Seriously? You did this in Iran??
Yes, I did… last winter when I visited Iran on my own and traveled through the country with my friend Farzaneh. I had the chance to go skiing in the mountains one day followed by scuba diving and island hopping in the Persian Gulf the next.
Did you know that there are 16 ski resorts in Iran? Here in the West, we don’t think of Iran as a ski destination; however, for thousands of Iranians the mountains just north of Tehran offer a welcome getaway from the city. The base of the Dizin Ski Resort, Iran’s best, is located at 2,700 meters (approximately 9,000 feet) and is only a 2 ½ hour drive from Tehran. The resort was established during the days of the Shah and not much as changed since then. The best part of the resort is the snow quality at Dizin- fantastic powder that rivals that of many European and Rocky Mountain snow areas. And yes, the women are dressed in European ski outfits and still somehow manage to wear their hijabs, or hide them under their helmets, as they fly down the piste. Men and women mix and mingle happily in the ski lodge, the only thing missing is a good après “hot tottie or peppermint patty” …
Next, I boarded a flight to Bandar Abbas, located in Southern Iran away from the tourist route, it is named after one of Persia’s kings, Shah Abbas I. Bandar Abbas is a port city, situated only 90 miles from Dubai, with the two islands of Hormoz and Qeshm lying in between. Winter is the perfect time to visit, the weather is pleasant and the water temperature is perfect.On the first morning in Bandar Abbas, we drove to Minab, famous for its Thursday market and masked women. The face mask is something completely unique to this region, with the color of the mask indicating if the women are single, married or widowed. The mask is not worn for religious reasons, but rather as a protection against the intense sun. In the afternoon, a speedboat took us to the Hormoz Island, parts of which looks like a fantastic moon scape.The next day, we headed to Qeshm Island where- believe it or not, I went snorkeling and scuba diving in the Persian Gulf. Maybe some of you have gone scuba diving in the Persian Gulf, but how many of you have done it off the coast of Iran?
What about my hijab? Of course I did not wear it under water… if you don’t believe me take a look….
So you see… there is always the road less traveled….
For some pictures of the fantastic skiing, here is a great article from the Guardian: