Two weeks in Lebanon was not enough time to see a beautiful country! We are already looking forward to going back to explore the countryside and many archaeological sites.
We stayed at MEU with our friends Boaz and LaRae and their two children. We enjoyed good conversation around the breakfast table every morning and reminiscing about college days. LaRae was so kind to cook gluten free meals and even sent me home with some Amaranth, which I have not found yet in Ankara. MEU is located at the top of a hill overlooking Beirut and the Mediterranean. The campus is peaceful and lovely.
One afternoon we hiked a hill with friends to see some ancient inscriptions that have been carved into the mountainside. On Sunday we spent the day exploring Beirut, walking the streets, visiting a church, mosque, street fair, and the Corniche. We enjoyed amazing fruit smoothies and fresh pressed juices at Honey Boo and falafel with the locals. I learned about a great local organization and plan to eat at their restaurant, Tawlet, next time we are in Beirut. I also heard good things about Hanna’s but they were closed the day we visited.
5 things that surprised us:
- So many people could speak English, compared to what we experience in Ankara. But I’m so thankful I can at least read signs in Turkish. I can’t imagine trying to figure out Arabic!
- We did not have to exchange any money, as they use US dollars and Lebanese pounds interchangeably. The exchange rate is currently about 1500 to 1. It reminded me of when I visited Greece in 2002 and would easily pay thousands of drachmas for a meal. In Beirut the fresh pressed pomegranate juice was 8000 pounds!
- You definitely feel like you are in the Middle East. Turkey seems very European to me, but Beirut has the beautiful architecture, crazy traffic, and street markets typical of this part of the world.
- During our second week we almost ran out of water at the apartment when the city turned off the pump that pipes water up the hill. Creative water conservation ensued! The water finally came back on the day we left.
- It was 20 degrees warmer in Beirut. I’m really ready for spring!
Enjoy some pictures from our trip!