The Lebanese are definitely a friendly lot….maybe friendly is an understatement, they rarely fail to surprise and always exceed our expectation when it comes to hospitality, especially food. There is always a free sample or four at the pastry shop, more often than not a free coffee as well
. With the small jar of takeaway hummus comes a plate of vegetables, pickles and some bread. "If you are going to eat my hummus you must do it properly" we are told. When we refuse dessert out comes a bowl of fruit…..on the house of course, and not just any fruit but the sweetest mandarins and oranges you have tasted. When you get home delivery to your tent the mixed shwarma (meat) plate come delivered in a shiny van in a beautifully presented box with specially designed slots for each container of food as well as complimentary hummus, garlic paste, tahini and vegetables. When you ask for a falafel sandwich the man makes some extra falafel just to be nice and insists that you have a free tea…..Shall I go on, I can if you like……….when we were walking down the hill from the snow a man selling fruit on the side of the road shouts welcome to Lebanon and throws us a free apple from about 50 metres away
We'll definitely remember Lebanon as a country full of friendly people and fine food....and we already can't wait to come back!!
Beirut was altogether surprising for us. I can't say I knew much about the city before coming and my only preconception was that it was a bombed out old city still scarred by the civil war. The reality is that there are plenty of buildings covered in bullet holes but the city is alive, full of great eateries, stylish people, cobblestone laneways and beautiful Parisian-style buildings. It is so much fun to wander and explore and we have really enjoyed hanging out here. The only problem has been that everyone and everything here is so cool and sophisticated that we feel a little out of place in our hiking shoes and daypacks. (Not that anyone here would ever point this out or make us feel unwelcome.)