I am a firm believer that any good adventure begins with car trouble (See exhibit A) and our group of seven experienced this first hand yesterday. The destination was Qammouaa (where some of the group wanted to hike, and others wanted to picnic) which was probably an hour and a half north east of Tripoli. It took us a bit longer than that to get there, as the van we were travelling in had some serious radiator problems and after two stops, the driver found us another van to swap to.
But the breaks were nice, and allowed us to meet some special people, like Alaa at the first stop, who was initially very shy, but soon warmed up to us:
And adorable sisters Jana and Judy, who we met while we were changing vans.
Their mother very kindly made us coffee while we were waiting and eventually we were on our way again. There were so many characters sitting along the side of the road - outside butcheries, in backyards, coming out of mosques, leading donkeys - it would have been nice to walk through the little villages we passed, but I think the three foreigners attracted enough attention just driving through.
By the time we made it to Qammouaa we'd missed the start of the walking track, but decided to just scamper up onto the ridge line and check out the view. Not too shabby from half way up,
And quite nice at the top. The best part was, barring the occasional car, or shots being fired over a distant ridge (hunters, we presumed) it was so lovely and quiet. Just the birds. And Ingebjorg singing the "pants on the ground" song from American Idol. But other than that, I couldn't help but rhetorically ask, "how's the serenity?".
Ahmed found a nice little nook in the shade, and it was hard to believe that only a couple of weeks ago I'd been in the snow, and now, t-shirt weather!!
I grew up near two pine forests (indeed, the shopping centre in the street next to my house is called The Pines), so I enjoyed sitting under the pine cones and playing with the macro function on my camera.
Spring is definitely here, and the flowers we found were absolutely beautiful
It was lovely to get out of Tripoli and breathe in the mountain air, and after hiking our way down the rocky hill, we were thankful that the guy with the van actually showed up again when he was supposed to and we weren't stuck out in the middle of nowhere.
There was a bit of hiking, and a bit of picnicing, and I think everybody got what they wanted out of the day. We'll definitely have to try this hiknicing again on one of the 13 weekends I have left in Lebanon (!!!!).