Ebiners in Lebanon, February 2010
I was warned that winter is a bad time to visit Lebanon, but we had mostly sunny weather, which made the snow-covered mountains all the more beautiful
Beirut has a dramatic location on the Mediterranean Sea
Beirut - how many capital cities of the world have a setting atop sea cliffs with sea caves?
Pigeon Rocks off the coast of Beirut
The skeletal hulk of Holiday Inn, bombed in the 1980s civil war and never demolished or rebuilt
Hard Rock Cafe in Beirut, quite a surprise to see
Distant view of Beirut near sunset
UN peacekeepers are still in Lebanon, but we had no problems and never felt threatened
Phoenicia gas station, reflecting the name of Lebanon's ancient civilization. Notice the incomplete construction of the building behind, a very common sight in Lebanon. No taxes are paid until the building is finished, so many buildings are left permanently unfinished while the lower floors are used for shops or housing.
All over the world
Nice view showing the Muslim-Christian mixture of Lebanon - mosque and Catholic school
Notre Dame de Lebanon, a major pilgrimage site for Lebanese Christians, high above the mostly Christian city of Jounieh
View of Jounieh from the top of the cable car at Notre Dame de Lebanon
A mosque in Baalbek, reflecting the 60% of Lebanese who are Muslim
Muslim students in Beirut
Cedar trees are one of Lebanon's most famous natural features, since forests are so rare in the Middle East. Many of the trees were cut down over 2000 years ago and all the remaining groves are now protected. We could not reach these areas since the roads were icy or blocked by snow.
All of Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate, bearing a strong resemblance to California
On day 1 we suddenly found ourselves in a snowstorm as we searched for lodging. All the hotels in the mountains were closed for winter, so we retreated to the coast to find a place to stay.
The next morning we were treated to brilliant sunshine, making the drive through the mountains especially beautiful with all of the fresh snow.
A somewhat bizarre sight, an amusement park in Barouk totally quiet and snow-covered
Beautiful winter view in the Chouf Mountains; I shot this photo as we were in a long line of cars slowly passing through a military checkpoint
Beyond the tank monument is a billboard honoring the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, assasinated in 2005
Palestinian refugees in the Bekaa Valley
Baalbek is the most famous ancient site in Lebanon
Baalbek, one of the greatest cities of the Roman empire 2000 years ago, and mostly empty of tourists when we visited
Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek, 2100 years old
A day after a snowstorm, the ruins of Baalbek still had plenty of powdery snow
Who cares about Roman ruins when you can throw a snowball at your dad?
Here she comes...
A split second before the snowball hit me
Barrels of wine in underground caves, Ksara winery in Zahle
Palace ruins in the ancient city of Aanjar, from around 700 AD
A nice example of Sophia fully trusting her daddy!
Sophia's highlight in Lebanon was the snow
"Here I am in Lebanon, my 40th country!"