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Couchsurfing im Iran: Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,337 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Eine Bikiniparty in der Pilgerstadt Mashhad, eine Übernachtung neben dem Atomkraftwerk Bushehr, ein Sadomaso-Geheimtreffen in Teheran: Im Iran erlebt Stephan Orth Abenteuer, die kein Reiseveranstalter jemals in seinen Katalog schreiben würde. Als Couchsurfer tauscht er Hotel gegen Privatquartier und lernt das Land so von seiner ganz privaten Seite kennen. Denn hinter versc ...more
Paperback, 249 pages
Published March 9th 2015 by Malik
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Petra wonders what too high HDL means?
This is an enjoyable, but shallow travelogue of having fun in Iran with the locals. The author is a German journalist who returns to the country after an interesting holiday the year before to investigate and expose how life is for the ordinary Iranian and the accommodations they must make if they want to at least attempt to be 21st century people. Although can Iranians who illegally go in for hosting foreign tourists and reporters on the couchsurfing website be called "ordinary"?

There was one
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When your country is one of the most misrepresented countries in the world, you'd obviously get your hands on a book about the actual experiences of a foreigner visiting it. How could you not?

I knew I had to read this book, and I knew that either way it would be a tricky experience. I love my country. I love it in a way that is rare and slightly looked down upon. I love it in the all-encompassing, completely biased and blind way usually reserved for family members and favourite authors. I love
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some of this book, especially within the first 4 or so chapters, I thought this was a 2 or 2.5 star at the most. But as he got through that first visa extension and he was into some of the steaming hot locations not far from Iraq, then I thought it got better. And because he is honest and the progression was not difficult to read, despite all these jumpy changes? So it ended up a 3.5 star that I rounded up.

Actually, I feel I'm a poor audience for this read. I have strong antithesis for some
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Due to current circumstances, my ability to go traveling off to far-flung place in the world has become very limited. traveling is my second love after books, So this is how I came to find my self staring at the rows of shelves in the travel section at the bookstore. I figure its the next best thing right. These days there are so many books out there about this very subject, the store I was in has one whole wall devoted just to travel guides and maps. So as I gazed at destinations familiar (as ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Replace Iran with Syria in the text, and this book would be a 98% true representation of the couchsurfing and alternate community flourishing in pre-war Syria. That made this read very relatable and whimsical to a special part of my past life.

Stephan shows a tangible empathy in the books to the tragedy of the colorful characters he meets. His description of the landscapes and the nightly adventures is beautifully vivid.

My warning would have been that the characters in this book are only a specia
Saturday's Child
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great “armchair travel” read.
Eule Luftschloss
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travels, non-fiction, iran
Stephan Orth comes back to Iran to travel - via couchsurfing. Which is illegal, as it's feared that this enables espionage. His goals, apart from surviving the trip, are to meet the people, see beyond his own prejudices.

I am a German person who has never been to Iran, so I can't say anything about how accurate his tales are. I never couchsurfed myself, as I am not the right person for that, but I really like the concept.

The author gets a really good balance of positive and negative aspects. Yes,
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, read-2018
Couchsurfing may be technically forbidden in Iran (just like quite a few other things that have nonetheless found their way into this account), but journalist Stephan Orth did it anyway: For two months, he travelled all over Iran, getting to know the country and its people, gaining a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtains and closed doors, far beyond the picture usually shaped by travel guides, stereotypes and clichés. The result is an intriguing, informative and immensely entertaining book ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I think his more recent book about couchsurfing in russia was better but I still enjoyed reading this one - especially because I knew so few things about Iran.
I wish it would‘ve provided more information about the politics, but it was still really interesting.
Andrew Lucas
This is an easy, enjoyable read and gives good insight into the challenges and rewards of solo travel in Iran.
Elisabeth De Sola
A very enterntaining way to know Iran. I have been having in mind to go there for some years (unfortunately may have to wait a bit more), but shows how honest and welcoming people are there.
Emma Bell
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book. The subject of touring Iran really appealed to me but I found it a bit of a chore to read. I don’t know if it was the German-English translation or the style of writing but it made for a difficult read. However I started to find the pace towards the end and I felt the subject matter was more interesting in the last few chapters.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Continuing on my goal of reading books in German, I picked up Couchsurfing im Iran by Stephan Orth. I am sticking to travel narratives for the moment, as it seems this genre is the easiest to comprehend given my German language abilities. Anyway, one other thing I liked about this book is that the author went to a destination that I also have a high interest in, that is, Iran. While the author went to Iran two years before me, there were plenty of things he narrated that sounded familiar to me. ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm an avid traveller but (a) couchsurfing is definitely not my style and (b) I don't have a strong desire to visit Iran. Despite this, I really wanted to find out more about Orth's travels and how he sets out to debunk the myth of the Middle East being conservative and inhospitable.

