During our visit to Lebanon this May, Leo was keen to go visit Baalbek, home to impressive ruins dating back to Phoenician times. Although this is a must on any tourist’s to-do list, Baalbek, located in the Bekaa Valley, is considered a Hezbollah stronghold and is not too far from Ersal, where the Lebanese army has been fighting ISIS groups. So before going – make sure to check the news to avoid any bad surprises !
As the city itself is not necessarily worth visiting, we headed straight to the ruins, while fending off street vendors keen to sell us Hezbollah memorabilia – including mugs, key rings and t-shirts. No, the irony was not lost in us.
We opted for a local guide, who spoke perfect French, to take us through the temple and walk us through its history. As we progressed, he reminded us of the Baalbek festival that takes place inside the temple each year, and told us that Ibrahim Maalouf, a famous Lebanese trumpeter had been rehearsing there that day.
Once done with our tour, we headed to the Chateau Kefraya for lunch – an hour’s away from Baalbeck, but still in the Bekaa Valley, which indeed is famous for its wine. Although Lebanon as a multitude of wine makers, Kefraya is one of the most established wine brands locally as well as internationally.
We then drove back to our summer house in Beittedine, catching a glimpse of the Qaaroun Lake on the mountain roads leading us to the Chouf.