restaurant

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!

Day 8 – Tripoli

Posted on March 30, 2018

Go fish.

Today was all about food and family. And boy oh boy was there a lot of food. We got to sleep in a bit, before meeting up with family at a nearby restaurant for lunch. Here’s a snippet of our meal.

I filled up on the huge amount of mezze provided, before realising the meat was still to come. Chicken, lahmeh, kefta – stacks on stacks on stacks. I forced some down (as well as two orange juices, which were 9/10’s), and then out came the dessert and fruit.

Another huge food coma later, we went back to our relatives house which was next door to the restaurant. The house was huge, right on the water, and super fancy.

We hung out there, took some photos had more dessert, drinks and played cards until the evening. I think this is the third day in a row we’ve eaten so much to be bursting at the seams.

It sounds like tomorrow will be another chill family day, so may not be many photos. I’ll try and get some though.

Day 6 – Lebanon Tour

Posted on March 28, 2018

No more s’mores, no more s’mores.

We started our morning with breakfast delivered to the apartment (munoosh, labneh), before getting picked up by our driver for the day to take us to a few different sites.

Firstly, we drove down to the sea and walked around down there. It was nice, yet somehow familiar…

We soon realised we were down at the water at Byblos, so had a bit of a stop in to the markets there again to shop and get a drink. One spilled drink later, and we were off!

Afterwards, we got picked up and drove further along the coast to get to the seafood restaurant in which we were going to have lunch. It had an alright view.

This place was super fancy though, to my dismay. My main issue with fancy restaurants (portion size) was definitely not a problem here. There were five courses, each of which I could have eaten and been full. Entrees, cold mezze, hot mezze, main, dessert, coffee. It’s 9pm now and I’m still not hungry.

Though the food and location were great, the fanciness meant constant waiters hovering around, pouring water every ten seconds, aligning plates and glasses, serving each food item onto individual plates, and just generally fussing about. Just let me serve my own food dammit!

The highlights of the meal was the fluffy bread, the potato dishes (chilli and mashed with oil), and the dessert (rice pudding with sugar fluff). We were at the restaurant for three hours, and eating for most of that time (I was too busy with all the food to take photos unfortunately. Rest assured, there was enough food for another four people, so we had a lot of leftovers! We gave them to the driver to give to someone who needs it).

Upon completion of our food comas, we left to head back to the apartment, stopping to top up our mobile internet data (I won’t get into the hassle of that).

Then it was back home for some rest, a game of checkers, and the usual tiredness which leads to me staying home while the parentals go visit some family.

Older Posts