Hamburg – Alternative Elbe Boat Trip

A characteristic and unexpected boat trip on the Elbe river. The best way to visit Hamburg from a different point of view and at a low budget. Hamburg offers a big variety of boat trips on the old Speicherstadt, the new harbour and the Elbe. An alternative and cheap choise is to jump on one of the public transport boats at Landungsbrücken in direction of Finkenwerder (line 62) to enjoy the St. Pauli water front, the Fischmarkt and Cruise Center from the water up to the sandy beach of Övelgonne. Fancy a beer or coffee on the beach? This is the best you can enjoy expecially when one of the big cargo vessels will slowly slide in front of your eyes. A magnificent show that Hamburg offers simply every day. 

Hamburg – Miniatur Wunderland

Visiting in Hamburg and the same time visiting the world. Yes, all of this is possible at the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, the largest model railway in the world. Founded in 2006 by a couple of railway model amateurs, the extension of the railway has reached in 2016 15,400km. But it is not only about the length, it is about the detail of the environments and landscape through which the railway runs. Hamburg, Las Vegas, Switzerland, Scandinavia, the last arrived Italy and the amazing airport model which is a real airport only of a smaller size, with the same timetable of Hamburg airport. We had fun searching the through the details of the represented cities and landscapes, people kissing, nude models, scuba cows and so on. Undoubtedly one of the things you can’t miss if you visit Hamburg, and one one the things that should be on everyone’s to do list.  

Camino de Santiago – Day 16 from Santiago to Muxía and Fisterra

Il viaggio continua, oltre Santiago, le mete sono Muxía e Finisterre. La prima per la sua meravigliosa chiesa de la Virgen de Barca costruita direttamente sulla scogliera di fronte al mare, probabilmente posta sul luogo originario del culto ancestrale delle pietre. È uno spettacolo godersi l’infrangersi delle onde sugli scogli a pochi metri dalla facciata della chiesa, tra i massi di pietra conosciuti come rocking delle pietre il cui equilibrio è cosi preciso che basta toccarle per farle oscillare. È il posto perfetto per chi è appassionato di surf e kitesurf e per chi ama trovate scorci indimenticabili da fotografare. A metà giornata ci fermiamo a pranzo al ristorante o de Lolo, la cui mariscata, un piatto misto di pesce e frutti di mare, è letteralmente un miracolo per le papille gustative, cozze in salmoriglio, capesante, datteri di mare, vongole e aragosta. La pausa perfetta per continuare il nostro viaggio da Muxia a Fisterra, il luogo che nel medioevo si pensasse essere la fine del mondo occidentale (Fisterra: Fin da terra). Fisterra è una penisola che si allunga verso occidente alla fine della quale si trova il famoso faro e una bella terrazza naturale da cui godersi il tramonto del sole insieme a tanti pellegrini e turisti che armati di birre e snack attendono lo sparire del sole all’orizzonte. Uno spettacolo della natura in questa giornata calda e limpida di fine Settembre. Prima di arrivare al faro decidiamo di posteggiare e percorrere gli utlimi 5km a piedi, oltrepassando la pietra miliare che indica il mitico km 0,00 del cammino. Il raggiungimento di un traguardo dopo 16 giorni di avventura ed esperienze indimenticabili insieme ad altre persone diventate nostre amiche. 16 giorni di semplicitá, natura e… Vita


—— 

The journey continues over Santiago, to Muxía and Finisterre. The first for its wonderful church of La Virgen de Barca built on the cliff in front of the sea, probably located on a ancient site of the ancestral worship of stones. It’s a sight to enjoy the waves crashing on the rocks a few meters from the facade of the church, among the enchanted boulders known as rocking stones, are large stones that are so finely balanced that the application of just a small force causes them to rock. It’s the perfect place for those who love surfing and kite surfing and for those who love to photograph unforgettable views. At midday we stopped for lunch at the restaurant O de Lolo, whose mariscata is literally a miracle for the taste buds, in vineagre mussels, scallops, date mussels, clams and lobster; the perfect break to continue our journey from Muxia to Fisterra, place that in the Middle Ages was thought to be the end of Western world (Fisterra: fin da terra) Fisterra is a peninsula that stretches out to the west at the end of which lies the famous lighthouse and a beautiful natural terrace from which to enjoy the sunset along with many pilgrims and tourists armed with beers and snacks awaiting the vanishing of the sun on the horizon. A show of the nature in this hot and clear day of end of September. Before arriving at the lighthouse we decided to park and walk the last few 5km walk, encountering the milestone of 0.00 km of the camino de Santiago. The achievement of a target after 16 days of adventure and unforgettable experiences with other people and friends. 16 days of simplicity, nature and …Life

