From Harissa we went on to Byblos (Jbail). It is one of the oldest continually inhabited towns in the world. Papyrus was shipped through here by the Phoenicians in route to Egypt. The name is thought to be derived from the ancient Greek bublos meaning papyrus. The name was later adapted to the work Bible for the one and only book.
Byblos is also considered to be the birthplace of the modern alphabet. The bus dropped us off and we weaved our way through the beautifully restored souq (market). There was lots to see and buy. Along the way young beggars would come up and give you the most pitiful look and hold out their hands.
We arrived at the Crusader’s castle which was built by the Franks in the 12th century. We saw a number of artifacts, but h the majority and best had been moved to the national Museum in Beirut, where Rob had gone the day before. We were able to see the layout of the castle and Roman columns. Roman ruins had been pillaged to build the castle. At this point we were all starving but we has one more stop before lunch, Memorie du Temps Fossil Museum. It is run by Pierre Abi-Saad. He displays and sales a variety of fossils found near Byblos at 800 meters above sea level. He has specimens of extinct fish, stingrays, eels, shrimp, octopus, and other creatures dating back 100 million years. We purchased a beautiful specimen to take home.
From here it was finally time to eat. We headed to a restaurant on the beach. What a spectacular day. The water was an aqua color like glacier water. After a tasty lunch, Rob and I went down and got our feet wet for a couple of minutes before we had to leave. There were lots of people out, mostly men, swimming and fishing. I was really stunned by how beautiful this beach was. I would come here, again, just for the beaches.
Back of the bus we headed back to Beirut. Once they dropped us at the hotel we relaxed a little then grabbed dinner and checked email. We called it an early night because the next day we were scheduled to start at 5:45 to head to Damascus. Out Syrian visas were approved!!!