Moving up the coast

Tripoli Travel Blog

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Clock tower in Tripoli.

 

The other Tripoli

This morning I moved up the coast from Beirut to the second largest city, Tripoli (Trablous) ... which bears the same name as the one in Gaddafi-land (Libya).  The coastline is very built up along most of the way with high-rise apartments, beach clubs, factories etc. 

One thing I’m certain of is that Beirut is the place for the rich and the beautiful ... but you don’t have to wander far (eg. southern Beirut) to see Yemen-like conditions.  That’s the same in Tripoli.  The divide between rich and poor is quite great.

It is easy to forget that Tripoli is a large modern city as well ... over the years and even now, I have to keep reminding myself that Tripoli is in Lebanon .

The main square; gotta pull out the pics from 2002 to compare. Can't remember it being so smart.
.. not Syria.  It just seems like worlds apart from modern Beirut that I tend to associate it (around the Old City anyway) with Damascus and Aleppo.

I do faces really well

This morning, as I was making my way to my “Pension Haddad”, a man offered to help me ... he said that he is Haddad’s neighbour.  At that point I recognised that he was the owner of the Pension we stayed with 8 years ago which was opposite Haddad.  I apologised profusely for not staying with him this time as he had renovated and put the prices up substantially ... he had gone a bit upmarket.

Meet the Haddads

My Pension is interesting :

  • Coming up to the 2nd floor (English designation), was a shocker.  The stairs was filled with rubbish including blood-stained tissues.
    The main square; gotta pull out the pics from 2002 to compare.
  • It is an extended family with grandmother, mother, daughter, aunt etc. 
  • I have a room with three beds; so not sure if you call that a dorm room ... it has a balcony where they hang their washing so I suppose I have to leave the door open for them during the day to access.  It gives them air and light too into their living room.

Is the Magic still there?

Tripoli’s main attraction is the Citadel of St Gilles of Toulouse.  It’s part of the Crusader movement down the Levant in the 1100s but what we see now was rebuilt in the 1300s.  Second time round, it is still more than impressive.  It’s quite surreal that you can have a 700 year old Crusader citadel with an Middle Eastern medieval  labyrinth and modern city all side-by-side.

Maamoul (cake) shaped soap.
 

The soap factory has changed a bit in the last 8 years.  They made plain blocks of soap (of different colours and scents) then.  Now, they are nicely packaged and they even have soaps shaped like cakes ... my favourite is the ma’amoul shaped soap. 

It’s not quite the special treatment we got 8 years ago when we got given a private tour by the kids, of the upper level why they dry their cannonball soap of different colours and scents ... followed by a clamber on the rooftop and hopping on the neighbouring ones including the hammam!

Yes, the magic is still there second time around.  It’s not quite the same but there are lots of finer points I’m picking up on second time round (including in the cuisine) that makes it very rewarding too. 

 

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Clock tower in Tripoli.
Clock tower in Tripoli.
The main square; gotta pull out th…
The main square; gotta pull out t…
The main square; gotta pull out th…
The main square; gotta pull out t…
Maamoul (cake) shaped soap.
Maamoul (cake) shaped soap.
Soap factory; gotta pull out the p…
Soap factory; gotta pull out the …
Nicely packaged soap now.
Nicely packaged soap now.
In the souq.
In the souq.
Salon Jihad.
Salon Jihad.
You dont have to get far to get a…
You don't have to get far to get …
You dont have to get far to get a…
You don't have to get far to get …
You dont have to get far to get a…
You don't have to get far to get …
You dont have to get far to get a…
You don't have to get far to get …
From St Gilles Citadel.
From St Gilles Citadel.
From St Gilles Citadel.
From St Gilles Citadel.
From St Gilles Citadel.
From St Gilles Citadel.
From St Gilles Citadel.
From St Gilles Citadel.
Inside the Citadel.
Inside the Citadel.
Tripoli Hostels review
Homely place but don't let the entrance put you off
Arriving can be a shocker ... the stairs was dark, dingy and downright filthy. Parts were littered with rubbish including blood-stained tissues. I… read entire review
Tripoli
photo by: alexchan