I arrived at my hostel in Tehran around 10AM, and was once again excited to find a community of international travellers. The Seven Hostel was the first hostel in Tehran, and is still only five months old, so Jalal, the owner, is still ironing out some kinks, but it’s going to be a fabulous place. For 15USD a night, the dorms are a great price. The location is subpar–it’s 200,000 rial to basically anywhere in Tehran; however, if you’re okay with braving the metro, it’s super easy to get into town and I definitely recommend it.

A 5D simulator–just the norm in Iran.

I tagged along with a couple of German guys who were going up to Mount Tochal–I might love mountains as much as I love cities, and this sounded by far the most appealing thing to spend a day doing. We took the old Telecabin–or gondola–up 7.5km to almost the top, and hiked the final 1,500m to the top–about 4,000 meters tall.

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It was cold up there, which was a fantastic thing–I honestly can’t remember the last time I was actually cold–maybe at the top of Angel’s Landing at midnight in Zion? Apparently a lot of Iranians like to hike Mt. Tochal on Fridays, so there were quite a few interesting people at the top. After hearing more about Northwestern Iran and a canyon in the south, I really want to come back just to explore the nature side of Iran.

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People praying…
People doing headstands…
And people being awkward wearing head-scarves.

We took a taxi to a cute little area with several restaurants and had dinner, tea, and a waterpipe. I tried mirza ghasemi–eggplant, squash, and eggs all mixed together, and it was absolutely delicious.

Each canopy is a place for people to sit and eat in relative privacy.

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On our way back to the hostel, we stopped at one of the many playgrounds around and tested the equipment they have there for adults. It reminded me of primary school and how we used to work on creating stops for a reserve nearby to help people have fun exercising–each station had a depiction of the muscles that were being exercised, but it was hard to understand how exactly they worked.

Having barely slept on the bus, I was falling asleep on my feet, but still managed to listen to an interesting conversation with Jalal about his hostel and the people that had been coming through.