Iran is often portrayed negatively in the news these days, so it is strange to re-read the first impressions of my 18 year-old self, this time 36 year ago –  curious, excited, naive and glad to be there.

“Breakfast outside customs house, to amusement of lorry drivers.  Iran!
Small villages below hills – the hills and plains are very light in colour.  Dress is different – men with jumpsuits and boots and striking turbans.  Women with veils down to the ground, very light floaty material, often with jeans on underneath!
Rezaiyeh – first stop for money.  All banks closed because of festival of burning of prophets.  Lots of flags etc.  Towns seem to have ornamental rounds in middle of them, with statues and plastic animals etc.  Fountains not working.  Nice town, found money changer in bazaar.  Had a cay and first Iranian sticky cake! (Thurs – Neva’s gutsy day!)

People curious not pressing like Turks.  Lunch was flat waffery bread and tomato – bread a bit like cardboard.

Stopped later in smaller town for few minutes – nice biscuits and cakes and lots of nuts.  More picturesque costumes – people friendly.  Little boy saluted me as I got into bus!

Camped by river as sun going down – lovely orange sky, and pink in east.  Herds of sheep and goats.
Iranians came and looked round bus – perhaps looking for drugs.  Stood around while we ate.
Cut up melons and hollowed out faces for Guy Fawkes Night.  Didn’t have fire.”