Somehow..between the begging and the pleading, and the months and months of blogging, I’ve managed to convince my Mom and my Grandparents to come to Lebanon for 10 days in December (ok, so I couldn’t convince the whole family, but it’s a start, right?!)! Woo hoo! Alas, my efforts are beginning to pay off!
Now the real work begins: planning a 10 day trip that will make them understand why I decided to move here..
Normally, this would be a very easy task, except that the three people who are coming on the trip couldn’t be more opposite from each other..you see.,
My Mom likes to see sites, and eat everything in sight…oh, and when she’s on vacation, she loves to take afternoon naps after lunch (she’s the most like me! ;D)..
My Grandmother would be happy spending the whole day bargaining in souks and markets, and spending the whole night (every night) on the dance floor (unlike my Mom and me, she can go loooong periods of time without eating or drinking, and she scoffs at even the mention of the word NAP!!)…
My Grandfather..that angel of a man..well.. he is the easiest to please..he just wants my Grandmother to be happy – because if she’s happy, we’re all happy – (but if he had a choice he would be very ok with seeing a few sites, eating some delicious Lebanese meals, and spending the rest of his time reading all of Robert Fisk’s books at Younis).soooo, yeah..do you see the challenge?
Anyway, I have spent the last few days asking a trillion questions and compiling a schedule that I think could work. Ten days is a short amount of time to see all that Lebanon has to offer, but hey, I will take whatever time I can get with my family, ya know? Anyhow, if you guys could read through what I have, and offer some suggestions, my family and I would really appreciate it!
Dec 26th. Breakfast at Bread Republic (or do you have the name of a place where we could go to have an authentic Lebanese breakfast in Hamra? Labneh, foul, etc etc..), walk all around Hamra (Bliss street, Hamra main street, AUB, Jean d’Arc, etc etc) coffee at Café Younis..take taxi down to Corniche..walk around Corniche for a bit, lunch (and shisha and mint lemondate) at Bay Rock Café..show them Pigeon Rocks. Go back to Hamra for a little rest.. Dinner and drinks somewhere in Gemmazyeh at Gem/Bar Louis/MYU/Torino/Dragonfly/Tawlet/Joe Penas)..(any other suggestions?..i don’t know which place to choose…maybe FRIDA’s as per @fadyroumieh’s recommendation).
Dec 27th. Breakfast at Ristretto..Drive to Byblos (old souk, harbor, churches, Locanda or Sea food place (forgot the name) for lunch)..continue to walk around Byblos.take Granny back to souks..have a coffee..head back to Beirut.. rest a bit..hang out around Hamra at night..dinner at Molino/Ferdinands/Le Rouge/Olio/Prague..drinks and live music (hopefully) at Graffiti or Dany’s.
Dec 28th. Breakfast at Buttermint. ..drive to Tripoli (old souks, what else is a “must see” in Tripoli?) – need to find private tour/guide for Tripoli (any suggestions?). Best restaurant in Tripoli anyone? Best sweets in Tripoli (I think you guys mentioned Hallab??) Night time back to Hamra..dinner/drinks in Hamra at Molino/Prague/Ferdinands/Le Rouge/Olio…or maybe night time dinner at Locanda in Byblos. Oooorr..if we’re feeling fancy shmancy, dinner at Sydney’s. (whoa…way too many options).
Dec 29th. Breakfast at Mandaloun Café (are there any other breakfast places in Achrafieh?). Walk through Achrafieh and Mar Mikael. Best landmarks to see in both places anyone? Best coffee shop? Transfer on to Bourj Hammoud, let Granny wonder around and absorb all of the action (she loves that)..lunch at Varouj (I’ve been hearing so much about this place!). Head back to Hamra to rest. Light dinner/night out in Gemmazye at Gem/Bar Louis /MYU /Torino/ Dragonfly/Margherita/Yasmina/Tawlet/Coquley..salsa night at El Gardel…Granny loves latin music!..and we love to make her happy. 😀
Dec 30th. Full day tour to Baalbeck, Anjaar, and Ksara – with Nakhal tours – including..Bekaa Valley, Baalbeck (the big stone, Temples of Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus), Ksara (Wine tasting and visit of the caves), Anjar (Omayyads’ Town). Lunch at a restaurant in Zahleh. Light night time suggestions anyone? Dec 30th is a Thursday, I know Graffiti has live music on Thursdays, any other suggestions?
Dec 31st. Breakfast at Bread Republic/Ristretto/Bathazar..walk through Downtown (Souks, Roman ruins, clock tower, Mosque, Church, Martyr’s square) and Saifi Village.. lunch at Al Balad (Downtown) or Fiona’s (Saifi)..maybe take them for a macaroon at that new French place in Downtown. Continue walking through to Gemmazye (visit boutique shops, St. Nicolas stairs, have a coffee (where is the best cafe/most authentic coffee experience in Gemmazye)? Anything else that is a “must see” in Gemmazye during the daytime? Head back to Hamra to rest. New Years Eve House party with friends – which one of you is going to invite me and my family over? 😀
Jan 1st. Day OFF. Breakfast at Ristretto/Bread Republic Hamra…or rooftop of Le Grey (over priced, I know,, but could be a nice change?) Treat Mom to Mani/pedi and massage at Le Grey. Granny walks/shops around Hamra…leave her in her element. Grampa relaxes with book…leave him in his element. Dinner/Nighttime suggestions? Music Hall perhaps – does anyone know where I can find their performance schedule so I can book? Or maybe Mounir in Broumanna?
Jan 2nd. Sunday brunch at Gruen/Casablanca..spend morning at Souk al Ahad (Granny insists on going to all of the souks/markets), afternoon at ABC (thought it would be a good example of the breadth of shopping options in Lebanon Souk al Ahad/ABC/Beirut Souks)…late lunch at Al Mayass in Achrafieh (have heard a lot of great things about this place as well). Dinner/Nighttime options – suggestions anyone? What’s good on a Sunday night?
Jan 3rd. Full day tour to Sidon, Tyre, and Eshmoun –with Nakhal tours – starts by visiting the Sea Castle, Khan El Franj and Soap museum in Sidon then the Necropolis and Sea site of Tyre. Lunch is served in a good restaurant in Tyre. On the way back, the tour stops at the temple of Eshmoun. (Or we might go to the Cedars, or to Beiteddine, still haven’t made up my mind!) Back to Hamra to rest. Dinner and drinks somewhere in Monot…mabe Pacifico? Other light nighttime options?
Jan 4th. Last day entirely open for suggestions..what about trip to Faraya, or Faqra? What’s the best way to end their trip?
What do you think of what I have so far? What have I missed out, what do I have too much of? Please please please, I’m very open to suggestions and recommendations! Tell me what you think! 😀