Category Archives: Iran

A Postcard from Shiraz

In front of the Shah Cheragh Mosque, a guard stops me: “Are you Muslim?” “To be perfectly honest, I am not.” “I’m sorry, Sir, but today the mosque is only open to Muslims,” he explains, referring to the festival of … Continue reading

Posted in Iran, Islam, Photography, Religion | Tagged | 4 Comments

Taarof, the most confusing thing about Iran

Zur deutschen Fassung dieses Berichts. The taxi ride through Tehran was short, but there was enough time to yield three surprises. First, the driver who had stopped for me was female. I had just arrived in Iran, with an image … Continue reading

Posted in Iran, Travel | Tagged | 7 Comments

“Couchsurfing in Iran” by Stephan Orth

Couchsurfing, staying with hitherto strangers for free, is a good way to get to know a country and its people. It’s even more rewarding in countries where you don’t speak the language and where you are sometimes a bit lost … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Iran, Travel | Tagged | 9 Comments

Random Thoughts (24)

Good news: the days are getting longer. Unless you live in the Southern hemisphere, then you are doomed to darkness. And unless you live on the equator, in which case you are missing out on something fabulous. My sister asked … Continue reading

Posted in Austria, Books, Brazil, Canada, Economics, Germany, Iran, Language, Politics, Religion, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Travel, UK, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi

I had long been too snobbish to read graphic novels. Cartoons like Tintin or Calvin & Hobbes are great, but when it comes to serious subjects, I prefer prose. Also, I read a lot on trains or in restaurants and … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Iran | Tagged | 10 Comments

Brexit Poetry

Everybody knows the line “no man is an island”, but nobody knows that when John Donne wrote Devotions upon Emergent Occasions in 1624, he actually warned of Brexit. No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Iran, Politics, UK | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Persian architecture in Georgia

Tbilisi is formed by so many different architectural styles, that it’s difficult to take a photo of just one. Here, the tower of a brick mosque and a wonderful wooden balcony are squeezing themselves into the picture. The building with … Continue reading

Posted in Georgia, Iran, Photography, Travel | Tagged | 6 Comments

Book Markets in the Middle East

In Iraq, booksellers leave the books at the side of the road overnight, thinking: “Readers don’t steal, and thieves don’t read.” That reminds me of an episode during my first visit to Iran. In a used-book shop, I found so … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Iran, Travel | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Random Thoughts (11)

Mohammad Mostafaei, the lawyer with whom I was arrested in Iran, has written a book. He says I am in it too, but I can’t read Norwegian, so I have to wait for a translation. Does anyone still remember José Echegaray … Continue reading

Posted in Books, France, Health, History, Human Rights, Iran, Language, Law, Mexico, Military, Politics, Sports, Statistics, Travel, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

After the Revolution

I am re-posting this article from 2015 because it seems that in Romania, the revolution is indeed never over: – – – This afternoon I had a brief exchange with a friend about the long-term effects of the Romanian revolution, probably … Continue reading

Posted in Books, History, Iran, Philosophy, Politics, Romania | Tagged | 8 Comments