My Love Affair With Byblos

There are certain places that, no matter how many times you visit, never seize to amaze you. Byblos is one of those places for me. It was certainly love at first sight for me and Byblos and every time I go there I fall in love all over again. I call it my happy place, my sanctuary. There’s something about it, a sort of magical aura that’s sure to leave a mark on you, which isn’t surprising considering it’s the second oldest continuously inhabited city in the world (Telegraph).

Located 40km north of the Lebanese capital, this picturesque Mediterranean port town is the perfect combination of history and modernity. Whether you’re looking for a getaway from the city or a simple break from reality, Byblos is for you. Go for a ride on one of the fisherman boats nestled along the harbor. Take a stroll throught the ancient cobblestone souks adorned with beautiful souvenir shops. Discover the Roman ruins and Crusador citadel. Have a meal at one of the charming restaurants. And if at the end of the day you’re still buzzing, stick around till it gets dark and watch the pubs come to life.

Old Souk

Old souk – Image via Lebanon Guide

The port

The port – Image via Friends Choices

eCafe

eCafe – Image via Edde Yard

Crusader Citadel

Crusader Citadel – Image via Wiki GOGO

Young or old, Byblos has something for everyone. I’m so lucky to have this gem in my country and be able to go whenever I want. It’s definitely a must-see for anyone visiting Lebanon.

Do you have a happy place? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about it.

6 Misconceptions About London

After finally visiting London this past summer and experiencing firsthand what it’s like to live there, I can now say that not all of my expectations were met. I managed to crush a few stereotypes and misconceptions during my stay, but hey at least I became a more informed individual in the process.

1. The Size of London: The city of London is actually very small covering an area of only 1.12 square miles with a population of less than 15,000 people (2010 estimate). Nowadays when people speak of London what they are really referring to is the Greater London area which consists of many boroughs and 8.1 million people (2011 estimate).
 
2. Tower Bridge is Not Falling Down: When I first arrived in London I couldn’t help but notice the extravagant Tower Bridge. Of course, I was quick to assume it was the bridge that the popular ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ song speaks of, but in fact that was another simple, less extravagant, boring bridge. Bummer.
 
3. The Weather Isn’t THAT Bad: While I was in London the weather was surprisingly pleasant. Some may disagree considering I was there in June; others may say I got lucky, but after speaking with some locals they shared the same opinion. It’s true they experience harsher winters than other cities but during the spring and summer months temperatures can reach a high of 25 degrees Celsius. I wore short sleeve clothing each day of my stay, only throwing a jacket on after the sun set and it got a bit chilly. Note to self: with so much to do in London, you can’t let the weather bring you down and you most definitely cannot use it as an excuse to not go out (Well, maybe sometimes but not always).
 
4. Openness of the Royal Family: Being a tourist, I was surprised at how much the royal family allows us to see. Large sections of the royal palaces and castles are open to tourists; even the crown jewels are on display for all to see. While tourists pay a price to visit these landmarks, I can’t imagine the security concerns that they are faced with each day.
 
5. The Red Uniformed Guards: I’ve watched countless movies where people attempt to make the royal palace guards laugh since they are required to be serious and keep a straight face all the time. When I was at Windsor Castle a group of teenage Spanish tourists were laughing at one of the guards and a police officer approached them and told them off for being disrespectful. It’s a great honor to be asked to defend the sovereign of the country, only front line armed forces can do so therefore it’s best to just take a photo and not linger around and poke fun at them.
 
6. For The Love of Tea: Many people tend to associate British people with high tea intake but while I was there I saw people drinking more beer and coffee than I did tea. Maybe I was going to the wrong places but tea is simply not as popular in England as foreigners make it out to be.
 
Do you agree with this list? Is there anything you can add? Let me know in the comment section below.