj in the morning though and stumbled upon the Asef Mansion, a grand restored house with courtyards and a bath complex now serving as a museum of Kurdish culture. In spite of the guidebook professing that there was nothing to do in town I also found a really nice blue tiled mosque with another even larger one beside it with superb gold plated minarets. The lady at the museum was again inquisitive and also recommended the Archaeology Museum but I was out of time. Right opposite, I had also come across a building painted like a large Iranian flag with excellent war martyr murals, but the sentry stopped me taking pictures much to my dismay. Sanandaj also managed to rustle up some passable restaurants and in particular many small joints which offered sugar beet and sweet potato boiled up and caramelised. Hundreds of small units or pavement stalls proferred all kinds of nuts and dried fruits, it amazed me there was enough business to keep them all going.

Sanandaj had really just been a transit point for Kermanshah and so I hopped on another minibus at noon. The guidebook warned me not to go to Kermanshah in winter but though we climbed over a couple of high passes it materialised on a wide valley floor no colder than anywhere else. Though I found my dodgy bed quickly the city appeared uninspiring, not helped by the fact that it was Friday and most places were closed, and I succumbed to crap map syndrome in search of something more exciting. I did however rediscover felafel for the first time since Iraq and also an internet cafe which promptly closed. The felafel vendor quipped "President Blair- Terrorist!", but it was all very hearty. The powers that be had done their job on this lot though, that was clear. There was also a big army presence here too for the first time, but all just scruffy unarmed squaddies on leave it seemed, doubtless conscripts. In comparison with Turkey or Iraq you hardly ever saw a gun in this country. Kermanshah was also the first place where I sensed that Farsi had risen to the fore.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Iran

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