Donna Stewart, United States, 2016

I was a traveler on the most recent Iran trip led by Mehdi Afrasch. Although I will be completing the trip evaluation form, I wanted to send you this e-mail in addition since there is not enough room on the form to convey what I want to say. Since I retired in 2006, I have taken at least 14 trips abroad with companies such as Overseas Adventure Travel and Road Scholars including one previous trip with ElderTreks. Because of this, I would like to think my evaluation carries some weight.

First of all, I would like to commend our guide, Mehdi, for the outstanding job he did. To begin with, Mehdi was extremely organized. His system for managing our baggage and hotel check-in/check-out operated very smoothly. Mehdi very efficiently handled the scheduling of our daily itinerary and meals. He endeavored to provide a variety of food for us and did his best to meet individual requests based on diet restrictions or individual preferences. Mehdi also sat with and interacted with us at many meals - something we all appreciated. At the start of the trip, Mehdi gave each of us a lovely book about Iran, and at the end of the trip, he gave each of us a CD. As we traveled along, Mehdi treated us to ice cream and pistachio nuts. On especially long drives, we stopped along the way for sweets, tea, coffee, and other beverages that he and our bus driver provided for us. Mehdi was also able to arrange our itinerary so that he was able to take us to several places that were not part of the itinerary - the oldest bridge in Isfahan is just one example. Along with all of the above, Mehdi bent over backwards to meet the special needs and individual requests of our group.

Besides being an excellent tour manager, Mehdi was also an excellent guide. As retired history teacher who has a special interest in the Middle East, I was very impressed with Mehdi's knowledge of history and architecture. Mehdi shared with us his knowledge of history, pre-Islamic and Islamic architecture, Persian culture and poetry, Iran's ancient irrigation system, Iran's current issues, and more. Mehdi is the most knowledgeable guide I have ever had on any of my trips. I appreciated his strength of character, honesty, straightforwardness, and his good humor.


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