A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about sea

What do you think this is: some kind of holiday??

Our last stop in Lebanon was Byblos and neither of us wanted to leave :(

Contender for one of the oldest inhabited towns in the world and seat of the written word you wouldn't really know it now because in the 60s Byblos was a hang out for the rich and famous who would come and party in the harbour. All because of a man who owned the super chilled "fishing club" bar/restaurant who was famous for "knowing how to throw a party". What a briliant thing to be remembered for. There are photos of him all over the walls with all the film stars of the day (bardot etc.) to royalty!

There are also sandy beaches, streets of bars, upmarket souks, some prehistoric and roman ruins, fish restaurants in the harbour and a little campsite just out of town where we had planned to camp but decided to upgrade to permanent tents/bungalows called tengalows which just 3 metres wide contain two beds and a little bathroom pod between them and nothing more but I would happily have moved in.

We had a view of the med and palm trees from the seats/table outside our little tengalow and access to a private entry to the water. Next door were Steve and his fiancee Sam from London who we had met briefly in a restaurant in Baalbeck (guess who has the same guide books ;)). Steve has just spent a year cycling round the world - through Iran and Afghanistan, Mongolia and all the stans...i can't even remember all the places. Very interesting and lovely people.

Nothing interesting to report really because we spent the whole time doing "holiday" things like blowing the budget a little on yummy fish platters and messing about in waves. We had meant to move on the next day but we were so relaxed here and the view was so amazing we decided to stay another day.

We had a great last night playing cards with Steve and Sam, talking travel, drinking arak and watching the moon turn orange as it set over the sea.

Could have stayed there for a week.

Posted by rachndave 08:50 Archived in Lebanon Tagged beaches sea ruins lodging Comments (0)

Turning up the volume

Last time I left you I think we were wondering the desolate streets of Beirut. Well things definitely picked up - until 8am :)

We spent the whole night and day with sweet Aileen, a young chinese girl who was taking a long weekend break away from working in the admin dept of a Jordanian factory. Her planned travel buddy was unfortunately turned away from the syrian border earlier in the day because they managed to find out that she had previously travelled to Israel. Poor lass. Aileen decided to go on alone, having never done anything like that before, and so we adopted each other in the taxi. We had a great day wandering around the bullet ridden streets, wandering round the smart redeveloped streets, going on the so-bad-its-good ferris wheel, swimming in the Med, chilling out in the green oasis of the American University, watching the street carnival in the student area and introducing Aileen to her first taste of Italian food (!) and her first Gin and Tonic.

There is a strange atmosphere sometimes. There are some beautiful old buildings with a definite old french feel - all balconies, shutters and frills round the edge - alongside the smart sleek modern buildings. But the old buildings are completely peppered with bullets, as are some of the monuments. It's hard to believe this city centre was a warzone. The new buildings definitely outnumber the old, although you wouldnt get that impression from our photos which is why i mention it :) There is no other sign that anything happened here, no one talks about it. But during the night of the festival people were letting off fireworks in the next street along and there were some very nervous looking people around. Sitting where we were we couldnt see the fireworks in the sky but could hear the explosions and echos through the streets and see the casings drop to earth and it certainly gave us a small window into what it must have been like in those streets during the 1980s.

We left Aileen to get a well earned nights sleep while we headed out with Sebastien, a super fun german guy we immediately hit it off with in our hostel, to a well known club in Beirut called B018. In Beirut people dont really start their night till after dinner which doesnt start till 9, so the bars get going around 12 and the clubs at 2. Our kind of town:)

It was a lovely little one room club, good crowd, staff tolerant to our late night cork-throwing silliness, we could dance on the tables and the roof opened several times during the night and sunrise.

We all happily fell into our beds at 8am that morning with sore feet and sore cheeks.

Only to drag ourselves out of bed at 2pm and off for some more sightseeing to the Jeita grotto: a 2km lonng cave chock full of the biggest stalegtites/mites you can imagine. All tastefully lit and even included a boat trip to reach the lower caves. A perfect cool, jaw-droppingly awesome place to spend an afternoon's hangover. We headed back to catch the second day of the street festival including local bands and food stalls - all very Dulwich - but we flagged and headed back to see if we could catch Sebastien again to potentially perk us up. Instead we met two lovely dutch girls - Amy and Daun - on the roof for some nightcap beers and together watched the dormant rooftop nightclub over the road get louder and louder and glitzier and flashier: not unlike our experience of the city itself.

Posted by rachndave 23:38 Archived in Lebanon Tagged sea history festivals cave clubbing Comments (1)

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