miércoles, 22 de diciembre de 2010

The Paris of the Middle East? It’s more like Switzerland!

I was seriously getting resigned to the fact that winter in Beirut was just going to be an extension of the Fall. I mean it was cool-ish the other day, but after Boston’s harsh winters, I was like “OK, Lebanon, is this all you’ve got?”

A Lebanese friend who lives abroad was in town last weekend and she told me about this great restaurant in the mountains where you can see the snow and eat fondue, one hour away from Beirut. We decided to check it out. But in the back of my mind, I was asking myself, “C’mon, how cold can it actually get an hour from here??” (it was like 60F/15C in Beirut that day).

How wrong I was! After an hour drive on a seriously steep road (I wonder if the Lebanese pray for their life when they drive here on the mountain roads. I most certainly do) we got to this breathtaking area near the mountaintops. Seriously, it was ridiculously beautiful. Snow everywhere (Talj in Arabic), and a gorgeous view of the ocean. Can it get any better?

The restaurant, Le Montaignou, looks like a Swiss chalet, with a cozy atmosphere, wooden tables, laid back service and delicious mountain food (i.e. French onion soup, fondue, sausages and mash potatoes…). And there are windows in all walls, so you can enjoy the view while eating your meal and relaxing. The views are perfect for corny pictures to send back to your parents, the ones that say “Look how happy I am, Ma!”

After our meal we decided to sneak-a-pick at Faraya, the famous sky resort that all trendy people go to. Again, after seeing the ski slopes in the States or France, I wasn’t expecting much. Again... wrong! These ski slopes look not bad at all and the day passes are not too expensive. The Lebanese do not shy away from showing off their snowboarding skills or their expensive gear. I guess I’ll have to ditch my good old red fleece and trade it for something a little fancier…

Anyways, it looks like some serious skiing awaits us this season after all!!

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