No Clothes, Just Travel

 

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Pictures by Ana Rosemin

To live like a king

While going through my Lebanon pictures I realised there were little-to-no pictures of me on my camera. One of the main reasons being, there was so much to see and take in, that most days it was hard to drag me away from behind the lens.

An example of such a day, was during our trip to Beiteddine and its magnificent palace. We drove up to the Chouf region in the mountains and went to visit the opulent emir residence straight away. Now turned into a tourist attraction and festival venue, when built, the emir apparently cut the architect’s hands off, so that his palace would stay one of a kind. Although I, in no way, condone such barbaric behaviour, I can however understand Bashir Shihab II having such a strong attachment to his “humble” new home. The palace is stunning and strings room upon room of exotic rugs, colourful glass, gold and timeless mosaics, while being surrounded by beautiful fountains and roses. Beiteddine is truly a sight to be seen, and as my sister cleverly put it, its like the Alhambra in Spain, minus the tourists.

Doing a true 180, after being royals for a couple of hours, we decided to have lunch off the beaten track, and ended up in a family run side road café, where we were welcome with open arms. There, up in the mountains, we ate a table full of delicious manakeesh that were made fresh on the spot for us … true culinary heaven.

If you ever travel to Lebanon, I do recommend visiting the Chouf region, it is truly magical and not only is the Palace a marvel to the eyes, but also the cute little town of Beiteddine has its own wonders to offer.

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Beauty in the Rubble

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Pictures by Ana and Maria Rosemin

Middle Eastern Charm

Lebanon albeit being a small country, is one filled with different shades of gorgeous. On the one hand you have its natural beauty, unique and full of character and on the other you have an old school style and glamour that never really went away.

Unlike many of its mediterranean neighbours, the Lebanese natural beauty does not lie necessarily in its coast, but in its gorgeous mountains. Lebanon, not only boasts of one of the oldest towns in the world with Byblos, but is also famous for having some of the oldest trees in the world thanks to its imposing thousand year old cedar trees. Located up in the mountains, the cedars are truly breathtaking, so much so, that standing next to a six thousand year old tree gave me straight up goosebumps.

Over the decades Lebanon has built a reputation of being one of those amazing spots in the world where you can “ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon”. Unfortunately, having visited in summer, we were unable to test it, but it does sound like holiday heaven.

Not only is the landscape breathtaking, but also their homes are filled with glamour. A lot of grand lebanese houses have unfortunately been destroyed due to the war, but even through the rubble you can see their timeless beauty. These pictures I took of a beautiful family home in Saoufar, shows the grandeur shine right through the debris. But Lebanon is not all rubble and dust, and there are some stunning family owned little palaces still standing.

A thought did cross my mind though:  What if the war hadn’t kicked off? What would the country be like today? Would it all be even more stunning?
I guess we’ll never know.

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Take It Easy Lebanesy

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Pictures by Ana and Maria Rosemin

A trip of a lifetime

This has probably been the longest I have gone without writing a post, and I feel like I have failed myself and those of you that check-in. But, when the outside world gets real and you spend most of your awake hours staring at a screen, sometimes, you just need to step away from the keyboard!
I don’t know about you, but generally when everything around me goes crazy and I need a bit of a break, travelling and hiding behind my camera seems to make it all better. But if like me, you find yourself with no more holiday days left, looking back at pictures of your adventures can also do the trick.

And that is exactly what I am doing, I am delving right into my trip to Lebanon from a month ago, sharing with you some snapshots and slowly winding down in the process. It is a pleasure for me to share this once in a lifetime holiday, that has been a long time coming.

Why a long time coming you may ask?

As I have mentioned several times before, I am bit of cocktail when it comes to origins and roots, and if I am honest, the more you know me the more complicated it gets.
My mum is Lebanese, a born and bred Beirut lady. Unfortunately, due to unrest in the region, she had to leave her home country in the 70s and has barely had the chance to go back.  Growing up as kids, surrounded by our mum’s peculiar Lebanese culinary traditions, we always begged her to take us to Beirut.
Finally, over 20 years later, we finally made it and man, was it worth the wait!

I had heard stories left, right and center about how stunning and amazing the country was, but it isn’t until you see it and experience it for yourself that you really get what the fuss is all about.
To give you a little taste of what the country has to offer, in the next couple of posts I will be sharing with you little details, that make Lebanon a true gem of the mediterranean.

To start here are some pictures from Beirut, Batroun and Byblos.

P.S. It is a true shame technology doesn’t allow us yet to share taste and smell, because otherwise I would do it. Lebanese food is my favourite food in the world, so you can guess my trip was going to revolve around that. But I was in for a surprise, it was so much better than I could imagine, the flavours were incomparably delicious and I can honestly say I have never eaten so much in my entire life. 

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