Beirut- Rising again!
Beirut Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
I had wanted to visit Lebanon as far back as I could remember. I recall the images of destruction on television from the '70s and '80s and knew that Lebanon was more than that.
I acquired a pass, through work, to anywhere in the Gulf Air network and decided to go to Beirut.
My trip started out in Reno, Nevada, where I caught a Southwest 737 to San Diego, with a stop in Las Vegas. I had worked earlier that day, doing a Flight Attendant check ride from Reno to Phoenix to Los Angeles and back to Reno, so I was extremely tired and still in uniform. I met my friend in San Diego and we took the Jetblue red eye flight to New York-Kennedy.
Arrival into Bahrain was smooth and we waited a couple of hours before the connection to Beirut on the Gulf Air 767. This flight was also routine and after a few hours, we were excited to be in Lebanon! Customs and Immigration were quick and smooth and they triple checked our passports to make sure there was no prior travel to Israel.
The next morning we left early to explore again. We headed out towards the Corniche this time and then went up around the "Green Line", which is the area that divided the city during the war. Later in the day, we took a taxi up to the mountains above the city. In the evening, we went down to the Corniche again and visited the Hard Rock Cafe.
We woke up early this day and did some more exploration. We also hired a taxi and driver, who showed us around the city some more and pointed out certain places of interest. We then headed to Beirut airport for the afternoon departure to Bahrain. The whole check in process was smooth and soon we were heading to Bahrain on a Gulf Airbus 340 in business class. We arrived into Bahrain in the early evening and went out and caught a taxi to downtown Manama. We walked around the city for about 6 hours or so, went to the Hard Rock, and then back to the airport for the overnight Gulf flight to London. This was the only flight leg on the entire trip that was "iffy" for standby, but we did get on and it was a quick flight to London.
Wow, Beirut! I really liked this city! My friend was not keen on going to Beirut and really wanted me to get the pass issued for a more popular destination, like Cairo. He ended up being so glad we went to Beirut. He thought it was amazing also.
I would go back to Lebanon in a heartbeat and hope to! I want to see more of the country next time instead of just Beirut and it's suburbs. The Mayflower Hotel is a great place to stay in Beirut.
As for safety........I will tell you, I felt safer in Beirut than in most big cities in the USA. The Lebanese were so happy to see tourists and told us that they appreciated us coming from America to visit their proud country.