We tried for an even earlier start this morning being on the road and moving even before the sun had poked its face over the horizon. An effort on our part to get past/through the town of Hamedan before the traffic got really crazy.

Along our route today we saw families picnicking (a real surprise given that the temperature was in the high 30°Fs), more miles of plowed farm land, and a number of really quaint brown mud brick villages. In addition we noticed changes in the clothing of the people we passed, particularly women. Later in the afternoon while talking to some young guys we were reminded by them that this area is mostly Turkish Iranians. That explains the clothing changes.

The highlight of today was a visit to an old fortress called Takht-e Soleiman. A pre-Islamic walled complex built on the top of a hill and encompassing a large mineral spring and pool, it is over 1500 years old and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site was the spiritual center of Sassanian Persia, a group of Zoroastrians who inhabited this region in the 3rd century AD.

Not only was the site interesting but getting there was also an education or sorts. As mentioned in yesterdays post our route had us well off the tourist route and one of the consequences of this is that signposts are more frequently only in Farsi. So today we found it necessary to learn the Farsi version of some place names.

We could probably have camped in the parking lot of Takht-e Soleiman, but decided against that on the basis that there were too many people curious about us and in particular a couple of young guys seemed to keep hanging around. They were probably OK but part of our usual practice is not to take chances. So we drove some distance down the road and found a nice flat spot some distance off the road.