Camino de Santiago – Day 15, one day in Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela, una città dalla bellezza inaspettata. La cattedrale di Santiago coincide con la fine del cammino dei pellegrini nella piazza dell’Obradoiro di fronte alla facciata barocca della cattedrale. Al nostro arrivo la facciata era semicoperta da impalcature a causa dei lavori di restauro in corso, ma ció non ha tolto nulla alla belezza della chiesa e all’emozione che ci ha travolti una volta arrivati. La facciata è cosi ricca di dettagli e simboli da poter perdersi per ore ad osservarla, come fanno i pellegrini piu stanchi distesi a terra sulla piazza. Una curiosità degna di nota è che questa facciata costruita nel 1700 protegge la facciata medievale danneggiata dalle intemperie nel corso degli anni. Sul lato sinistro della piazza, guardando alla cattedrale, è l’Hotel del los reis catholicos un antico parador medievale con una stupenda facciata. La città è molto ricca di edifici che risalgono all’inizio dell’anno mille. Ogni giorno alle 12:00 e alle 19:30 si svolge la messa e la benedizione del pellegrino, quando si è fortunati si puó anche assistere alla benedizione col botafumeiro l’incensiera piu grande al mondo che viene fatta oscillare come un pendolo sulle teste dei fedeli. Anticamente questo serviva a purificare l’aria della cattedrale con l’ incenso a causa della grande quantitá di pellegrini che da giorni camminavano senza aver possibilità di lavarsi. Oggi è diventata una della attrazioni turistiche di Santiago, che si può ammirare nella messa di tutti i venerdi alle 19:30 oppure a richiesta facendo una donazione di 300euro alla cattedrale. Anche questo è diventato un commercio turistico. Tappa obbligata er i pellegrini è quella all’ufficio di accoglienza ai pellegrini per ottenere la compostela, il documento che attesta che il pellegrino ha effettuato il cammino, per ottenerla bisogna percorrere a piedi almeno gli ultimi 100km ( da Sarria) o 200km in bici. Noi abbiamo fatto due ore e mezza di coda per ottenere l’attestato. Oltre alla cattedrale, le vie del centro storico di Santiago sono tutte da scoprire, tra negozietti, chiese antiche, botteghe di artigiani e ristoranti tipici.​ Prendete un giorno intero per visitare la città, ne vale la pena.

——

Santiago de Compostela, a city of unexpected beauty. The Cathedral of Santiago is the end of the journey of the pilgrims at the plaza de Obradoiro in front of the baroque facade of the cathedral. Upon our arrival the facade was partly covered in scaffolding because of restoration work in progress, but this has not removed any of the emotion that has overwhelmed us as we arrived. The facade is a wealth of details and symbols that one can get lost for hours to observe it, as do the more tired pilgrims lying on the ground on the square. A curiosity worth of note is that this facade built in 1700 protects the medieval facade damaged by the weather over the years. On the left side of the square, looking at the cathedral, is the Hotel del los reis Catholicos a medieval parador with a stunning facade. The city is very rich in buildings that date back to the year one thousand.

Every day at 12:00 and at 19:30 there is the Mass and blessing of the pilgrims, when you are lucky you can also witness the Benediction of the botafumeiro the largest incense pot in the world that is swung like a pendulum over the heads of the pilgrims. In ancient times this was used to purify the air of the cathedral with strong incense because of the large amount of pilgrims who walked for days without washing facilities. Today it has become a tourist attractions of Santiago, which can be seen in the Mass every Friday at 19:30 or at request by making a donation of 300euro to the cathedral. Even this has become a touristy business. A obliged stop for the pilgrims is at the welcome office of the pilgrims to get the compostela, the document that certifies that the pilgrim has walked the way, to get it you need to walk at least the last 100km (from Sarria) or to cycle at least 200km. We did two and a half hour queue to get the certificate. In addition to the cathedral, the streets of the historic center of Santiago are to be discovered, including shops, ancient churches, artisan shops and restaurants. Take a whole day to do it, it is really worth the time.

