DAY TWENTY SEVEN… The last day
Our last day in Iran. Maryam, our Tehran guide, met us at the station and escorted us back to our hotel. She was keen to take us to see the Tehran sights, so we visited the glitzy Golestan Palace, filled with over-the-top mirrored walls & ceilings, as a sort of homage to the showy European wealth of Versailles. There were presents from the imperialistic European predators on Iran’s oil wealth. Immense chandeliers from France, ornate silver samovars from Russia & all manner of clocks from Britain’s Queen Victoria. Obviously, the Qajar Shah had a big soft spot for all this kitsch stuff as he gave away chunks of land to Russia and the control of the oil rich Persian Gulf to the British.
Our main ambition was to visit Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, but sadly, yet not unsurprisingly, everything was closed and shuttered up because of Ashura, the apparently never-ending bank holiday.
The day ended with packing up our bikes for the flight home, with Tim frantically weighing all our bags at a local fruit and vegetable shop, to check the baggage allowance, as he had bought a carpet in Isfahan. All his reassuring weight checking was to no avail, as when we checked in at the airport, we were told that we were some 10kg over our allowance (hold and hand luggage being weighed). We protested, as the check-in staff has insisted on having our bikes “super wrapped” for baggage handling, adding kilos to our weight. Fortunately, the check-in staff said that we could treat the weight culprit, Tim’s carpet, as a push-chair, so that it could be taken on board.