LEBANON

Dodane dnia 2010.12.13 -- Zaktualizowano dnia 2012.08.08

Czytaj blog Adeli  |  Czytaj blog Krisa z kraju LEBANON

 

LEBANON
5.06.10 – 25.06.10 – 595 km – 20 days

 

Lebanon is divided in two separated worlds - Muslim and Christian. Being in this country you can’t miss and not feel the atmosphere of tension and war. If, however, you put aside political issues, you can really enjoy the beauty of this fairy-tale land, with magnificent mountains, wonderful sea, fabulous French towns and friendly, helpful people. We had a chance to spend time by the seaside, touch the snow in the middle of summer, go deep under the ground and get to know the lots of great people!! Our three week tour in  Lebanon ended in Beirut, from where we flew to Cyprus.

CULTURE DIFFERENCES
In Christian areas, Western culture. In Muslim cities, we encountered similar situations as in Syria.

STEREOTYPES – FACTS AND MYTHS
“Lebanon is a reach, flourishing “Switzerland of Middle East.”
We heard so before we came to Lebanon. We were expecting this country to be our asylum from Syrian overwhelming experiences. First Lebanese city on our way was Tripoli. We entered the town and we were in vain looking for any traces of promised Switzerland. It looked same or even worse than in Syria. It was same dirty, same loud and chaotic, drivers more crazy (real maniacs!!!), and constant presence of solders, road barriers and ubiquitous war damage made us feel really confused and unsafe.  After two days, on the way to Beirut, we passed a tunnel between Tripoli and Batroun. Suddenly it became clean, reach and tidy. We felt like we've entered some French town.  It emerged that by crossing the tunnel, we crossed also a magic line which separates a Christian world from Muslim world. We entered a Christian area, run by Maronites. Only there, in Batroun, we got to know that Lebanon is divided between Christians and Muslims. And in fact, in Christian areas it feels like in western Europe. People are very rich, drive fancy cars, live in luxury and have quite an easy life. Every household has a servant from Ethiopia or some other African country. In this part you can't see any traces of war. In our opinion term for Lebanon as “Switzerland of Middle East” is a stereotype and myth because it doesn’t concern all country. The “Switzerland” might be called only Beirut with surrounding Christian territory. The rest of the country is damaged, poor and neglected.

“Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.”
Like most Europeans, fed with American propaganda, we had a unilateral vision of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Only after we entered Lebanon, we noticed that all this is not that clear. We met many Lebanese who hate Hezbollah and blame the organization for Israeli raids. We met also many Lebanese who perceive Hezbollah as a redeemer and a defender against Israel. We don't know which opinion is right. We just want to highlight that the role of Hezbollah in Lebanon is not that obviously negative as we hear in European news. We got to know as well that most of European countries don't perceive Hezbollah as terroristic organization. Below we want to quote Wikipedia:
“Hezbollah literally "Party of God” is a Shi'a Islamist political and paramilitary organisation based in Lebanon. Hezbollah is also a major provider of social services, operating schools, hospitals, and agricultural services for thousands of Lebanese Shi'a, and plays a significant role in Lebanese politics. It is regarded as a resistance movement throughout much of the Arab and Muslim world. Multiple countries, including Sunni Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, have condemned actions by Hezbollah, while Syria and Iran have generally been supportive of the organisation. Most Europeans countries have refused to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, but the United States, Egypt,  Israel, Australia, and Canada regard it in whole or in part as such.”

DANGERS
In Lebanon we experienced first act of violence in our entire trip so far. Once a small boy jumped on the road and started to beg: ”One dollar, hello, one dollar!” When Adela passed him without reaction, his brother jumped out from the roadside and tried to hit her with a bat. That was our “welcome to Lebanon” just after we passed the border. We had some other similar situations with kids. We are really sorry to write that it always happened in Muslim areas. We are even not sure if they were Lebanese or some refuges. Sad.
We are not trying to prove that Muslim parts of Lebanon are worse or more dangerous. We just write how it was. It happened to us, it doesn't mean that it will happen to you!
Some problem for us at the beginning was an ubiquitous army. We felt very uncomfortable the first day when soldiers stopped us at the road check point, and started to search our panniers pointing cocked gun on us. After some time, we got used to it and we didn't mind it anymore.
War. Tension is in the air. When we approached Baalbek people warned us, that there is some shooting between two family gangs in the city. They said that is normal and that we just need to wait until next day to see what will happen. The next day the army managed to solve the problem so we enter to the town without any problems.

