Saturday, June 22, 2013

Roodkhan castle

Enjoy watching rice fields along the road while driving about 20 km from Fooman to Roodkhan castle(Ghale-roodkhan). At the end of the road, there is a parking which you should leave your cars in and walk up the hills through forest. In the beginning you find restaurants, coffee-shops, Negrila (shisha), local cookies and cloths, corn, etc. Most of visitors wouldn’t make it up to the castle and please themselves around those facilities.
If you continue, it takes about 2 hours to go up the stairway which has about one thousand steps so carry enough water for a semi trekking adventure. Mineral water is also available to buy but of course twice more expensive comparing the printed price on the bottle. It’s also helpful if you find or buy a piece of wood as cane Because of the steps.
Trees are strange in this forest. Many trees have visible roots that make the forest so terrifying at night. Maybe the constant raining in whole year long is washing the soil and takes the roots out of ground. Some trees have multiple trunks grown on a base trunk. Many trees, because of the humid weather, are all covered by green leaves which makes the trunk invisible.

Keep walking up to the castle but don’t miss the splendid mountains view behind you covered with trees under the deep blue sky. When the castle gets uncovered in midst of thousands of trees, you can just see a small part of impenetrable walls so take the port and get inside. You’ll find yourself in such a vast, safe, cozy and artistic place.
Over there, drinkable water and toilets are available for free and peddlers are everywhere during weekends selling mineral water, ice-cream, non-alcoholic beer, etc. Considering that the whole plan takes about 5 hours, it would be better to start at early morning or a bit after lunch because there is not any restaurants up there. If you have plans to eat at the castle, you should bring your food.
Both Roodkhan castle and Masuleh village are close to Fooman therefore you can try to catch both of them one after another with least afford and expense.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


When it comes to visiting a village, you can't avoid mentioning Masuleh in Gilan province. This small village is like 50 km far from Rasht toward southwest. As we expect the north part of Iran, the village suppose to be surrounded by mountains and jungles. About 200 families live in there and nowadays tourism is the main income source for most of habitants.
You can take minibus from Fuman (A small city 10km far from Rasht) to Masuleh in a very cheap price that takes about 45 minutes. Shared taxis are also available in a reasonable price if you don't like to spend that much time and wait for minibus to get full. just remember to have some cookies in Fuman before leaving the city.

There is a nice hotel having the same name as the village easily findable at the entrance for about 15 to 20 USD for a room per night. If you like to spend nights in a local house, you can take one for like 35 to 50 USD per night in high seasons and Persian holidays. Local houses charge you in IRR so you should change before leaving Rasht.
The best itinerary would be spending at least 24 hours. For example if you arrive at noon you can see buildings, bazaar and fall in first day. Don't miss the beautiful foggy night in your room, go out and  spend the evening in tea houses in the bazaar or have a traditional dish for dinner in restaurants. Local cheese, butter and eggs are strongly recommended for breakfast so buy some before leaving the bazaar and the following day go grab some bread. Bakeries start at 8AM when streets are empty so don't leave your camera because it's the best time for taking some pictures.
In Masouleh bazaar they offer specific stuff and always, same as every city in Iran, bargain for discount. As souvenir you can buy handicrafts which are available everywhere in streets and bazaar shops in Persian simple, colorful styles. If you're a sour taste fan, try some "Lavashak" which is dried fruit made of different fruits like cherry, pomegranate, apple etc. Considering humid and foggy weather in north of Iran, garlic and olive are widely popular.
One of the best parts of every travel destination is local foods. In general north of Iran has some special foods and some of them are available in Masouleh. In most of them rice, eggplant, curd(kind of yogurt) and beans are used. Here comes some food names and a brief description:
Dizi: available everywhere in Iran. bowl of tomato paste water containing meat, pea and potato.
Kashk-e-baademjun: Smashed eggplant, garlic, vegtables and curd.
Mirza-ghasemi: Smashed eggplant, eggs, garlic and onion.
Ghezel-aalaa: A plate of rice with a salmon beside it normally served with some butter to grease your rice.
Bon apetite
One of the best things about north of Iran is feeling fresh, always, everywhere, everything is green, foggy, rainy and fresh.

And mysterious...