Lebanon By Roads - What CNN Doesn't Tell You.
by Ruth Moucharafieh
I'm a Welsh girl based in Beirut; two years ago I bought a camera and decided that it was time to show the world another Lebanon...the one that never makes the news reports.
Each week I pack my camera, wellies and a couple of unmarried relatives pick a place on the map to then see if we can get there. As we meander down country roads I regularly gasp "oh my! wow! gotta stop" to see an abandoned car and passengers in the middle of the road so that I can climb hills or descend into ravine type valleys to chat with some interesting looking character!
The friendliness and generous hospitality of the Lebanese ensures that we sip coffee wherever we go with Christian, Muslim or Druze folk.
The physiography of Lebanon makes it an easy place to explore - a coastal plain, Lebanon Mountains, Beqaa valley and Anti Lebanon mountains (getting lost, although a pleasure, is easily rectified in a country with a surface area of about 4000 sq miles). With summits in both ranges around 9.000 feet, you'll come across snow and skiing in winter. There's much yet to explore from Byblos - one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world - to other ancient treasures including Roman ruins and Crusader castles.
On every trip I discover something new, meet wonderful people who willingly share their lives with me even if just for a few minutes. Farming and shepherding in some villages makes you feel you entered a biblical world where little has changed in 2.000 years.
Beirut offers luxury, shops, amazing nightlife and narrow backstreets filled with tiny shops or vegetable stalls, street food and coffee vendors on every corner.
Churches and mosques sit side by side in almost every village as do the people, come and visit...the warmth, hospitality and diversity of everything here is truly amazing!
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