He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mountain vacation part 1: the setting

For three years in a row now we have driven about an hour and a half out of Beirut up to a village in the mountains called Faraya for a little mini vacation after Christmas.  From Faraya, you can drive another 20 minutes around windy mountain roads and be at the ski slopes.  This time of year it is always iffy as to if there will be enough snow yet or not.  In years past, it has been right around Christmas week that the slopes have been ready for skiing.  This year it's just been too warm, but there was still plenty of snow for lots of fun sledding and a beautiful mountain escape. 

The hotel that we stay at is one that we discovered at least four years ago on one of our Sunday afternoon "explore Lebanon" drives and we have gone back to it ever since.  I don't even know the name, we call it "Joe's place" as Joe is the man we always call to make our reservations.  For $80 a night, we got a one bedroom suite with a living area with fireplace and kitchenette, a loft, and a bedroom with a double bed and bunk bed.  Not a bad deal.  Plus, down in the courtyard area (see picture) where the kids are playing is a snack area where you can help yourself to unlimited soft drinks, bags of chips, and you can even put in a request for hot chocolate, hot tea or Nescafe.  Also, on the house, they will make you "saj" at any time of day.  I forgot to take a picture of this but it is basically flat bread that they cook sprinkled with cheese and/or zataar ( a delicious mixture of olive oil, thyme, lemon juice and sesame seeds).  They roll it up and you eat it sandwich style.  It's a typical Lebanese breakfast but they'll make if for you at any time of day.  Did I mention that if you are staying there, you don't have to pay for any of these extras?  Love that Lebanese hospitality!  You are there guests, why wouldn't they provide such things after all??  

The girls loved our cozy little apartment- especially the loft. They played up there but we were a little nervous to let any of them sleep there as it was only accessible by a somewhat precariously placed ladder, and if you happened to scoot down to the end of the mattress, you would scoot right over the edge.  Ok, so the Lebanese have hospitality down to an art- safety regulations, not so much...

Below is a view of the living area from the loft.  Poor Jason searched tirelessly for soccer on our TV that had endless satellite channels, but sadly all they were showing was cricket and volleyball of all things.  He was disappointed since Boxing Day is such a big day for Premiere League soccer. 

They came and fixed a fire in our fireplace for us each night and the first night we made s'mores.  Not quite up to American standards as we had to use some sort of Lebanese cookie as a substitute for graham crackers, and the only marshmallows I could find were pink and tasted a little odd, but the kids loved it and didn't know the difference.

Like I said, from our place, it's about another 20 minute drive up to the top of the mountains to a village called Mzaar where all of the ski slopes are.  This year there wasn't enough snow to ski as you can tell, but it was still beautiful and we had tons of fun sledding on the ski slopes.

(village of Mzaar)
Lebanon's mountains are so majestic and beautiful.


1 comment:

Kendra said...

those are some great pics!