LANGUAGE
Arabic and French. In Arabic parts, don't expect people to speak French but in Christian parts both – French and English are widely known. Some people in Christian parts, even though they are Arabs, prefer to speak only French, to emphasize they predominance over less educated people from Muslim parts.

VISA
We entered Lebanon at the Talkalkh border crossing. We got our visas at the border for free and they were valid for 30 days. The only thing you need to provide is a destination address. So, you need an invitation from some Lebanese person or a hotel address. You don't even need to have a hotel booking confirmation. They just want you to write anything about accommodation. If you'll stay at friends, they might call them to check if it's true. Situation between Lebanon and Israel is tense. If you have any trace of evidence that you've been to Israel (stamps in your passport or even tickets or some souvenirs), they won’t let you in.

OVERNIGHT/ CAMPING
No problems with wild camping in Lebanon. Just sometimes it was difficult to find a place out of military zone.

WATER
Tap water is not good. We were asking staff at petrol stations to give us drinking water from their dispensers.

ROADS/ TRAFFIC

Maniac drivers!!!!! In big cities like Tripoli or Beirut, traffic is very dense. Everybody beeps and drives as he wants. On the highway, they drive against the traffic flow and buses stop in the middle of the road to let people out! Stay vigilant because they are really crazy! Roads are good and quite well signposted. We’ve never been cycling on an unpaved road. The good thing is that all signs are spelled also in Latin alphabet, so it’s easy to find the right way.

ROUTE
We entered to Lebanon from the north, through Talkalakh border crossing. Next, along the coast, we headed south. On our route were Tripoli, Bartoun, Byblos (Jbeil) and Jounie. From Jounie we turned to Harisa, where we decided to move to the mountains to see the famous Lebanese cedars and to try to conquer the highest peak - the as-Sauda Kurnat (3083 m above sea level).  So from Harrisa, we rode back by Jounie, Byblos and Batroun, heading to Chekka and then to Bcharre, from where we finally came up Kurnat as-Saud. Because of the snow on the road, we didn’t attack the very pick, but anyway we still managed to get the pass for 2,680 meters above sea level, which for all three of us was the current record. After, we rode down to the ancient ruins of Baalbek. Then we rode to Zahleh, from where we went back to the mountains, to see the Jeita grotto. Our three-week tour in Lebanon ended in Beirut, from where we flew to Cyprus.

MAPS
In Tripoli, just after we entered Lebanon, we met a French guy. He was heading to Syria, so we exchanged with him our Syrian map for Lebanese one. Generally in Christian parts, you can find easily tourist info, and get maps from there. You can also obtain more detailed maps. No problem.

CURRENCY
The currency is Lebanese Pound (LBP). It's so small that we give you currency exchange rate for 1000 LBP.

1 EUR = 1850 LBP
1 US Dollar = 1 330 LBP
1 PLN = 474 LBP
(October 2010)

PRICES

 - Falafel in Tripoli - 1500 LBP
- Manoushi with zaatar 1000-1500 LBP
- Manoushi with cheese and veg - 2000-2500 LBP
- Coca cola 1,5l - 1500 LBP
- Mineral water 2l - 1000 LBP
- Oranges 1kg - 500-750 LBP
- Bananas 1kg - 1000 LBP
- Shawarma in Beirut - 3500 LBP  
- Postcard in Beirut - 750 LBP
- Post stamp to Europe - 1000LBP

In Muslim parts it might happen that you will have to bargain. Prices usually are displayed so it's useful to learn Arabic numbers.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE
In Christian parts absolutely no problems with money exchange. In Muslim parts, you can also find an exchange office. We exchanged some money on the black market with a guy at the border. The rate was O.K. You can also exchange money in hotels and banks.

BANKS/ CARDS/ CASH MACHINES

In Muslim parts it works more like in Syria – carry cash because it's possible to pay with a card only in upmarket hotels, restaurants and shops. In Christian parts, no problems with card payments. You can also pay in this part of Lebanon with US Dollars. From the cash machine you can also pay out US Dollars.

INTERNET

No problems with internet in Christian parts.

BIKE SHOPS
We saw one in Beirut.

