I was feeling nostalgic already about my last day in Iran, but I had also been freaking out about running out of money, so first thing I decided to go and exchange the few dirham I had. (Turned out I didn’t even need them, but hey, having a million rial in my wallet can never hurt, right?)

And now I have a Tehran metro card!

A few friends from the hostel had come with me, and we next decided to head to Park-e Shahr, where I became a crazy cat lady and amused myself by watching the various cats play. The pond in the middle is used for ice skating in the winter, and there’s a teahouse there also.

“Down with U.S.A.”
I always wanted to go to Iran so that I could see giraffes.
These guys are actually alive.
And hippos and zebras mingling? Only in Iran!

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We then made our way to the Tehran Bazaar, which really had nothing on that of Shiraz and Esfahan. While the other two felt almost homey and were filled with friendly salespeople and interesting items, the Tehran Bazaar was very spread out and was very separated by item–we spent ten minutes walking through fabric, ten minutes walking through women’s lingerie, and ten minutes walking through plates and glasses.


My friends were headed back and I was going to keep going by myself, when we happened upon two German twins who were also staying at our hostel. They were headed to the Iman Khomeini Mosque, so I asked if I could tag along. They had been keeping to themselves, so I felt a little bad for imposing on them, but they were super sweet and didn’t seem to mind having a random overly-enthusiastic girl with them forcing them to speak English.


And in the mosque, Ema found...more cats!
And in the mosque, Ema found…more cats!
Imam Khomeini Mosque.

For dinner, we found a street vendor selling falafel sandwiches for 30,000 rial. Everyone’s been raving about the falafel in Dubai, but this was definitely the best falafel I’d ever had in my life.

Back at the hostel, a party was going on, thrown by a lovely man from Switzerland who’s been travelling by motorcycle for the past six months. Apparetnyl it was the first party without alcohol he’s thrown in my lifetime. The food was delicious and I loved getting to hang out with more international travellers, although I was beginning to feel very young!

Non alcoholic beer.
Non alcoholic beer.

At 1AM, two of my German friends and I took a taxi to the airport. It took a good two hours to get through the lines for security and to get my passport stamped, but I eventually made it to the aeroplane. At 4:35AM, I flew out from Tehran, staring down at all the city lights in the dark.

I definitely preferred the smaller cities of Esfahan and Shiraz to Tehran–they had more nature and the people didn’t seem as rushed and businesslike. Nonetheless, it was easy to see how Tehran was the soul of Iran.