Day 2 (June 24) – Beirut and Locations North and East

So I’m a little behind, mostly due to needing sleep. Jet lag hit me finally sometime yesterday, and I was just wiped.

Our second day was mostly sight-seeing, with a trip north out of the city, paralleling the Mediterranean for quite a while before turning east over the mountains. Our trip through the mountains was stunning, with winding, serpentine roads zig-zagging upward, as the incline was too steep to go straight up. For instance, this is what we could see out of the bus windows:

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Our first stop was the Khalil Gibran museum. I had always known of Gibran as a poet, but never as an artist. I’m sure I will post a much lengthier post once I’m back and have a better internet connection. But for now, it was a gorgeous home, built into the side of a mountain overlooking a primarily Maronite town. In the basement is his actual burial site and small shrine-like area. His art was hung in all the rooms of the quite large house.

From there we went to the Cedars National Forest. It was absolutely stunning! We walked through a lot of it before stopping for lunch at the far end. Unfortunately, my camera’s battery died halfway through the forest, so I had to use my iPhone for backup. Note to self: Take a backup camera with me from now on.

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Did I mention we got to play in the snow? Um, yes. The mountains really are that high, and the road over to our next destination cut thru leftover snow (that was still like 10 feet deep!) Like this:

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Ok, so maybe like 15 feet…

My favorite part by far was our trip to Baalbek/Heliopolis, bringing my Decapolis count up to three (maybe four? Did Pella count? I doubt it.). I love ruins far too much. Especially when we’re allowed to climb around on them. The US would freak out! Anyways, here are some pictures!

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We stopped at a skee-ball, carnival-type thing (think like the boardwalk in MD) on the way back (I’m going to add better details to all of these entries later). Dinner that night at a high-end traditional Lebanese restaurant and in bed sometime after midnight. We started with mezze (a series of small dishes. Like appetizers, but generally a bit heavier) consisting of hummus, baba ghanoush, cheese wrapped in fried filo, tabouli, fatoush, etc. Dinner was primarily different types of grilled meats, served with bread. Dessert was a creamy cheese-based dessert sprinkled with nuts and crispy bits (think like shredded wheat, but finer). All-in-all, a pretty awesome day!

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