Time to wind down

Tripoli Travel Blog

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People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)

Tripoli is a place that you may think you have heard of, but in all likelihood you probably don't know this one, but more likely the one that is the capital of Libya! This Tripoli is located in the North West of Lebanon and is today famed for its sweets, although its History dates back to Phoenician times, when it became an important trading post on the Mediterranean Coast. This made it a target for invaders such as the Seleucids, Romans, Umayyads, Byzantines, Fatamids, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans, before falling into the hands of the French and finally becoming part of Lebanon.

Our bus arrived just before nightfall, so we made our way to the pleasant Hotel el Koura, which was centrally located.
The manager gave us a large en-suite double room with breakfast for $20, which we bargained down from $35, and this was great value. There was just enough time to have a quick look around town, so we went to Saahat et-Tall (Tall Square) where an attractive clock tower dominated the area. Also located here was the Al-Tabbal restaurant, which served up a mean chicken shwarma to cure our hunger. For dessert we went in search of some sweets, but we didn't buy any as they were four times the price of what they cost in Syria! Now i am not saying that maybe they couldn't taste a tiny bit better (Syria's are great), but surely anything that costs four times more would have to contain some gold or platinum for me to want to buy them!

I didn't wake up until 10.00 on Monday, as i had stayed up until 03.
00 watching 'The Matrix' on tv, but Tripoli doesn't have that much to see, so it wasn't really an issue. Whilst sat eating breakfast we decided that we had done enough travelling of late, so opted to spend an extra night in the City and take the chance to relax and wander around at a more leisurely pace. I have really been craving a beach resort for the last few months, to really wind down from all the travelling, but i guess that this will have to wait until Egypt.

As there wasn't any major site that we were bothered about seeing, we did away with the Lousy Planets map, which is often more harm than help, and set off with the aim of getting lost. After paying a quick visit to the Great Mosque, we also decided that we were done with Mosques, Hammams, Medressas and the likes, we had simply seen way too many to be getting excited over small ones.

Thus we walked through the narrow Souqs in the centre of the City, which were really charming and not too crowded. We bought some tasty coconut biscuits and fresh orange juice to snack on whilst wandering around, and also stopped off for a shwarma and fries, which we ate in a nice little garden, located just off Tall Square. After this we spent two or three hours walking around the less touristy areas, making the most of the afternoon sun, before heading home to watch some movies and chill out.

On Tuesday we left for Baalbek, although there was no direct transport, so we had to go via Beirut. The minivan driver was a real arsehole and after telling us the price in Tripoli, he then tried to charge us 50% more when we arrived, claiming that we had to pay for our bags, even though they didn't take up any extra seats.
In the end he kept an extra 25% as i didn't have the correct money and he wouldn't give me my change. Incredibly when we switched van in Beirut, the driver to Baalbek also ripped us off by quoting one price and then charging more and he didn't even take us to where he said he would, as he made us change vans halfway. It was all pretty frustrating, and in my experience i would say that most taxi and minivan drivers deserve to be publicly flogged, as they are the biggest bunch of cheats in the World!
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photo by: alexchan