Every once in a while, we like to take a road trip and get to know our country a bit more. These road trips come as a break from our normal routine and allow us to explore and be tourists for a day. It’s a great thing to do and I recommend everyone set time aside for such activities.
In our case, though, most of road trips have been concentrated on exploring the North and the Chouf. We never for once thought of going to the South even though we have only heard how beautiful it is.
Today, that changed. We drove to Tyre, also known as Sour in Arabic.
Some background information for you here. I have never been there. Never. Although we’ve been going to Sidon (Saida) my whole life, the only time I went any further south was in 2010 for a university field work. I don’t remember much about the road but I do remember the experience well.
And that’s such a shame. Not only is it the fourth largest city in the country, but it is also holds amazing historical and archaeological gems and several of its sites are classified as UNESCO World Heritage ones.
It did not disappoint.
The drive was quite a bit long for my liking, but once we got there, it was so easy to see why it is so charming and why it has gone down in the history books. Our original plan was to find someplace to have brunch by the seaside but our plans quickly changed to being classic tourists.
First, we found ourselves by the port with the ships docked by and the smell of the day’s fresh catches dominating over the area. Although it’s great that it seemed all so fresh, we decided against eating there. Maybe the next time.
We then navigated, unsure of where we were heading, to a narrow street with the most beautiful colored houses. The whole time, I was wondering how our Ford was going to make it through what should probably be an exclusive pedestrian road. Luckily enough, it did. We stopped by the sea front where people were swimming and enjoying time with their families and trekked back on foot to that same tiny street to take it all in.
Vibrant doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Somehow, as we were still trying to find somewhere to eat, we ended up finding one of the main archaeological excavations of the city, the Al Mina site.
This is not to be missed if you’re in the area, and do take advantage of the guide on site to ask him some questions, especially if you’re into history.
We spent some time there, learning about the origins of the columns and the various artifacts and locations on site, as well as the four different civilizations who have passed there.
By the time we finished our little tourist trip, hunger had taken full control and it was around 1 PM. Eating was imperative at this point. So we drove past the sea promenade as we listened to some of our favorite songs and sang at the top of our lungs, until we found the Tyre Rest House.
Our seats happened to overlook the sea and all the people going for a swim on this hot day. It was at this point that I just could not contain my excitement at how we had done something new and different than our day-to-day routine. And how I had finally visited Sour!
Of course, it really helped that the food was the enjoyable, typical Lebanese cuisine and we quickly devoured it.
All of this and we were back in Beirut by 3:00 PM-plenty of time to take care of several pending issues. So road trips don’t have to take up much of your day if you don’t have the time.
Just go ahead, go beyond Beirut. It’s only when we know what we have in this country that we will appreciate it and conserve our heritage and history.