Maker of the lamps
Hoi An is famous for its hand-made lanterns, which adorn all the main streets in the Old Town. Found in an array of colours and designs, the brighten up the street during the day but look even better at night when they are all lit up.
I often forget to take pictures of the people I meet travelling so this is just a token montage and the sentiment includes everyone not on it!
Iran doesn't feature at the top of tourist destination lists yet and 100% of people I told I was heading to Iran asked, 'What for?'. When I said for a holiday the response was utter incomprehension. And I can understand that, because there's not much information available online as to what you could do and how to do it (let's change that). So you turn up blind with your first night booked and a rough plan of the cities you can visit by bus and what to see in them.
Then you meet people doing the same thing, figuring it out as they go. Some have already been to where you're going, some are thinking of somewhere you hadn't heard of and you share information. Add in the kindest locals who know someone who knows someone who can get you to this lake on this day and suddenly you're part of 40 Telegram/What's App groups co-ordinating your trip to make sure you see the things you want and offering new options and suggestions all the time. Post an ad on certain forum apps and there will be 100 offers to help you hike a trail within 24 hours. Stay late at a restaurant and get introduced to the family. This is the kind of experience Iran offers independent travellers and I'm thankful to all the thoughtful and interesting people I met exploring it, even if I picked up the nickname Duracell for my non-stop exploration (thanks Carole ). Final thanks to Misha who moved mountains to help me get to Mount Damavand on my last day.
Solo travel is my favourite oxymoron