And since we got the chance of getting 10 days of holiday’s i had the opportunity to head back to the roots, Lebanon.
I somehow, tend to visit there as my close my family lives there, at least once a year. It is a strange destination to many in the west, but the reality of the world can surprise you. Never believe what the news say! Lebanon is an amazing destination which can drive you either nuts or gives you a feeling of a bliss. Knowing a local can help.
I do dislike many things about the nation, from it’s addiction to religion to the way it care so little for it’s environment. Religion is so present in all aspect of life and identifies you before your nationality, sadly it is present on every corner of the road. I believe it is sometimes a burden for Lebanon not a bliss.
But well i won’t bore you with many details, the most important journey was to the wineries of Lebanon. We rented a car for 5 days and went driving this small nation.
Being a small country, distances are relatively easy and the roads get mountainous as the nation has mountains up to 3000m, we went in 1 hour 30 minutes from the sea shore to the peak of the country ( unless you get stuck in traffic but mostly the traffic is in Beirut, a polluted noisy traffic jammed city with sky rise buildings that no one can afford, but some beautiful rooftop terraces and best clubs claimed in the world but in my opinion if you plan to visit Lebanon escape Beirut which i did ).
So , we took a journey toward Batroun, a small fisherman’s village toward the north of the country, where we stayed few days watching amazing sunsets and swimming ( Yes you can easy swim in october, the Lebanese count the season over when it’s 1.10 even though it was 25-28C ). Was warm beautiful water, the pool was closed. So ironic!
Batroun, offers you the chance 10km from it to visit the mind blowing Ixsir winery. Ixsir has been selected with their beautiful location and the building as one of greenest winery buildings in the world as they use day light to save energy. A very modern building, Ixisr has been growing since they entered the market in 2010, their wines are lovely. We had a very enjoyable day sitting at their restaurant enjoying the mediterranean wind and sun. I surely recommend a visit to them. Follow Ixsir on their instagram journey.
Here are some photos of that beautiful day!
Batroun offers you a chance to visit more wines and many of the restaurants and bars will be serving great choices of Lebanese wines. if you end up visiting Byblos a popular destination for any visitor of Lebanon, Batroun is only 15 km away and easy to reach. do try Ixsir and if you are living abroad, it is available in many countries currently.
Heading from Batroun, we took a wonderful road toward the Cedars of Lebanon and then heading down toward the famous Bekaa valley, I cannot say how beautiful was the scenery there and how interesting was to drive there up toward such high altitudes ( at least for the driver ). The Cedars forest offers an insight on a long history, I loved the peace and i hope they grow that forest with the years more and more, Amazing those trees of hundreds of years there above at 2000m.
Take a look at the beauty of these trees, note coming from 28C in day time to 10C in the late afternoon was very surprising and we felt it! What an amazing difference.
Heading from the Cedars we took the road toward the famous Bekaa valley, and visited the famous Baalbeck roman site, so sad to see that tourism in Lebanon has suffered dramatically due to the Syrian crisis. Baalbeck is located near the Syrian border and is safe if you go with a tour company or locals.
The temple of Baalbek was as usual one of the most interesting places.
Baalbek hold on of the biggest standing Roman temples today in history and is a site that is always a proud for the Lebanese.
From Baalbek we headed toward the city of Zahle that is famous for its nearby winery of Ksara. Ksara holds a dear place to my heart as it is wine of the most know Lebanese wines in Finland, and also the owner of the winery is a well established Lebanese figure with ties to Finland, being the Honorary consul of Finland in Lebanon, Zafer Chaoui.
Chateau Ksara is a worldwide name for Lebanese wines and their winery does not fail to impress. I simply love those caves and the history they hide. The winery is one of the oldest in Lebanon, with more than 150 years of experience. Ksara is a jewel in the heart of the Bekaa, they produce my favorite the Sunset,so crisp blended from Cabernet Franc and Syrah, a fresh and a beautiful Rose wine and the Chateau Ksara an amazing red that never fails to impress.
The caves of Ksara spread for kilometers and they give you a visit and explain the history of their wines. They were discovered by the jesuit priests that were producing the wine there.
After 10 days of visiting Lebanon, touring the different area, i didnt fail to notice that the country has major potential unfigured. The food worldwide renowned is superb, a blend of delicious flavours, generous nation and the best my own mom home made cooking. I fail though to understand why lebanon decide to remain living in a circle, where the core is its diversity that the Lebanese fail to make the best of.
If only Lebanon, can love itself and see how much it has to offer to the world, at least for now many Lebanese wineries are offering their sublime joys of hard work.