There is a green door on the east side of a building in a park in central Tehran. Yesterday, I opened that door again and it was as good of a place as I remember.
Anyone who has been traveling for a longer period of time knows that you have your ups and downs. Some days you are homesick while other days you’re on top of the world. Traveling solo usually is an emotional roller coaster, more so in the beginning of a long trip before you find your pace.
For me, it has always been important to find places where I can relax without feeling watched. In a country like Iran, I am one of very few foreigners (especielly in January). As soon as I have entered a shop I get most, if not all, eyes on me. It has never been in a hostile way, quite the opposite in fact. It is all smiles and greetings. Like Saturday evening. I went in to a shoe shop. One of the employees asked me after a few minutes where I was from. When I told him, he told the rest of the store and then everyone kept on doing what they did before. In the long run it can get a bit frustrating being so … visible.
On the other side of that green door there is a cafe slash restaurant. It consists of an outdoor patio in two levels. A dozen smaller tables on the upper level, and seven bigger tables on the lower. During the winter months, the “wall” facing the park is made of plastic film, making it the place feel a lot bigger than it actually is. It is not a cheap place. Judging by the prices and the clientele, I guess it requires a decent salary to come here. I happened to find the place by chance back in 2013, although I know it is mentioned in the guide books. Be as it may, this is a place where I can rest, relax, and recharge.
And, most importantly in this kingdom of tea, the people who work behind that green door sure serve a good cup of coffee.