‘Wonderful’ Iran

By Peggy Scanlon
This item appears on page 51 of the May 2013 issue.

I was very pleased to read Marvin Primack’s letter “Misconceptions of Iran(March ’13, pg. 26). How lovely to read of someone else’s pleasant experiences in that wonderful country. I have visited Iran five times, the last time in October ’08.

On my first trip, in summer of 2000, I traveled with Geographic Expeditions (San Francisco, CA; 888/570-7108). There were four of us, and we trekked on paths between villages in the Alborz Mountains north of Tehran, camping along the way. Many of the inhabitants hadn’t seen people from the West. I understand that the villages are now linked by roads.

The people we encountered were extremely courteous to us. One group offered us bread, and several people invited us into their homes. 

I have now been into most regions of Iran except the south, near the Persian Gulf. I have always been struck by the courtesy of the people, the stark beauty of the landscape, the bazaars, the lovely mosques, and the old mansions with their reflecting pools. In Isfahan, the bazaar in the great square, Maidan e Imam Khomeini (aka Naqsh-e Jahan Square), is special with its many craft stalls.

The Iranians I met on these trips were well educated and knew a lot more about us than we knew about them. Many spoke English. I saw few, if any, beggars.

I highly recommend Geographic Expeditions and also MIR Corporation (Seattle, WA; 800/424-7289), with which I took one of my trips

The only thing about Iran that scared me was crossing the streets in the big cities (mainly Tehran). The traffic is crazy both in the cities and out on the highways! What you need to do to cross a street is attach yourself to a few locals who are also crossing and walk in lockstep with them! I must say, though, that after a while you get the hang of it.


Bisbee, AZ