I finally had enough time on my hand to visit one of my favorite places in Lebanon: the Cedar mountains. They are probably the most underrated locations in the country and are nowhere near as visited as they should be because, quite frankly, very few places in this country can rival them in sheer landscape beauty.
Using my iPhone 5′s panorama feature, I was able to capture what I believe are pretty decent shots of the drive up to the mountains, the town of Becharre with its snowy mountainous backdrop, the Cedar Mountains themselves and part of the Kadisha Valley known as Qozhaya on the way back.
These locations may be far from Beirut – about 130 km – but they’re worth every single minute spent driving and every dollar spent in gas. I think I’m lucky that I live nearby and only need about 30 minutes to get there.
The slopes are superior to those of Mzaar/Sectarian-Kfardebyan and while they are less taken care of, they’re much cheaper and you will be able to get your full money’s worth out of them. The people are a whole lot friendlier as well.
So while many Lebanese are overjoyed that some international publication (click here) has chosen Beirut as the #1 city destination of the region – as if that’s a very hard thing to pull off – I felt like I ought to highlight something in Lebanon that is so ahead any form of “best of” competition in this region that it’s #1 always.
The Mountains from the village of Qnat
The view from Hadath el Jebbeh
Becharre (on the right) with its mountains behind it
The drive up to the Cedar Mountains
Some of Lebanon’s Cedars – not the main forest, obviously
Panoramic view of part of the mountains
Part of the Cedar forest
The drive to Qozhaya
The view from St. Anthony of Qozhaya convent (on the left) – part of the Kadisha Valley
We all know how it feels to be home… you’re too comfortable being there, you’re yourself there… But you know what feels even better than being home? Going home after a long absence.
I belong in Batroun. I am from the North and my heart will always go there. Driving around my hometown, Ebrine, in the Batroun Caza, I snapped these pictures.
When I wake up and open the blinds, this is the first thing I see:
And if I feel like going to sightsee, I don’t need to wander off a lot… these are a few scenes that await me after a few minutes of walking.
And whenever I feel like I want to be alone, I can simply drive down to a very old church, dating back to the 1400s. This is St. Charbel (the Lebanese saint took his name).
My hometown also harbors the mother Convent for Sainte Famille. We all know people who have been to their schools and there are two streets, one in Tripoli and one in Beirut, named after my hometown because they have Sainte Famille convents on them.
And if I feel like visiting my grandma, I pass by a canopy of trees and beautiful olive tree fields…
And if you ever feel hungry, Royal’s Pizza in Batroun offers the best pizza in Lebanon. And trust me, I have tried many, many pizzas. Nothing will ever come close.
All of these pictures were taken through my iPhone 4 and all effects are via an iPhone app: Camera+