Lebanon Day 1 (UPDATED)

29 05 2011

I would have loved to post daily from Lebanon, but the internet was incredibly spotty and we were way to busy.  So I am doing a retro blog for each day.  Hopefully I will pump them out this week, but life is always hectic.

So, we arrived in Beirut around 1130 after an hour flight from Amman.

We got our rental car and drove north through Beirut to Zouk Mikael.  Everyone told us driving in Beirut was bad, but we thought how much worse than Jordan could it be?  Well it is worse.  Its like taking the bad driving habits of Jordan and adding heavier traffic and scooters.  In any case, we made it through Beirut fine, it was either my sense of direction or dumb luck because it was impossible to follow the directions I had printed or the poor maps we had with us.  Also that was the only time we ever navigated Beirut successfully.  Unfortunately it was impossible to find our guesthouse.  The directions weren’t great, but the main issue was that the place had no sign!  We asked around, with most people speaking to us in French (I should have boned up on my French, wasn’t thinking), when a nice restaurant manager called the guesthouse for us and we got it all sorted out.

After checking out our digs we tried to go to the Jeitta Grotto, which unfortunately was closed for cleaning for the day.  So we went to Nahr al-Khalb (Dog River).  It is named this because in antiquity a statue of a wolf was positioned as a sentry overlooking the Mediterranean.  All major foreign powers who invaded these lands had to pass this river by way of a narrow road.

So many of them left inscriptions along the cliff face.

Update: I should also note that in the above picture it is no surprise that Esarhaddon on his return from defeating the Egpytians in 671 BCE decided to erect an inscription next to one from Ramesses II.  A little extra insult to the Egyptians perhaps?

After this little excursion we got dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant (Angela got lasagna and I got shwarma pizza, we both got mint lemonade) and retired for the evening.

The next day we went north to Byblos, Batroun, Tripoli, and a couple of other sites (yes we packed in a lot).



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