Orth has a great time with the locals, and attributes this to the friendliness and hospitable nature of the people. However, I do believe a large part of this has to do with the author's ability to connect with diffe
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book was an interesting introduction into the younger, modern Iranian lifestyle. It brought to my attention a lot of social problems, and other issues that face normal Iranians that are caused by the sanctions. Stephan's encounter vary, therefore the quality and how interesting each section is dependent on each individual encounter-- some were a bit dull, while others were a good laugh and fascinating. Overall the setup of the book is nice even though a few encounters lacked a bit... and I a ...more
3 1/2 stars

Somehow I did not like the book as much as I expected. It's still a book I would recommend, I learned a lot about life in Iran and I really hope I can see it for myself one day.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of us will never experience Iran because of the political climate and the unwillingness of the citizens to rise up and effect change. It was interesting to read about this man's experience meeting locals and traveling throughout the country, although frankly, the dangers involved don't seem quite worth it. The cover photo is gorgeous but what I mainly took away from this is that the people of Iran need to want to change their country enough so that instead of running away, they stand and fi ...more
Apr 01, 2021 rated it liked it
"There are no bad places, when you travel to meet people."

This book was gifted to me by an Iranian friend, and I am ashamed to say that I never really thought much about how people in Iran live day-to-day in an oppressive regime that rules by fear, threats and persecution. So as someone who does not possess a lot of knowledge about Iran beyond the current global headlines, Stephan Orth did a good job in giving me a glimpse behind the curtain of the strict Islamic republic. However, as a couchsur
Ron Brown
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I visited Iran in 2008 and travelled by myself around the country for a month. I visited many of the places that Orth visited and had many similar experiences. Many ill-informed people warned of the imminent dangers I would face. On my trips to the USA there have been numerous occasions when I felt unsafe. Never in Iran. I believe there is a correlation between bad government and friendly people. As a travel writer Orth writes with feeling and liking for his subject – the young Iranian people he ...more
Mélanie Maillot
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book traces Stephan Orth's journey through Iran. Despite the ban on "couchsurfing", this is how he travels around the country. He spends his time with locals and discovers what happens "behind the scenes". Beneath the appearance of a strict dictatorial Islamic state lies an unexpected reality: that of the inhabitants who break the law on a daily basis. At parties with drugs and alcohol, sometimes even orgies or BDSM meetings, women drop their veils and men get drunk on illegally brewed wine ...more
Travel Books and Movies
Couchsurfing is a special kind of travel--hosts offer their homes and local expertise to travelers looking for an economical way to explore. Couchsurfing in a country where couchsurfing is illegal takes a very special kind of traveler...and Stephan Orth is that kind of traveler.

In Couchsurfing in Iran, he takes us with him on his journey through Iran as he travels from couch to couch meeting locals and exploring cities in a country that most of us don’t know much about. With curiosity and openne
Craig / Phil
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Couch surfing is a modern term used for crashing at a strangers home for a few nights whilst travelling.
All participants being registered and contactable via a central website.
Iran a country clouded by state and religious dictatorship is veiled physically, metaphorically and morally, a place where fear rules and what we deem normality is a game of hide and seek for its repressed inhabitants.
An enlightening expose’ captured through the experience of a traveller that goes into the homes and live
Peter Stuart
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The year is 2014. A German journey's to Iran, local year 1393, to embark on a couch surfing month long odyssey where his goal is to "become a local" over the course of his time there. As with most independent travelers he has a rough plan, the ability to be flexible about where he goes and the added advantage of a few contracts from previous trip to Iran.

