Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I took advantage of a mid-week day off classes and took a trip to Northern Lebanon. I took the coastal highway up and stopped at Rachana, an artists’ village. Three brothers, famous for their sculptures and carvings, live there and the area is dotted with their art.

One of the brothers and his wife live in (what I thought looked like) a Smurf home.

Unforunately, Papa Smurf wasn't home.

The village was also dotted with fruit (I can’t remember what I ate, but it wasn’t something available in the States) and almond trees. I had never seen almonds on a tree before—I had no idea they were green.

What almonds look like in nature. Who knew? Not I.

Hilla also put this weird plant that spun around on my coat. Better than a bug, I guess. We picked some fruit and almonds for a snack before heading back to the car.

Our last and most important stop was Tripoli, the second-largest city in Lebanon.

View of Tripoli from the Citadel.

It was huge, but we spent most of our time in the Old City. We climbed up to the top of the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles, which was built in 1102.

Tripoli Citadel

It was another example of how the archaeological and architectural sights in Lebanon are the embodiment of Lebanon’s layered history. When one ruler comes in, he builds upon what the previous rulers had built—Ottoman upon Crusaders, etc. We also wandered through the souqs. At one bakery, we all got free bread because the owner thought I had beautiful eyes.

The bakery where I was given bread for mis ojos.

After getting most of my souvenirs, we got lunch at Rafaat Hallab and Sons, or the “Palace of Sweets.” Tripoli is apparently famous for its sweets, but it kind of tasted like all the other sweets I’ve tried.

I was told this was the spoils of war.

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