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  • Location: Iran, Tehran

Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World

Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World

Why a Booktrail?

What happens when you spend 63 days coach surfing in Iran?

  • ISBN: 978-1771642804
  • Genre: Adventure, Travelogue

What you need to know before your trail

Award-winning author Stephan Orth spends sixty-two days on the road in this mysterious Islamic republic to provide a revealing, behind-the-scenes look at life in one of the world’s most closed societies. Through the unsurpassed hospitality of twenty-two hosts, he skips the guidebooks and tourist attractions and travels from Persian carpet to bed to cot, covering more than 8,400 kilometers to recount “this world’s hidden doings.” Experiencing daily what he calls the “two Irans” that coexist side by side—the “theocracy, where people mourn their martyrs” in mausoleums, and the “hide-and-seek-ocracy, where people hold secret parties and seek worldly thrills instead of spiritual bliss”—he learns that Iranians have become experts in navigating around their country’s strict laws.

Travel Guide


The full journey:


Full map from the book


Tehran population 10 million

“Beware of terrorists and kidnappers says a friend

The most stunning aspect of Tehran are the nearby Elburz Mountains, reaching up to thirteen thousand feet to the north of the city”

The daily traffic chaos is legendary; there are almost 4 million scars for the 10 million inhabitants.”

How to behave whilst eating

Sit cross legged on the floor

Wait for the starting orders: Bokkar, bokkor”

Tear of a rectangular piece of the pita bread

Fill it with the main course and roll it up

Bite into it

Try to surreptitiously pick up bits of food that have landed on the carpet (they never land on the plastic sheet)

The museum of Iran

Those in the know to be the mother of all museum, at least that is what written on a poster on the outdoor wall. The exhibits are in fact sensational. Who knew that the Persians turned out the first cartoon in the would, with emphasis on turned.”

This is a journey into all corner of Iran. The setting here is not just the towns and desert but the landscape of bureaucracy

Fake marriage, officialdom, dictatorship, war, women’s rights

Trail Gallery

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

On reading this fascinating travelogue, I feel as if I know and really admire Stephan Orth and that surely is the sign that the author has taken you with him on his journey. For what a journey it is! Over 60 days in Iran, living and breathing the country, meeting its people, living with them in their homes at their most relaxed and vulnerable. What fascinates more than anything is the author’s interest and passion for the country, his will to find out more but to include the people he meets as equals not just as locals in a land he happens to be in. He immerses himself totally in their world – and what a world it is! I wasn’t sure what to expect ‘visiting’ Iran with him but there’s a monthly meeting I was a bit surprised at! There’s some very funny anecdotes throughout – my favourite that the Farsi word for popcorn is “elephant farts” probably reveals more about me than Stephan but it’s this joy in the language too that really engages the reader.

Stephan is German and the translator into English is Canadian and it works really well. The book is a fascinating insider account of the provate and public Iran – what people are like at home compared to the politics and outside face of the country in the West.

There’s an interesting start to the journey too – when Stephan is arrested. Well, the best travel stories always have the most memorable tales to later recount beside the fire. Or in Stephan’s case, the couch.

Recommended. Fascinating, fresh immersive writing and an author who in translation comes across as a guy you’d like to travel with, have a beer with and talk some more.

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World

Destination : Iran, Tehran  Author/Guide: Stephan Orth

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