Last Sunday, I went on my very first like in Lebanon. I KNOW, I KNOW..I shouldn’t have waited soooo long to hike for the very first time. But you know how it is, something always seems to come up (laziness, late night pubbing, laziness, and more laziness). Especially when going on a hike requires you to wake up at 6:30am on SUNDAY!! (that’s an hour and a half earlier than I wake up on workdays!!) No excuse, I know.
Anyway, I’m writing this to say that I had an INCREDIBLE time, and all thanks to the persistence @mjoundi who has been trying to persuade me to go on a hike for about a year now (during which time he has completed around 19 hikes!!). Thank you dude, for opening up my eyes to a side of Lebanon that I didn’t know..and you were right..one time is enough to officially get you hooked!
My first hike was to Jabal Turbul, a round-topped peak, which stands 681 m high and boasts excellent views of Tripoli, the Al-Mina coastline, Palm Island, Syria, and Ouyoun el Samak. Jabal Turbul is a barren landscape, which makes spring the ideal time for hiking there since the weather is cool and spring flowers are in bloom. I went on the hike with Vamos Todos, “an ecotourism club that promotes and encourages the love of nature amongst its members, thus seeing life through a new perspective.” According to their website, “The name Vamos Todos , which means “Let’s go all together” was chosen to reflect the spirit of our club, where everyone can participate in any of the multitude of activities which will be organized for you, with one major goal in mind: HAVING A GREAT TIME.”
The hike was absolutely fantastic (I really liked the fact that there were different levels for newbie hikers like me), the views breathtaking, the people friendly, and the air CLEAN!!! I had forgotten what it felt like to breathe in clean, non-polluted air. It was so refreshing. Being up there completely recharges your batteries.
Early on in our hike we came across a Shepard and his sheep (oh, and a huge telephone tower thingy which looms in the background). I just had to get a photo..
I don’t know much about the history nor the geography of Lebanon..I will be the first to say that. But I was really surprised to find turtles, shells, and fossilized coral all along our hike! It’s obvious that this land was once under water.
Next to the turtles, shells, and fossils were..you guessed it..shotgun shells. Which, as you can imagine, didn’t really make me feel comfortable, especially when we passed quite a few people walking around nonchalantly with a shotgun over their shoulder. Did they know that people hike there occasionally? Even if they did, I don’t think they care.
One of the more striking photos of the day was taken when we stopped for a rest at Turbul Church. Everyone was really shocked to see how this woman was bending, cutting, and picking whatever herbs it was she was after. I mean, just look at her! She must be well into her 70’s! Seeing her in this position reminded me of Krikorian’s post “She is still working.”
And what would a hike through the mountains be without running into the proverbial village donkey!
And so we continued..onwards through Turbul..
Until we stopped for lunch.
I have to pause for a second to pay tribute to the man below. He is a 75 year old (I think) Italian man who has been living in Lebanon for the past 25 years. Kind of like me, he came here for a month long project, and never left! He goes on these hikes every Saturday and Sunday and always chooses the most advanced level. I was so surprised to see him get off of the bus before me, to tackle the steepest part of the mountain, with his camera around his neck and heavy backpack on his back. If you look closely, he is sitting next to a pot of coffee which he brewed and then proceeded to pass around to everyone during lunchtime! What a gem!
As we made our descent back to the bus, we came upon a group of children really eager to had their picture taken.. I couldn’t resist..their smiles and enthusiasm were contagious.
Before heading back to Beirut, we stopped to visit a mosque with an old tomb inside. While on the way up there, @mjoundi and I spotted this..someone found a new use for an ABC Dbayeh poster. How resourceful!
Overall, I had a wonderful day, I’m sure you can see that. But hell, something has to be done to solve the Sunday evening traffic issue heading back to Beirut! UGHH!!
And this post wouldn’t be complete without me showing you a little something special that @mjoundi created for me. You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl! (To be fair, I was bbming friends and telling them what a great time I was having! lool)
To see panoramas from my hike click here!
All photos taken by @mjoundi