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Baalbek, Anjar and wine: 3 highlights of the Bekaa Valley

Crossing Mount Lebanon, I’m now deep into the Bekaa Valley, in Heliopolis. You might know it better as Baalbek. This is Hezbollah country, visible by the militant organisation’s characteristic flag – green logo on yellow background –  but not much else. My first glimpse of the legendary temple complex here in Baalbek is from the […]

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Hiking Qadisha Valley and the Cedars of God

Lebanon is a small country packed with sights and landscape of great variety. There’s winter and summer in one day (ski Mount Lebanon in the morning, chill at the Mediterranean beaches in the afternoon), there’s the bustling nightlife in Beirut, there’s jaw dropping remnants of ancient Phoenicia and Imperial Rome, there’s nectar from a number […]

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Yet another day out Beirut: Byblos, the world’s oldest city?

Is ancient Byblos the world’s oldest continually inhabited city? Others make the same claim: Damascus and Aleppo in neighbouring Syria, and Jericho in Palestine, also in the general vicinity. Byblos was founded 7 000 years ago. Some say 9 000, some say 10 800. Either way, people have lived and loved here for a long […]

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Day out Beirut: Tyre

I’m in Southern Lebanon today; joined by 6 Brits and an American couple (the woman went to university in Beirut in 1964!) and our cheerful guide Pierre, all wanting to have a look at the Roman ruins in Tyre. Or Ksour, the city’s present-day Arabic name. We’ve driven 82 km south from Beirut, a picturesque coastal drive. […]

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The Palmyra Hotel in Baalbek: Wacky, Weird and Wonderful

We don’t write heaps of accommodation reviews here on Sophie’s World. Can’t be just any boring old accoms, you see. It has to be unique, like a lighthouse, say. Or a shipping container. Or an exceptionally beautiful hotel. Or a combination hotel/refuge for asylum seekers/artists’ workshops. Or haunted. Every once in a while, something special […]

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In transit, the Lebanese edition: Not exactly my commute

Rafiq Hariri airport, Beirut 18 May 2018 Folks, today I’ve been so far out of my comfort zone, I might never find my way back in. ‘My Commute’, episode 2: ‘Not Exactly My Commute’. Now, the greatest danger in Lebanon is not armed lunatics (that’s a whole other place). Here, it’s… traffic!! There appears to […]

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