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Mesr Desert

Mesr Desert: A Chance of a Lifetime

As travelers, my roommate and I can’t help being on the move when we get itchy feet. This might be the only characteristic in common for us. Sara and I had long dreamed about visiting the deserts in Iran. As one of the extremely beautiful attractions in central Iran, Mesr Desert has always been a must-see for us. Therefore, we decided to take a daily ecotour to this fantastic desert as soon as winter vacation would start. Our dream came true and the immortal deities of desert called us, so that we started our journey on December 7 when they believe is the best time for visiting the desert.

Mesr Desert is a part of the extensive central desert in Iran called “Dasht-e Kavir” in Persian; we should have driven 420km from Isfahan to arrive in Khur-va Biabanak County. The village which is populated by less than 300 hundred inhabitants is an oasis area in a way that green gardens have covered the village while they are grown next to the vast desert. The tamarisks welcomed us at the entrance of the village. A small stream passing through the gardens, were cheering life song together with the azure sky and greeneries. I could smell the scent of life and happiness spreading all over the dead and naked body of the desert expressing existence.

It was early in the morning that we got into Shenzar guesthouse to check in and staying for having a special breakfast. There was no actual beds, but well-cleaned up mattress-like beds and the hospitable staff were highly welcoming. The ecolodge took me back in history with its mud-brick architecture. We were almost out of time, so we drank a glass of camel milk and dates to head to Mesr Desert which was a 5-minute drive.

There it was! We had already arrived in the desert as we were in Khur va Biabanak. But these sand dunes and their spell mesmerized us. It seemed as if the desert was married to the sky as I couldn’t visualize an end to this extensive land. Our local tour guide gave us almost 3 hours to enjoy the desert in every single way we would like. We decided to get our way walking over the dunes. So we took the shoes off and paced on the sands. There was pure silence and the sunlight reflecting golden light from the sands. Taking photos was also a pleasure there, however they are unable to show the real image in front of us. After that, the tour guide suggested camel riding.

Well, it was an unprecedented experience for us as we had not ridden a camel to that moment. Amazingly, I felt like the ancient Arabs who used to commerce by the camels. There was loud laugh and screams and lots of fun. We tried camel riding while some others preferred to try ATV motors and off-road SUVs. In fact I am a big fan of off-road cars but short time and lots of things to do in the desert!

The time was flying and soon we got hungry. We drove back to the hostel to have lunch and visit the salt Lake of Khur, thereafter. Sara, my friend was not interested in visiting the lake and stayed at the hostel after eating. Nevertheless, she missed it! Presenting eye-catching polygons, Khur Lake is the largest seasonal lake in Iran. There was no rain to the moment so we could step into the heart of the vast area of the lake where I was impressed by the octagonal scenery around me.

As it was getting dark and cold, the team headed back to the guesthouse to have a short break and getting prepared for the main part of the program: spending some hours under the stars in the heart of the darkness and the desert. We had such an amazing and different day that all the travelers were cheerful though physically exhausted.

Almost 8 at night, all of us were in the middle of the darkness, sitting on a Persian carpet around a campfire looking at the sky. The extensive black sky with the shining stars was engraved to my mind as the most splendid image of the desert. The stars were so close that seemed palpable. We were all in the awe of the splendor of the desert sky at night. One of the travelers was an amateur astronomer and he made our night explaining about the stars we could see. We had predicted such an intimate gathering, so Sara brought her guitar and we started singing together in joy, while some started to dance all of a sudden.

We hung out together in a daily ecotour for less than 24 hours but it seemed as if we were close friends because we shared a unique experience that one cannot imagine unless they touch it with their hearts. Although we ran out of time to visit some other historical monuments including Bayazeh Castle which is made of mud and brick, the trip became the most memorable of my whole life to this time because not only were we there in a friendly circle but also one of my far-fetched wishes came true and that was spending a night in the desert.

               A Desert Lover

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