Rick Steves in Iran

Rick Steves is the kind of guy who can tell you where to find the best Chianti in Tuscany. No one would label him an intrepid travel journalist… Until now. Steves, known as the host of PBS shows about traveling in Europe, recently went somewhere that few people in his line of work have gone before, Iran.

He spent 10 days traveling through the country earlier this summer, camera crew in tow. Though the show filmed during the trip will not be aired until next January (on PBS, of course), Steves related some of his Persian experiences on his blog.

He was also interviewed recently by Budget Travel Magazine. He related how he found the strict theocracy to be quite stifling, but how Iranian people were surprisingly friendly, good humored, even mischievous. “I’ve never had so much fun talking with people.”

Should Steves Iran journey inspire you to pack you bags, keep this in mind: all travelers are required to be led by a registered travel guide. Sound intimidating? It’s not really so bad, at least according to Steves. “I met a lot of Europeans using a Lonely Planet guidebook, and they technically had a guide, but he was off somewhere having tea.

Photo from Flickr user Jayne Dough