Lebanon 2018

Day 1 – Beirut

Posted on March 23, 2018

Is that the longest day ever?

Day 1 in Beirut was an interesting one. It started at about 8am on a Wednesday, in Sydney. We woke up, had breakfast, and got ready for our flight that afternoon. We arrived at the airport around midday and had some time to check-in, have lunch (what a kebab…) and wait around for our 4pm flight.

Begrudgingly, we took off at about 4:15pm, headed on our 15hr flight to Doha. I’ll spare you the boring details of the flight.

We arrived in Doha at 11:30pm local time, and I was suitably tired, having only managed to sleep a couple of hours at the most. From there, we had a short rest, before boarding our flight to Beirut. Another 4 or 5 hours later, we finally arrived in Beirut, just as the sun was rising. I managed a couple more hours of half-sleep during this flight luckily.

We found our way to the hotel we’re staying in, which is quite a nice place, and had some much needed showers. Once refreshed, we headed out to begin our day in Beirut with some well-deserved traditional breakfast. Not to mention, the best orange juice I’ve ever had. Seriously, how was it so good?

The rest of the day was spent in downtown Beirut, which seems to be a more modern part of the city. There are a lot of shops and restaurants around, a lot of which reminds me of parts of Europe. Wide cobblestone streets, Parisian-looking buildings.

We also came across a large Mosque, which was closed unfortunately, but still got to see around it.

In the afternoon, we came across some markets which were being set up for later that evening (there was also a stage being set up for a concert of sorts). After perusing there, we sat down nearby to rest and have a drink. I opted for Mango juice this time. Wasn’t as good.

Our plan was to then head back to the apartment for a rest, before returning to the markets when it was in full swing with the music and all later that evening. Soon after we got back, we all wanted a quick nap. It was around 6pm at the point I went to sleep.

Turns out, I was really tired. I woke up at 6am the next morning, and it seems everyone else did basically the same. Except for dinner. I missed out on that (apparently they tried, but couldn’t wake me). No matter. It is now early morning, as I catch up on processing photos and writing this.

I’m eating my leftover dinner, cold, as I write. It’s still pretty good.

Day 2 – Beirut

Posted on March 24, 2018

What defines a nap? Is it duration or time of day?

You already know how today started, if you read the previous post. If not… too bad. Our first destination today was Raouche, which is apparently a quite famous area, specifically for the rocks located there (pictured above). We walked the ten minutes or so along the waterside road to get there.

We ate breakfast at a great restaurant overlooking the rocks and ocean. Orange juice report – amazing. Slightly less so than the first place, but still far above the norm. More orange juice reports to come.

After breakfast, the others went to some spa/facial type thing they had booked yesterday, which left me some time to catch up on photos/blog/internet things back at the hotel.

When they returned, we had a short break before dressing up and heading out to another strip along the water, lined with restaurants. We had another great Lebanese meal, (this time with much meat), and some intense philosophical questions (what defines a nap? Is it duration or time of day?), followed by dessert and subsequent food coma.

Oh and the orange juice was great, but a little on the sour side. A bit sweeter and it would have been perfect. I want to try some from a juice bar to see if a specialty in juice is a contributing factor.

Day 3 – Lebanon Tour

Posted on March 25, 2018

Kimono is come from the Greek word himona, is mean winter.

Today was a big one. We had booked a day tour yesterday, and set out nice and early this morning, eager to venture outside of Beirut and see more of the country. Our first destination was the ancient city of Byblos.


Byblos is the oldest city in Lebanon, dating back to 6000 BC. It has been invaded and conquered many times over the years, and the result is a mix of ruins and excavated structures from many different civilisations.

We explored the fortress, walked around the main site, learned about its history, and got to venture down a tunnel where a huge sarcophagus had previously been buried for a king.

Outside of the main archaeological site, there were a few picturesque streets with markets and shops surrounding. We didn’t get too long there, but may return another day.

Unfortunately during this time, Zara got progressively more ill. Zade’s a good brother though.

Jeita Grotto

After Byblos, our next stop was at Jeita Grotto. This is two large caves, an upper cave and a lower one, which is naturally formed, millions of years old, and features some amazing stalactites/stalagmites, all formed purely by water and time.

Much to my dismay, no photography was allowed inside the caves. You’ll have to just use Google for that I’m afraid.

They were really amazing though. The upper caves had a path you could walk through, which led to an area I would liken to the Mines of Moria. Huge, deep pits, and openings far above too, with distant lights showing the depth of the caves. There were crazy formations and shapes formed by the water over the many many years (the water is rich in calcium, and it drips, slowly building up and forming these bizarre solids – roughly 1cm is added per century).

The lower caves were fairly similar, though you had to take a boat to see them, as there is somewhat of a lake below. It was a nice peaceful glide through, once again though, no photos.

Outside the caves, we had a short journey to our final destination, Harissa.


Harissa is way up in the mountains, and had a few things to see. Firstly, there was the big basilica constructed there, which is shaped like a Cedar tree when you look at it from above (again, Google will have to prove this one). It is fairly modern, but still quite nice, inside and out.

Just behind this, is Our Lady of Lebanon, which is a large statue of Mary which faces out over Beirut. There is also a great panoramic view of Lebanon from up there, though it was a very foggy day, so it was a struggle to get clear photos. There were also a few Cedar trees up here, which were cool to see.

The final stop for our tour was a nearby restaurant for some well-deserved lunch. Lebanese meze and mixed grill – classic. From there, we journeyed back to our hotel, tired and ready to rest. Tomorrow we leave Beirut for Tripoli, but might be stopping at some sights on the way, we’ll see.

Right now it’s currently only 9pm and I’m struggling to stay awake… what has this place done to me…

Day 4 – Tripoli

Posted on March 26, 2018

Ahlan wa sahlan!

Just a quick one today, as we didn’t do a whole lot. We checked out of our hotel in Beirut by 11am, heading out to brunch before our drive to Tripoli. We opted to eat at the same place we had dinner the other night, since we knew it was good. There was also a Juice Bar nearby, so we were able to get some specialty juice! Can confirm, was amazing.

After our food, we went on the hour or so drive to Tripoli, to the apartment we’re staying in (which is owned by one of our relatives). We settled in, then headed out for a walk around the area to get our bearings. Turns out one of the electoral candidates was visiting nearby today, so it wasn’t the best day for a stroll.

There were convoys of cars adorned with posters/signs, blaring music and beeping their horns obnoxiously. Not to mention the large amount of military driving around. But we found some nearby restaurants, a supermarket, and surprisingly a gaming lounge. Might have to check it out.

Once we had finished our stroll, we bought some supplies from the supermarket and headed back to rest before our family in Tripoli came to visit. Some of them are pictured above!

It’s nice to meet family here, though conversation can always be difficult with the language barrier. We had some nice kanafeh though, which is the main thing.

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