Some struggle for Roberto and Enrico who had to wake up at dawn and start working to film the Nasir al-Mulk mosque, also called the pink mosque (because of the dominance of pink tiles) at the early lights in the morning. It is known throughout the world for its colored stained-glass windows through which the daily sun rays filter through transforming the rooms into a magical place. Walking inside is like entering into a kaleidoscope of colors! We wait for them to be back at the hotel, have breakfast and then head to Esfahan, which is deemed one of the most beautiful cities of the Islamic world.
It won’t be a shortstop, and along the way (always because of Ramadan) it won’t be possible to find a restaurant for a meal. Therefore we agree to decide for having a picnic away from prying eyes. Hence, we stop in a little town to buy some fresh bread, tomatoes, and watermelon for the storeroom and then take a detour in the desert as soon as we start getting hungry. As we are now experts, we set our two California’s one next to the other so that the awnings, once opened, touch each other perfectly, and then we prepare a freshly fixed meal: as usual… we can’t say we starve! And our meal ends up with some excellent coffee made with our valuable moka pot, and we then resume our journey.
Often, we try to wave our arms out of the window of our vehicles just to take some air … which in any case is not refreshing, it mostly useful for drying our clothes which are damp with sweat: in fact, despite the high altitude (around 1600 meters asl) the temperature keeps increasing: the dashboard marks 46° C at six o’clock in the afternoon, and we are all allergic to air conditioning … we can feel them all.
Perhaps one who’s experiencing this uneasiness, more than the others is Stefania. She must wear veils, long sleeves, and trousers, and actually wonders how can most women wear black dresses and veils without openly showing any distress, or intolerance to a command which seems exaggerated even for numerous Iranians with whom we have spoken to and who, although being Muslim, are against the excessive restrictions which were not foreseen by the Qur’an but have been recently enforced (that is nearly thirty years ago). Our most respect for all cultures and religions … although some constraints appear humanly unthinkable.
So, it is in this sweaty heat that we reach Esfahan and take shelter in the hotel for a regenerating cold shower.
At eight o’clock we meet again to go out for dinner and a walk into town. The atmosphere is peaceful and relaxed. As usual, people are smiling, cheery and ready to ask, in a rather broken English, where do we come from and wish us a good stay in this land. The town is crossed by the Zayandeh River (which is the wealth of this region because it has made it a fertile land since ancient times, and guaranteed the human settlement and agricultural and industrial activities) and over the centuries bridges have been built, decorated in such a way as to become real and true works of art in a trick of lights between water, sun or moon. Tonight, the moon is growing, and we are crossing the “Sio-o se Pol” or bridge of the 33 arches from each of which a picture with the first sickle moon and lights reflecting on the river is a natural reminder.
Typical Iranian dinner and then back to the hotel. The day has been really long: it’s time to go to bed.