Moving up the coast
Tripoli Travel Blog› entry 11 of 32 › view all entries
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 .
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.
- 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.
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.