For my first full day in Shiraz, my lovely hostel manager booked a driver to take a Spanish couple and me to see Persepolis, Pasagarde, and Naqsh-e Rostam. This day was one case when I really wished that I had my own car or a bit more freedom, as our driver seemed to know what was best and I was kind of an awkward third wheel all day–they were very sweet and definitely tried to be welcoming, but it still felt like their trip that I just happened to be on. However, it was 20USD, so the price was definitely good.
We first went to Pasagarde, though the Spaniards had tried to convince our driver to go to Persepolis first so we’d know how much time we would have comfortably left over. As such, Pasagarde was rushed, and we didn’t get to go up to the prison on the hill. Pasagarde was cool, but a little anticlimactic and required a lot of walking/waiting for a shuttle bus to get between the sites.
Naqsh-e Rostam, also known as Necropolis, however, was another one of my top places in Iran. I found it absolutely stunning, and kept comparing it in my head to the Subway in Zion–both are amazing feats constructed within rock walls, and it’s absolutely mindblowing to think of all the work that went into each–the years of eroding in a careful pattern the Virgin River did in Zion and the meticulous planning and chipping that the people did.
Our taxi driver took us to a restaurant for lunch after. As he didn’t consult us at all, I assumed that this was part of the fee we had already paid. The food was a buffet, but wasn’t particularly good–I had more orange jelly and watermelon than actual food. However, when we left, he took us up to pay and they wanted 350,000 rial! I expressed my outrage and they knocked it down to 300,000. But after I’d paid 80,000 rial for a meal to feed four the night before, I was pretty frustrated–I don’t like being blindsided, and I would have happily waited until dinner or bought food at Persepolis if I’d known that would be the price. As each monument also had an admission fee, I blew through almost 2/5ths of my cash in that one day alone.
We arrived at Persepolis, and our driver held up two fingers to indicate we were to return to the car in two hours. Already frustrated about the restaurant, this didn’t go over very well with me, and it didn’t with the Spaniards either, who’d been rushing all day to get to Persepolis. We argued for three hours, but he very adamantly said two hours. Excuse me, but we booked you for a full day, and I don’t know what that means in Iranian but nine hours is not a full day.
Persepolis is incredible. Just wow. My mind can’t comprehend how old it is. I climbed up high to get a view of the entire area and just wow. The intricacies of the work done in stone that still remains felt impossibly perfect and even reflecting back I’m in awe. This is one place that photos really can’t do justice to; there’s something about the feeling of oldness that resonates when you’re standing in the middle of these ruins where once upon a time a king was receiving subjects from other lands. Our world is so cool.
I could have easily spent another two or three hours there–I didn’t have a chance to go into the museum; I would have loved to hike further up the mountain, and I’m sure there were a million intricate details I missed. As was, we arrived back to the taxi half an hour late–the Spaniards weren’t scared of risking his wrath, thankfully. I passed another picnicking family, and they insisted that I take some sort of seed they had that I munched on the way back.