Camino de Santiago – Day 8 from Fonfria to Sarria

Day #8 del cammino da Fonfria a Sarria, passando per il paese di Samos e il suo bellissimo monastero incastonato tra le colline di campagna. È una giornata di nebbia che rende l’atmosfera quasi mistica come camminare in un sogno tra sentieri dispersi nella vegetazione e piccoli borghi di pastori con i cani a guardia delle case. A quanto pare la zona è popolata da qualche orso, quindi è sempre buono che qualche cane sia pronto a fare la guardia. Facciamo poche soste per poter raggiungere prima Samos per ora di pranzo e poi proseguire per Sarria,durante il viaggio mangiamo qualche mela da un albero che sporge sui sentieri e le more che ormai sono presenti dappertutto sul cammino. Siamo stati del tutto rapiti dalla bellezza del Monastero di Samos, se non fosse per quegli affreschi degli anni 50 fatti al primo piano del chiostro…

La sera arriviamo a Sarria, il posto da cui la maggior parte dei pellegrini inizia il suo cammino, siamo a circa 100km da Santiago, ed è proprio 100km la distanza media da coprire a piedi per ricevere il riconoscimento della Compostela una volta arrivati a Santiago. Abbiamo ormai superato più della metà del nostro cammino.

——

Stage # 8 of the camino from Fonfria to Sarria, passing through the village of Samos and its beautiful monastery nestled between the hills of the countryside. It is a foggy day which makes the atmosfere quite mystical like walking into a dream of trails scattered in the vegetation and small villages of shepherds with dogs guarding the houses. Apparently the area is populated by a few bears, so it is always good that a dog is ready to stand guard. We make a few stops to be able to reach Samos for lunch time and then continue to Sarria. We eat apples from a tree sticking out on the trails and blackberries which are now present everywhere on the road. We were totally overwhelmed by the beauty of the monastery of Samos, of it wouldn’t be for the frescoes of the 50’s put on the first floor of the cloister …In the evening we arrive in Sarria, the place from which the majority of the pilgrims began her journey, we are at about 100 km from Santiago, and it is 100km the minimum distance to cover on foot to receive the recognition of Compostela once you are in Santiago. Half of the Camino is over.

Sicily – Good Friday Procession – Pietraperzia “Lu Signuri di li fasci”

Easter is the event not to be missed for those who want to enjoy the folklore and the traditional religious rites of Sicily, especially during the processions of Good Friday in the inland villages.
A Pietraperzia, in the province of Enna, is organized the procession of “Lu Signuri di li Fasci”.

Easter is the event not to be missed for those who want to enjoy the folklore and the traditional religious rites of Sicily, especially during the processions of Good Friday in the inland villages.

A Pietraperzia, in the province of Enna, is organized the procession of “Lu Signuri di li Fasci”.
The fercolo composed of a cypress wood beam, ending with the 8-meter-high cross is brought outside of the Carmelite church at sunset and left horizontally in the open space in front of the church itself to allow the faithful to knot at its end lots of white linen cloth bands.
Each band represents a vow made by the person who holds it. The function of the bands is also to allow the faithful to maintain balance in the long wooden rod along the career path that crosses the country.
This very impressive procession starts shortly after 20:00 and lasts about 3 or 4 hours. and it is accompanied by the launches of the dead Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows carried on the shoulders of a group of women. The grueling procession, but full of emotion, ends at about two in the morning.
It’s really worth visiting this small town to immerse themselves in one of the oldest Easter rites of Sicily.

ITALIANO

Pasqua è l’appuntamento da non perdere per chi vuole assaporare il folclore e i riti religiosi più tipici della Sicilia, soprattutto durante le processioni del Venerdì Santo nei paesi dell’entroterra.
A Pietraperzia, in provincia di Enna, viene organizzata la processione de “Lu Signuri di li Fasci”.
Il fercolo composto da untrave di legno di cipresso, terminante con la croce ad 8 metri di altezza viene portato all’esterno della chiesa del Carmine verso il tramonto del sole e lasciata in posizione orizzontale nello spiazzale antistante la chiesa stessa per permettere ai fedeli di annodare alla sua estremità tantissime fasce di tela di lino bianche.
Ogni fascia rappresenta un voto fatto dalla persona che la tiene. La funzione delle fasce è anche quella di consentire ai fedeli di mantenere in equilibrio la lunga asta di legno lungo il percorso professionale che attraversa tutto il paese.
Questa processione molto suggestiva inizia poco dopo le 20:00 e dura all’incirca 3 o 4 ore. ed è accompagnata dalla vara del cristo morto e della Madonna addolorata portata a spalla da un gruppo di donne. La processione estenuante, ma ricca di emozioni, termina verso le ore due di notte.
Vale veramente la pena visitare questo piccolo centro per calarsi in uno dei riti Pasquali più antichi della Sicilia.