ROUTE
We entered to Lebanon from the north, through Talkalakh border crossing. Next, along the coast, we headed south. On our route were Tripoli, Bartoun, Byblos (Jbeil) and Jounie. From Jounie we turned to Harisa, where we decided to move to the mountains to see the famous Lebanese cedars and to try to conquer the highest peak - the as-Sauda Kurnat (3083 m above sea level).  So from Harrisa, we rode back by Jounie, Byblos and Batroun, heading to Chekka and then to Bcharre, from where we finally came up Kurnat as-Saud. Because of the snow on the road, we didn’t attack the very pick, but anyway we still managed to get the pass for 2,680 meters above sea level, which for all three of us was the current record. After, we rode down to the ancient ruins of Baalbek. Then we rode to Zahleh, from where we went back to the mountains, to see the Jeita grotto. Our three-week tour in Lebanon ended in Beirut, from where we flew to Cyprus.

Czytaj blog Adeli  |  Czytaj blog Krisa z kraju LEBANON

Komentarze

Its like you read my mind!

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it
or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that,
this is excellent blog. An excellent read. I'll definitely be back.

Hurrah! Finally I got a

Hurrah! Finally I got a webpage from where I can in fact
take valuable facts regarding my study and knowledge.

Why people still use to read

Why people still use to read news papers when in this technological globe all is existing on web?

Howdy! I just would like to

Howdy! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for your
excellent information you have got here on this post.

I'll be returning to your blog for more soon.

I enjoy what you guys are

I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work
and coverage! Keep up the very good works guys I've incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

It's nearly impossible to

It's nearly impossible to find well-informed people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you're talking about!

Thanks

I simply could not leave your

I simply could not leave your website prior to suggesting that I really loved
the usual info an individual provide to your visitors?

Is going to be again ceaselessly to investigate cross-check new posts

Helpful information.

Helpful information. Fortunate me I discovered your web site by
accident, and I am stunned why this accident didn't took place in advance!

I bookmarked it.

Right here is the perfect

Right here is the perfect blog for anyone who would
like to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to
argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).
You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject
that has been discussed for many years. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

It's an remarkable article in

It's an remarkable article in support of all the web users; they will get advantage from it I am sure.

Hello my family member! I

Hello my family member! I want to say that this post is amazing, great written and
come with almost all important infos. I would like to look more
posts like this .

Hurrah, that's what I was

Hurrah, that's what I was seeking for, what a data!
existing here at this website, thanks admin of this website.

I'm curious to find out what

I'm curious to find out what blog system you have been working with?
I'm experiencing some small security issues with my latest site and I'd like to find something more safe.
Do you have any recommendations?

Heya i am for the first time

Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board
and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you
aided me.

When I originally commented I

When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each
time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
Appreciate it!

Hi there friends, its

Hi there friends, its wonderful piece of writing on the topic of
tutoringand completely explained, keep it up all the time.

Its like you read my mind!

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote
the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a
few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that,
this is great blog. An excellent read. I'll definitely be back.

Hi there! This is my first

Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog!
We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a
community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to
work on. You have done a wonderful job!

I'd like to thank you for the

I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site.
I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as
well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged
me to get my very own site now ;)

I am sure this article has

I am sure this article has touched all the internet people, its really really fastidious piece of writing on building up new blog.

Hey! I just wanted to ask if

Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have
any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months
of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

I simply couldn't go away

I simply couldn't go away your site before suggesting that
I really enjoyed the usual information a person supply to your guests?
Is gonna be back incessantly in order to investigate cross-check new posts

Hi there would you mind

Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you're working with?

I'm looking to start my own blog soon but I'm having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your design and style seems
different then most blogs and I'm looking for something unique.
P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

Hey there! This is my first

Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just
wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through
your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects?
Thank you so much!

Hmm it seems like your

Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment
(it was extremely long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I submitted
and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I'm still new
to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for rookie blog writers?
I'd certainly appreciate it.

I love what you guys are up

I love what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and coverage!
Keep up the wonderful works guys I've added you guys to our blogroll.

Every weekend i used to visit

Every weekend i used to visit this web site, because
i wish for enjoyment, since this this web page conations actually good
funny stuff too.

Oh my goodness! Amazing

Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am having troubles with your RSS.
I don't understand why I am unable to join it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS problems?
Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

Helpful info. Fortunate me I

Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your web site unintentionally,
and I am surprised why this coincidence didn't took place earlier!
I bookmarked it.

Hello there! I simply want to

Hello there! I simply want to give you a big thumbs up for your great info you have here on this post.
I am returning to your web site for more soon.