Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Long weekend in Lebanon

Finally came spring and along with it a nice long weekend thanks to the Syrian Revolution Day and the birthday of the Prophet. With no intention of spending a four-day weekend in Damascus I went with two friends to Lebanon. Roheet and Bo had spend some time preparing this trip, I only decided to go the night before, so I didn’t quite know what I had agreed to….but as most often it is at those times the best experience occur – and this time was no exception.

Most of Friday was spend in Beirut looking for a slightly reliable car rental company. Obviously, rental cars are not insured there and it took us a while to find a place when the writing in small did not imply bankruptcy for all of us in case of an accident or theft. However, eventually we managed to get a car and get out of Beirut.

Lebanon is a very small country and easy to travel in. We drove into the mountains with great views of snow topped mountains on one side and the Mediterranean on the other side. We made a small stop on the way in Deir al-Qamar, a cosy small village, for some lunch and supplies. We then continued to El Barouk where the entrance to Chouf Natur Reserve is. Here we found a wonderful guesthouse with the best home cooked food I have had so far in this region.

We were planning on a full days hike in the park. Supposedly there would be nicely marked trails and lots of beautiful nature. Whether this was the case we never found out since the place was buried under about a meter of snow. It takes more to stop us though and we managed to hike for five hours in the snow. Though it was cold for the feet, the sun was shining and the views were amazing.

Next day we continued our road trip. First stop was Beit Eddin and a nice old palace, we then continued on to a marsh area and ended up – by accident (I shall say no more but those of you how knows how bad I am at giving directions can probably guess) - in Baalbek. Besides from being Hezbollah land with lots of signs thereof it is also home of an amazing old ruin town – definitely worth visiting.

Last night was spend in Beirut and lucky for me and my credit cards there were room for three hour power shopping Monday morning before heading back to good old Damascus.

Petra - a new wonder of the world

Situated in Jordan, more than 2000 years old Petra is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Middle East - I went straight on the beaten track....