Helsinki – The Daughter of the Baltic – Finland

Despite of the cool temperature, Helsinki hides a lot of surprises, from stunning nature, to delicious scandinavian food. Discover with us this wonderful scandinavian capital.

The best time to visit the Finnish capital is certainly the Summer. Despite the warmer temperatures, however, never forget to bring some heavier sweater. The average temperature in July is between 20 and 22 degrees.
First of all get in peace with yourself and the language, because to a foreigner it seems that everything is written by typing random letters on the keyboard.
Discover Helsinki is very manageable by walking, especially in areas of the city center and public transport it is working fine. Taxis are very popular and of high quality with drivers who speak English well and payment possible by credit card.
Start your tour with a good coffee or cocktail on the Esplanade Park, first stop is the “Cafe Strindberg”, which offers an exclusive and very relaxing atmosphere, to be enjoyed in front of a good glass of sweet coffee or a cocktail of the house (we tried the Basil & Ginger, very good and refreshing).
If the weather is rainy and cold, Helsinki offers among the largest shopping centers in Europe, with bars, restaurants and shops that can entertain the shoppers for an entire day. One of these is the “Forum”, that towards the late afternoon, especially on weekends, is full of people who come together in the bars (try the “Apollo“) to start their evening before continuing in one of the clubs or theaters of the city.
Continue visiting the neo-classical cathedral placed on top of a grand staircase on Senate Square. Inside you will find the statues of Agricola, the father of Finnish literature, first person to translate the Bible into Finnish, and Luther. Once finished your visit to the cathedral, head to the dock right by the market square “Kauppatori“, facing the beautiful turquoise palace of the Swedish Embassy and jump on one of the many ferries that offer the sightseing around the bay of Helsinki and all its islands, including Suomenlinna the most famous one, once a military fortress that still it collects proof of the military history the Finns are proud of. Curiosity: in the Shipyard of Helsinki is produced 60% of all ice breaker vesselss in the world.
After the boat trip, if you are cold and you want to enjoy a nice bite, stop by the street food truck “Scandinavia Food Restaurant“, usually right in front of the pier for boat tours and try the fried fish, anchovies, squid, crab, shrimp and herring onion, accompanied by a delicious garlic sauce.
While enjoying these delicacies, beware of seagulls on the harbor of the market place, they could snatch away from your hands what you are about to eat and would not be a pleasant experience.
The Finns are among the biggest coffee drinkers in the world, so you won’t be disappointed wherever you will have one.
On the same square, stop for a coffee at “Cafe Jugend”, a Jungend Styl Cafee, preserving a fresco of a stylized Helsinki and antique cruises advertisments, which also offers live music.
If weather conditions are on your side, do not wait to go out on the streets and discover the city in its every corner. Helsinki will surprise you.
Heading from the port towards the center of Etelaesplanadi you will find a building in Art Nuveau style, which hosts the restaurant Kappeli, a good and fancy place to enjoy good Finnish food, a salmon dish or an elk meat hamburger “Hunter’s Open Sandwich “. If you fancy a beer you will not be spoiled choosing the Bar “Villi Wäinö“, we just wish the whole menu on the board was written in English.
Dedicate a good part of one of your days to visit Helsiki’s museums, especially the KIASMA, contemporary art museum featuring a building with a metal roof full of curved lines. Contains one of the most eclectic collections of modern Finnish and international art. The museum and its surroundings are always populated by hundreds of inhabitants of Helsinki, who takes ii sun on the lawns and flower beds of those who relaxes under the statue of Mannheim.
Once in Finland do not miss the chance to take a sauna in Helsinki, in Finland there are more than one million and Finnish are extremely proud of their Saunas. There are saunas in restaurants and bars and even more saunas than cars. The Finns like to spend time in silence at these high temperatures, also known for being not the best in small talk, they are always open to explain their customs and traditions and spend time with tourists.
Try this experience to Kulttuurisauna (Hakaniemenranta 17) to have a real Zen experience.
Where to eat
-Restaurant Kosmos-
Kalevankatu 3, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
A local classic architecture, with a magnificent service. You are greeted at the entrance waiting for your table by a friendly gentleman who in a very formal way will take care of your coats before entering the room. The typical Finnish food is really excellent. Helsinki is for sure a place where you will eat really well. Try the Finnish Appetizer with smoked meat of elk and the baltic herring, cheese and onion sauce and then move on to the meat main dishes: elk filet, chicken breast Russian art and lamb livers.
-Scandinavia Food Restaurant-
-Kappeli-
Eteläesplanadi 1, 00130 Helsinki, Finland
Where to drink
-Cafe Strindberg-
Pohjoisesplanadi 33, 00130 Helsinki, Finland
-Villi Wäinö-
Kalevankatu 4, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
-Apollo live club-
Mannerheimintie 16, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Ronda & Setenil de las Bodegas – Cliffs All-Aroung – Andalucia, Spain

