“Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill your soul”– Jaime Lyn Beatty
This week I got back from Beirut. It was never a destination I’d thought much about before becoming crew. Merely due to preconceptions of the past but since going in December and again last weekend, it’s become one of my favourite trips now and this time did manage to go out to do some site seeing. Obviously we stayed away from any troubled areas and had a recommended driver who took us around and stayed with us throughout the day.
The Lady of Lebanon – Harissa
Around 27K north of Beirut, in the Keserwan District of the Mount Lebanon Governorate of Lebanon are the two villages of Harissa & Daraoun. Our first stop was to Harissa and from there we took the cable cars(Teleferique which cost around £3 GBP) from the port of Jounieh on the coast up to the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Lebanon. Honouring Mary, the mother of Jesus, it is known as one of the most important shrines in the world as she stretches her arms out towards Beirut. In the cable car, It only took 10 minutes to reach the top but once up there, as well as the seeing the statue of Mary, although it was a bit cloudy, the views were truly outstanding.
It was so peaceful up there as prayers were coming out of a speaker at regular intervals and you could see people were reflecting, praying and you could also light a candle for your own personal reasons.
After visiting The Lady of Lebanon, we then went to Byblos, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world as it is believed it was first occupied between 8800 BC and 7000 BC. Considering it was that old, it just looked so picturesque and perfect with its old buildings and port. It was a Sunday afternoon and it seemed to have a strong sense of family and lots were walking around and down by the waterside. There was a lot of cats as well and all seemed to be being fed and well looked after by the locals which is always a massive tick in the box for me.
After we had walked around for a while, we found a little restaurant called La Pirogue on Mina Street. It didn’t look much at first from the outside but we were welcomed in and really impressed with the friendly service, and the food was amazing. I went for the fried Calamare but we all just had a selection of foods and shared and to top off a fantastic day, we had a perfect view of the sun setting and a reason it’s become one of my favourite destinations now.