I was getting pretty comfortable in Mashhad. The food was absolutely great & it was really nice to hang out with someone. Mohammad & I had some excellent conversations.
In the morning my bike got a servicing though it wasn't as good as the one in Tabriz & importantly didn't fix the creaking in the cranks. I suspect that they didn't remove, regrease & refit the crankset & bottom braket as requested. This wasn't spotted until too late.
In the afternoon Mohammad took me to the shrine of Imam Reza, considered by Shia but not Sunni Muslims as one of holders of both the temporal as well as spiritual authority that Mohammed had. It was a genuinely moving experience to see the crowds of people at prayer & to witness how emotionally charged people were at the thought of Imam Reza's death more than a thousand on. Incidentally, his death & that of other Shia Imams was at the hand of the Sunni Caliph, which did much to set the relations between the 2 great branches of Islam.
It was a very pleasant surprise to find that core of the shrine were not restricted, as said my guidebook, only to Muslims. The Mosques around the shrine were also very beautiful. Unfortunately no cameras were permitted inside so the only images that I have are those in my memory.
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