Jay

Day 14 – Beirut

Posted on April 6, 2018

And we will come back home, home again.

Our final day in Lebanon started fairly slow, with a bit of a sleep-in, then breakfast at the hotel. We heard that Fadi’s family had decided to drive to Beirut to see us one more time before we left which was a nice surprise.

We booked a nearby restaurant for a late lunch (on the hotel’s recommendation), and got ready and rested for their arrival. It was around 4pm when they arrived, and after some greetings, we all walked down to the restaurant, which was a seafood place down on the water (crossing busy streets with over 20 people is fun!).

It was good to have one final meal with everyone, though the restaurant wasn’t great. Probably the worst meal we had on our trip, so that was a nice way to end things! Afterwards we walked back and hung out in the hotel lobby, while chatting and ordering some sweets for dessert.

Once it reached 9pm, our taxi arrived to take us to the airport, so we had another extended goodbye, followed by the dreaded beginning to our long journey home.

Our first flight, from Beirut to Doha (4hrs) was at 1:30am, and I somehow managed to sleep through most of it (rare for me). Then we had a few hours wait until our Doha to Sydney flight (14hrs), which again I managed surprisingly well (slept for maybe 6 or 7 hours of it). I think it’s because on both flights there was an empty seat next to me, so there was a lot more space.

Lastly, we had a couple hours until our Sydney to Sunshine Coast flight (supposed to be a little over 1hr, but delays made it 2-3hrs). It’s good to finally be home though!

Overall, not a bad holiday. In fact, I would go as far as to say it was a good holiday.

Day 13 – Beirut

Posted on April 4, 2018

5 minutes.

As predicted, a day of sleep, relaxation, and catching up on photos. Not much else to report really.

I went downstairs for a quick breakfast, before heading back up to process yesterdays photos and write the blog. The others meanwhile went out to do some shopping.

In the afternoon we went down for a drink and a snack, before the others had a quick nap. Then in the evening, the few of us that were awake enough walked down to Zaitunay Bay for dinner.

I have a feeling tomorrow will be similar, as it’s our last day. Our flight isn’t until 1:30am the following day though, so we have a full day to do what we want here.

Day 12 – Baalbek

Posted on April 3, 2018

How do you take a photo?

Today was one of our biggest days yet. We left our hotel bright and early around 7:30am, and met up with some of our Sydney family who are also visiting at the moment. We packed ourselves into a big van, and drove out of Beirut, towards our cousin Fadi’s house, who was going to be taking us around for the day.

We drove away from the city, through the scenic fields and mountains once more, before arriving at the house which he had built entirely himself, from the ground up over the past few years.

We got to meet his family and see his house, located in what seems like open farmland, with the mountains surrounding on all sides, where just over the mountain top is the Syrian border.

They bought a whole lot of munoosh, and laid out a range of cheeses, labneh, olives etc. for our breakfast – all locally sourced. We ate, and talked, and relaxed, before piling up in two cars and driving to our main destination for the day, Baalbek.

First in Baalbek, we were taken to┬áThe Sayyida Khawla Shrine, where locals come to pray and pay their respects. It is a beautifully built shrine and has a quiet peace to it. Apparently it is where the prophet’s granddaughter died so they built this shrine here, around her grave and tree she was buried under.

From there, we walked the short distance to the Baalbek Roman Ruins. They are some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Lebanon, including a huge temple at its center.

We had a tour guide of sorts, showing us around and explaining the history of various things, but since I couldn’t understand what he was saying, I wandered off to explore myself and take photos.

Fadi’s son came with me and became my new bestie. I mostly followed him around as he climbed over the ruins and rocks, and took a few photos when I could.

After exploring the main area, we went down to the main temple to have a look there and take more photos. It’s pretty incredible how many of the ruins are preserved.

It was incredibly hot and sunny though, so we headed off to the final underground area which was a sort of museum with different artifacts and information.

By the time we left Baalbek, it was late afternoon, soon to be sunset. We drove further up the mountain, climbing up towards the peak for a while, before arriving at the cliff-side restaurant where we were going to eat dinner. The owner had built this himself too, and although there’s not much to see at the entrance (which is a pretty hidden door next to a petrol station), once you walk in to the main restaurant, it opens up and you have an amazing view looking down over Lebanon, with snowcapped mountains all around.

A big selection of mezze was soon brought out, followed by the usual meats. It was a great way to end the day, and what felt like, to end the trip. This would be the last we would see our Lebanon family on this trip, so we all enjoyed eating, talking and taking in the view as day turned to night.

When we had finally finished eating, and drinking various teas and such, the owner of the restaurant took us down to his collection/museum he had set up under the restaurant. He had built these tunnels and filled them with items he had either bought/collected, or made himself. There was a lot of stuff, from a lot of different periods of time, so he just gave us a quick walk-through.

At last, it came time to say goodbye and head our separate ways. It was sad to be leaving so soon, and my new bestie was very sweet as we left. After our extended goodbyes, we drove off back down the mountain, towards the glowing lights of the city far below. It was a pretty long drive, so we all tried to sleep until we made it to the hotel.

Once there, we said goodbye to the driver and his family, before turning in for the night. It was maybe 11pm or 12am at this point, so I just downloaded the photos from my camera and went straight to bed. Doing the sorting, processing and uploaded in the morning, hence the late post.

We have two more days in Lebanon before we leave, and it seems like we won’t be doing a whole lot, as we need today to recover from yesterday, and then tomorrow we need to be ready for our flights (oh god…).

Day 11 – Beirut

Posted on April 2, 2018

Hotel, sweet hotel.

An early start today, as we had to pack our things, clean up, get showered, dressed and ready by 8:00am. Oh and our electricity wasn’t working all morning, so that made things even more fun!

A scramble later, and we were picked up and driven to Beirut, to the hotel we’ll be staying in for the remainder of our trip. Oh and we picked up some kanafeh sandwiches on the way, which was unexpected, but pretty good. We only stopped to check in, drop off our bags and meet up with Zena, before heading back out for the day (Zade was sick and stayed back).

Our first destination was an old mosque located up the mountains a bit. There wasn’t a whole lot to see, but there was a nice man who showed us around and explained the various historical significance of each room.

Next up was Moussa Castle, which was built entirely by Moussa Abdel Karim Al Maamari and houses many of his creations, as well as historical items and weaponry from different periods.

From there, we went to lunch at an outdoor restaurant, surrounded by trees, a lake and a waterfall. There was live music and a set mezze/meat/fruit menu (no complaints here) which made for a nice atmosphere. Though when you’re eating under a tree, you have to be prepared to have random leaves and things fall onto your plates. But an otherwise great meal.

Everyone was pretty tired by this point (not to mention I had begun another sneeze attack), so we headed back to the hotel to get an early rest before our tour tomorrow. I took more photos than I thought though, so no early night for me!

Older Posts