Living in Lebanon – part 2

One of the things that made me love Lebanon like no other country was its abundance of places to visit and spend time. You ca go to the beach, to the forest, to the mountains and of course to the cliff. Now, it is true that not everywhere is safe, but 3/4 of the best places here are. 

Let’s start with Beirut. This is for sure an amazing location especially around sunset. You can take a walk on the Corniche, go to Zeytouna Bay, Beirut by Bike, Downtown, Hamra and many other places. You want peace and quiet? A walk near the sea is perfect. You want to party wild? The pubs in Hamra and Gemayzhe will always be there for you. Downtown got pretty lonely though. Once upon a time, when the war in 2006 hadn’t started yet, “Place d’Etoile” was filled witImage

with locals and tourists. Now, you barely see a kid riding a bike or playing with a kite. Yes, after all the bad things, people started to forget how beautiful time there used to be. Restaurants are empty and if you see a group of tourists taking pictures then it’s a novelty. One thing that I recall very well is my husband’s reaction when he took me there 🙂 : “Wow! It’s empty!”.

Regardless the fact that it is quite an expensive place, it used to be stuffed with nosy people who liked to check out others. Funny enough, this doesn’t seem to be a problem. Everybody was aware of the fact that you couldn’t go anywhere without looking your best. Gossip is not uncommon in Beirut or anywhere in Lebanon, but most people will never admit it. Everybody says that people gossip and they really dislike it, but what they don’t realize, or do, is that they gossip sometimes even more. Well, you cannot blame them. It seems like the mentality promoted is ” be better than everybody else”. In a nutshell, make sure the hyenas do not catch you and watch out for crows. It is not easy to live in Lebanon. It’s not like Western Europe where nobody pays attention to you, but here it’s a matter of taste.

Nonetheless,Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, is not defined by its gossips. This place on Earth has a history that goes way back to the Hellenistic and Roman period. It goes back more than 5000 years ago. Downtown one can find a city within a city decorated with Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman traces. The ruins speak to you, and one can notice how wonderful this amazing capital has risen around its ancestors. Apart from its cultural history, the religious aspect plays an important role. A variety of beliefs can be found one near the other. The majestic Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque and Church of Saint George Maronite are neighbors, and a few steps away there is Saint George Orthodox Cathedral. Impressive no? This mixture created many conflicts around the world, but here they seem to get along just fine. At least, that’s the overall impression. 

Beirut was seen as “the Paris of the Middle East”, and it’s a pity that things had to change. However, Lebanon is still among the most popular tourist attractions in the Middle East and a placed loved by many. 

 

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