“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” Sir Richard Burton
I love to travel. Travel opens up new places, people, cultures and experiences but some places I consider a more challenging prospect than others, but that is probably just my naivety or what I have perceived from the media, aren’t we all a little guilty of that? This inherited trepidation doesn’t stop me wanting to explore the world (as yet) and a long weekend in the Lebanese mountains via Beirut was our latest adventure.
I was slightly uneasy about our trip to be honest as all really know about Beirut (where we were due to land) is its war-torn history, the destruction and unrest that has plagued this Middle Eastern city has been well documented throughout the years. We were well equipped however as one of our group is native Lebanese, has a house in Beirut, speaks the language fluently, is not phased by the driving (Oh My God, the driving!!) and most importantly does not take NO for an answer!
Beirut is a resilient city for sure, where East meets West, chaotic but with a certain charm, lined on one side by the Mediterranean Sea and flanked by Mount Lebanon on the other. Some of the destruction is still plain to see but it goes hand in hand with mass rebuilding, army and police presence is visible, there’s even the odd road block but we saw nothing untoward or worrying during our brief time there. In fact the worst thing we witnessed was uncollected rubbish lining the streets caused by the six month garbage crisis. Just last month luxury travel magazine/website Conde Nast named Beirut as the eleventh most beautiful city in their 50 Most Beautiful Cities in the World round-up.
The traffic was crazy, absolutely NO rules apply but we made it across the city safely, enjoyed a traditional home-style lunch with great city views and then began our ascent in convoy up the mountain to nearby Faraya. Located in the heart of Mount Lebanon, Faraya village where we stayed, is actually located just below the Mzaar Kfardebian (previously known as Faraya Mzaar) ski resort, just under an hour’s drive from Beirut itself. The skiing season in Lebanon is about four months long much the same as the Alps, I was really impressed with the resort itself, the amount of snow especially considering it was sweltering in the city and the ease of hiring good equipment. Another big surprise for me was the quality of restaurants in the mountains, they were just amazing (more of that to come in a later post) and we certainly enjoyed some fabulous food.
As it’s just a short four hour flight with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi, Beirut and Mount Lebanon are easily accessible, a perfect place to visit for a long weekend of winter sports with family and friends. Here’s a look at our trip in pictures 🙂
The views in this post are all my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Additional photos are used courtesy of Millie Brett, thank you for contributing.