To the shores of Tripoli ( and the Cedars of Bcharre)
Tripoli Travel Blog› entry 6 of 31 › view all entries
We left Beirut by shared taxi bound for Tripoli (within Lebanon, not the capital of Libya). That included a stop in Byblos for a few hours, to look at a crusader castle which proved to me more than just that. It had been built over several seaside settlements going back to some 7000 years ... with ruins and artifacts to show for it.
From there we walked onto the motorway to hitch a ride on a shared taxi to Tripoli. Confusion arose towards the end of the trip when the square we wanted to be dropped off at, shared the same name as a hill suburb. Fellow passengers and taxi-driver were kind and made cellphone calls to an English-speaking friend to clarify.
While Tripoli wasn't supposed to be the highlight of our stay in Lebanon, we went with the flow when the local showed their kindness ... being led up a pitch-dark stairwell to the upper level of a courtyard to see handmade soap being dried in the sun. Then clambering up to the arched roof to get a view of the old city ... climbing over the arches to look down at the domes of the nearby hammam (bath-house) which was studded with coloured glass (looked like end of coloured bottles, actually). Magical.
Tripoli was also a convenient point for popping over to the mountains to see the Cedars of Bcharre, the emblem on the Lebanese flag. Cedars are now a rarity due to exploitation throughout history ... for King Solomon's temple, for the Egyptians etc Only a small disappointing patch remained on the snowy slopes, but the overall journey to get there was very spectacular.. Lebanon is quite small and snow-capped mountains are visible from most points of the coast and the journey takes about an hour. Managed to get back to our pension for the Formula 1, fully narrated in Arabic.
We topped off our stay there with a visit to the crusader castle (yes, another one). Each window from the castle presented a delightfully different view of the city.