Day 1. Touched down Rafiq Hariri International Airport in Beirut, and secured a car rent, we hurried to drive to Beirut. First stop is Beirut National Museum.
From here, we were driving down Rue de Damas that once was a part of Green Line that separating Muslim and Christians. Along the way, bullet-ridden buildings stood still – wars left its marks.
After several detours, diversions, reroutes (passing Downtown area, those military tanks, and got used to traffic behavior) we reached Lavender Home Apartment in Hamra to check in. The apartment is located about one minute walk from Hamra Street on the one-way narrow street. Finding a parking spot was a nightmare as the apartment only has 2-car spot at the back and 3-car spot at front. Nevertheless, check-in was seamless, staff very helpful and our room was upgraded to Studio Room.
Hard Rock Cafe is located at the end of corniche road, at ground floor of Bayview Hotel, opposite to McD where we had our first lunch in Beirut. My 17th Hard Rock Cafe shot glass collection is from here! It was summer and though Beirut doesn’t have good flat sandy beaches, Corniche saw young people throngs short seaside pedestrian strip opposite American University of Beirut.
Downtown is our next stop. Starting from a parking lot near Martyr Square we walked to Le Gray Hotel/Virgin Megastore, Al Omari Mosque and end at Place D’Etoile (Nejmeh Square).
Our first visit to Place D’Etoile and Downtown area was so brief that we need to come back in another visit. Since we had to go out of city tomorrow we decided to stock some food and beverages for our trip and stay. For that we visited ABC Mall and Spinney Supermarket. End of Day 1 in Lebanon was closed by visit to Pigeon Rock and tasting Lebanese cuisine at Kababji, Hamra.
Our Day 2 saw us heading north to Byblos, Jounieh, Harissa, and Nahr El Kalb. First, Byblos. Byblos or commonly known as Jbeil is located about 38km north of Beirut, accessed through coastal highway. Our highlights in Byblos include visiting Byblos complex, souk, and Memory of Time. We didn’t pay a visit to wax museum, church, and Byblos Port.
From Byblos, we’re heading back to Beirut but stopping at Jounieh to take thrilling ride to Harissa by Telepherique (cable car). The ride took us through private apartment blocks and then steeply inclining ride to Harissa where we’re transferred by Fenicular to the base of Our Lady of Lebanon statue.
Another Downtown visit. We’re back to Downtown and now we headed to Roman Bath and took some time to enjoy the pulse of Beirut in Downtown.