And off he goes.

What follows is a well written tale of his experiences with locals, the bureaucracy and actions of government, some legacies
I suppose the title says it all. This book is about the people Stephan Orth met in Iran, not about the country itself or the towns and cities that he visited. If, like me, you enjoy reading about local history and architecture, you will be very disappointed in this book.
Couchsurfing, like many other things we take for granted (drinking, parties, dressing as you want) is actually illegal in Iran but is tolerated if it remains more or less invisible and the author did not seem to have any difficul
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Orth travels all around Iran with the intention of meeting ordinary Iranians of all walks of life. He is more interested in people, their lives and views then the proscribed museums and monuments. He does explore with the locals places which are esp significant, old battlefields, mausoleums, shrines, nuclear power stations and in doing so presents a side of Iran and Iranians that is seldom portrayed in news bulletins.
He shows us the warmth and hospitality of ordinary people, people who are forc
Brynn B
As someone who loves the idea of travel (but is too young at the moment and currently still in the 'research' process of the idea of Workaway, Couchsurfing, housesitting, etc) this piqued my attention quite easily on the shelf.

Stephan Orth made learning and reading his experience a comical and entertaining one, he gave a good amount of detail to really tell how everything was, he provided quite resourceful information and he did a wonderful job at keeping it quite a pleasant and casual read as
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
If you want to read a great book about Iran by someone who did more that just meet 1000 people for 5 minutes each read Bruni Prasskes "Mögen deine Hände niemals schmerzen".
This book was interesting enough but mostly for people who have a very clicheed image of Iran. The author tries to come across as open and worldly but he actually writes that North America had no culture 10000 years ago (um, ever heard of the First Nations/Native Americans? I guess not). Also, his sweeping generalizations of "
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carmel North
This german traveller's perspective on Iran highlighted a subset of the population: english speaking Iranians who are active on couchsurfing. The encounters recorded provided insight into the dynamic between forward thinking citizens of the oppressive theocracy that is the Iranian government. I am grateful for all that I learned from this book about the ridiculous normality of people who happened to be born in Iran. The syntax of the writing was unwieldy at times, but the roguish humor made of f ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

A solid read about Orth’s adventures couch surfing his way through Iran. From towns of millions to villages of hundreds, Orth is adamant on getting away from the tourist traps and heading off the beaten track and into the daily lives of everyday Iranians. Filled with stories of the people he meets and the journeys he takes, Couch Surfing in Iran is a rare glimpse into what is often a hidden world.

If you enjoy travel memoirs, then this book translated from Orth’s original memoir in Germa
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Stephan Orth, Jahrgang 1979, verfasste als Sechsjähriger sein erstes Buch mit dem Titel "Die 10 Soldaten" (bislang unveröffentlicht). Später Studium der Fächer Anglistik, Psychologie und Journalismus. Von 2008 bis 2016 arbeitete er als Redakteur im Reiseressort von SPIEGEL ONLINE, bevor er sich als Autor selbständig machte. Besitzt fünf Rucksäcke, vier Schlafsäcke und drei Zelte, aber keinen Rollk ...more

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“Es gibt keine schlechten Orte, wenn du reist, um Mensen zu treffen", sagt Saeed.
[There are no bad places, when you travel to meet people]”
“[Nach vielen Nächten in Privatwohnungen kann ich den Aufenthalt im Hotel niet genießen, auch wenn das Bett bequemer ist als jeder Teppich] Wer häufig das Echte erlebt, schärft seinen Blick für die Inszenierung. [Die Freundlichkeit des Personals fühlt sich anders an als die Freundlichkeit meiner Gastgeber. Weil ich dafür bezahle, dass sie nett zu mir sind.]” 0 likes
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