You Should Go: Lebanon’s Cedars

IMG_4130

I don’t know what I expected from Lebanon’s cedars, but I don’t think it was a thin slice of forest covering the foothills of the mountains with breath-taking views on the way up.

IMG_4140

Tall, and reminiscent of California’s redwoods, these majestic trees apparently used to cover the land.

IMG_4137

Today, due to lack of regulation and protection, these beautiful trees are now limited to two shrinking forests.

IMG_4174

Untitled

IMG_4121

I visited the northern cedars (125 km from Beirut), where, though already May, the snow was still visible on the nearby mountain peaks.

IMG_4156

IMG_4161

My plans for the day fell through, so I ended up hitching a ride with some other North Americans (they paid for the taxi!), with my friend May as our tour guide and translator.

IMG_4160

The entrance to the park is a bit of a tourist trap, but the park itself is well-maintained and peaceful.

IMG_4124

The entrance fee was a suggested donation of something around $5.

IMG_4181

One of the best parts of the journey was the trek up the mountains, where I annoyed the taxi driver by calling for him to pull over every few minutes to take a few more photos.

IMG_4091

This meant I had to wait for everyone else to unload so I could crawl from my snug spot in the third row of the station wagon.

IMG_4094

At least the driver took advantage of the smoke break.

IMG_4107

And I’m thinking I need to take lessons from the Lebanese on rug cleaning.

IMG_4097

Everyone was doing it.

IMG_4114

IMG_4119

Vineyards, waterfalls, sweet red-roofed villages and poppies made up the scenery.

IMG_4110

Of course, the taxi driver got pulled over at a checkpoint for having 6 people in the car instead of the allowed 5, but with a little bit of arguing and a handshake, the soldier let us go. (Sorry for being your plus-one, random tour group that I joined!)

The weather was amazing, the trees beautiful, and the drive incredible. And it was all topped off by the most perfect lunch… but then, you’ll have to wait for tomorrow for that.

Until then, remember: Lebanon’s Cedars: you should go.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s