Elvis and Arlo In Iran
A travelogue of two American tourists during their first visit to Iran
April 16-26, 2009

April 16: Tehran
April 17: Tehran
April 18: Tehran-Yazd
April 19: Yazd
April 20: Pasagardae
April 21: Shiraz
April 22: Persepolis
April 23: Isfahan
April 24: Isfahan
April 25: Isfahan
April 26: Abyaneh-Kashan


We are two middle-aged, reasonably well-traveled people from a big northeast American city.  The ‘I’ in this travelogue is Ruth; ‘we’ refers to Ruth and her husband George.


We decided to visit Iran for several reasons.  First, the history of ancient Persia has interested both of us, so the historic World Heritage sites of Esfahan, Persepolis, and Pasagardae were big draws.  George is especially interested in architecture, so the splendid mosques, squares, and ancient cities also attracted us. We visited Turkey a couple of years ago, and were pleased (and a bit surprised) by how welcoming people were and what an easy time we had. Additionally, some Americans we knew had visited Iran recently, and all told us repeatedly how welcoming everyone was and how these trips were  the best vacations they’d ever had.

After a bit of internet research, which confirmed that Western travelers were very welcome, we booked our tour.  As Americans, we are required to have a guide in Iran, so we reserved through Silk Road & Beyond in the UK.  They were very cooperative about customizing our tour and providing info. Since we are passed our backpacking years, they made reservations for us in 4-star hotels, with Western style ‘modern conveniences’. They in turn contracted our tour through the Iranian company Caravan Sahra, which we highly recommend.

VISAS: Silk Road & Beyond sent the required information to Tehran to get a Visa number from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Once we had this number, we sent the application, MFA number, and our passports to the Iranian Interests section, located in the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C. We used a visa expediting agency to speed things up and so we could keep track of our passports.  The whole process went smoothly.

PHOTOGRAPHS: I took all of the photos on this website.  Please email me for permission at elvisandarlo@gmail.com if you want to use any of them.  You can see more of my Iran photos at my Flickr Iran set and other photographs of mine at my general Flickr photostream.

CONTACT US: We’d love to hear from you if you have questions about Iranian travel, feedback on the site, or anything else. Just send an email to elvisandarlo@gmail.com.