Destination: Iran

Interview with Rick Steves: ‘Travel as a Political Act’

Jim Benning asks the Europe travel guru about his new book -- and where Americans can go for a politically eye-opening experience

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Around the World in Five Dates

Around the World in Five Dates iStockphoto

The language of love may be universal, but the etiquette of dating is not. Terry Ward looks at courting from Tehran to Tokyo.

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Morning Links: Japan’s ‘Ambassadors of Cute,’ Obama’s Position on Travel and More

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Morning Links: Paris Celebrates Voids, Favellywood, the Travel Bug and More

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Interview With Rory MacLean: ‘Magic Bus’ on the Hippie Trail

Frank Bures asks him about the classic journey from Istanbul's pudding shop to Kathmandu

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Morning Links: Walking Across the U.S., Rebranding France and More

In Iran, ‘a Trickle of Plucky Yankee Tourists’

USA Today’s Laura Bly reports that American travelers to the “Axis of Evil” nation find themselves greeted with two “constants”: “‘Welcome to Iran!’ and smiles as wide as a cloudless desert sky.” She offers some evidence in a terrific slideshow.

Pomegranate Summers in Iran

Brittany Shahmehri takes a compelling look back at her childhood summers in Iran and Texas. “I was only 3 when my American mother and Iranian father gathered our few possessions and booked a one-way flight to Texas,” she writes in the Christian Science Monitor. “But once there, we continued to eat Persian food, with steaming saffron rice and fenugreek-laced stews, and, when we could find it, pomegranate.”

Photo by pizzodisevo via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Tags: Middle East, Iran

TIme for ‘Reading Tehran With Lolita’

Or something like that. World Hum contributor Jeff Biggers argues in The Huffington Post that “now is the time for universities, schools and literary organizations—and publishers—across the country to begin the process of breaking the ice in people-to-people diplomacy and cultural exchange” with Iran. American readers, he writes, should pick up some good Iranian literature this summer, starting with Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature

Related on World Hum:
* Rick Steves on his Iran Trip

Tags: Middle East, Iran

Rick Steves on His Iran Trip

He’s back from his trip to shoot a show that will air in January—we noted it here—and he recently spoke about it on public radio’s The World. Interesting interview. Warning: This web page plays the audio automatically.

Related on World Hum:
* Q&A with Rick Steves: Reflections on Three Decades of World Travel

Tags: Middle East, Iran

Top Five Forbidden Vacations for Americans

Photo by Zoom Zoom via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Fancy a retreat at North Korea’s Mount Kumgang Zen monastery? A leisurely tour of the ruins at Persepolis (pictured)? Dream on. Foreign Policy has a tongue-in-cheek look at five alluring destinations off-limits to Americans.

Wheeler: You Shouldn’t Always Mind Government Travel Advisories

Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler says Iran, North Korea and other countries that appear on government travel advisories are worth the almost-guaranteed hassles. “There are plenty of reasons they’re worth the extra effort, and, furthermore, they’re generally far less risky than the rumors, horror stories, and ‘don’t go there’ warnings would have us believe,” he writes in GOOD Magazine’s travel issue.

Celebrity Travel Watch: Chris de Burgh in Iran

Chris who? You probably know his syrupy song “The Lady in Red.” (Video below.) It was huge in the mid-‘80s. Turns out the British singer is still huge in Iran, where, for almost three decades, most Western music has been forbidden by the ruling Shiite Muslim clergy. De Burgh’s songs circulated on illegally copied tapes there, and he became rock-star popular. So much so that, in an apparent lifting of the Western music ban, de Burgh recently became the first Western pop musician to visit Iran since the 1979 revolution.

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Rick Steves Blogs From Iran

He’s there to produce a TV show about travel in the country—and he’s on something of a mission. As he explained on the blog a couple of days ago:

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Tags: Middle East, Iran

Riding the Rails in Iran and Beyond

Interesting bit in a Guardian story about train travel in Iran: “Scheduled for completion later this year is a line that will run from Kerman in the south-east to Quetta across the Pakistani border. When finished, it will present a mouth-watering prospect: uninterrupted rail travel from Europe to the subcontinent.”