Day 3 – Lebanon Tour
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.
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…