This past weekend found me south bound with Megan, Wade, and Jane (such a doll, and patient car companion!), and Jimmy and Madeleine. Our destination was a small guesthouse just south of Sour (Tyre), but south enough that we would be near the Israeli border and so needed a special permit to be allowed through the check points.
After dealing with the bureaucracy at Saida and obtaining our permit - literally the date and another number scribbled on a post-it - we ventured in land a bit to Cana (where it is claimed Jesus turned water into wine), to a crusader castle which we sort of stormed, only to find out the front gate was unlocked, and down to Bint Jebeil before turning toward the coast, following the border, and arriving at what is now one of my favorite corners of Lebanon (this is, I might add, a small and very exclusive list). (Wade does a much better job of describing the history and importance of different sites; if that’s you’re thing, check out his post about the road-trip here.)
A lush lawn surrounding a lavender, camilla, and bougainvillea-encompassed gazebo and dotted with lounge chairs begging to be curled up in with a cup of coffee and book separated the guesthouse - two well apportioned rooms and a kitchen space - from the main house. Arbor vida, shrubs, and several mature trees ringed the lawn, orchards to be spied through the branches and stretching to the foothills. A small irrigation stream and bird song provided the soundtrack while jasmine floated on the breeze. The sea, with a pristine, undeveloped beach - rare in Lebanon’s lack-of-environmental-care norm - was a short walk away, through banana orchards. An additional layer of magic at dusk when the frogs began their concert and calls to prayer echoed up and down the coast.
Much: reading, conversation, Jimmy and Madeleine identifying birds for the aves neophytes of the group (read: everyone else), beach combing, Scrabble, good food, wine, coffee, s’mores, an early morning attempt to find the Tyre nature reserve (bit of a fail), and “when we come again” plannings. Indeed, looking forward to a return trip.