The Middle East has interested me for some time. Unfortunately, travel to some countries in the region would be… unwise…
I’ve worked with a few Lebanese-Australians in various jobs and each of them, after hearing my stories of travel in Southeast Asia, said that Lebanon would be my cup of tea.
And so I went.
Because of its location between Europe and the Arabian peninsula, Lebanon is a country with an ancient and turbulent history. It shows a very strong influence from both cultures. I don’t think there are too many cities besides Beirut where you could be enjoying a beer at a rooftop bar while the mosque down the street broadcasts the call to evening prayer.
The people are amazingly friendly and accommodating, exhibiting that famous Mediterranean hospitality.
Lebanon is a country which was until recently at war, and the presence of military patrols and checkpoints as well as bullet-scarred buildings were reminders of the country’s strife in the not-too-distant past. Even now there are tensions at the southern border with Israel, and the presence of Daesh (ISIS) in neighbouring Syria is a constant worry.
I stayed mainly in Beirut but had a couple of days in Baalbek in the east of Lebanon where there are some of the best preserved ancient Roman ruins in the world. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much else of this beautiful country due to becoming ill for about a week. I’m determined to make it back sometime soon to explore more.