Ronda
One of the oldest and most spectacular Andalusian city, on the top of a plateau divided by a 100m deep gorge called El Tajo. It is located in an area away from the coast once famous for its trade and for attracting in the 19th century many famous people, such as Dumas and Hemingway who have found their inspiration from the its landscape and folklore.
Start to visit from the south, the new town, going to the old part, the Ciudad crossing the spectacular Ponte Nuevo which offers a breathtaking view of El Tajo, surrounded by a row of white houses built over the cliff.
For the braves, the Casa del Rey Moro, in the vicinity of the Ponte Nuevo, has a stair of 300 steps leading down to the bottom of the gorge. Be very careful, the stairs is largely in the dark and very slippery being carved into the rock. Once was used as an escape, or as a way to source the water to the city as well as point to attack the city.
To the north of the new bridge you will find the Plaza de Espana in the neighborhood of Mercadillo, famous for one of the novels written by Hemingway on the Spanish fascist period.
Continue north to the real attraction of Ronda and whole Andalusia, for the nostalgic but also for the curious of bullfighting and its history. The Arena of Plaza deToros still used after 200 years, is characterized by the intense yellow of its sand and hand-painted wooden balustrades that surround the 5000 seats. inside the Arena is the museum Taurino, a dip in the history of bullfighting. There you can learn more about the legend of bullfighting: Pedro Romero. His clothes are still stained with blood, a little macabre but rich in folklore. The fear and tension of this environment was also the subject of an ‘other work of Hemingway “Death at noon.”
Leaving the Plaza de Toros and still continuing to the north, relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery and the tranquility of Alameda del Tajo.
But what is the most interesting thing of Ronda? certainly its inhabitants, mainly gitanos who will welcome you with great familiarity and drag you in pleasant chats about their private lives, marriages, children, grandchildren, festivities, perhaps in front of a cool glass of tinto de verano. You will be enchanted by this fantastic and almost mythological place.
Setenil de las Bodegas
A country dug in the rocky walls of a plateau crossed by the river Rio Trejo
Cave houses complemented by beautiful white facades on the narrow streets. Terraces and natural shelters built into the rock and tunnel whose walls are the white walls of houses and the roof made of a overhanging rock.
Differenently from the other white villages, Setenil is built in Caves. On the border between the province of Cadiz and the province of Malaga, it is reachable from Ronda driving approx. 100km northward. it is s part of the characteric white villages ranging from Setenil to Arcos de la Frontera. In the past is served much to defend the Christian inhabitants of these areas by the Moorish in 1400 and now become attraction for tourists, many of those homes are now restaurants and bars in which you should keep an eye to understand what it was like to live in caves hundreds of years ago. Setenil is a beautiful place to discover on foot through its narrow streets, stopping to savor the great offering of its tapas bars, grilled meat, patatas bravas, followed by ice cold beer to drink in the shade of a cool shelter carved directly in the rock.

Yalla! – One week in Lebanon – Beirut, Chouf Mountains, Byblos and Tyre

Lebanon

Out of the main stream tourism, Lebanon is the perfect mixture of mediterranean and middle east culture, the very link between Europe and Asia. Sitting on top of more than 5000 years of history, where Phoenicians, romans, and arabs have alternate themselves in dominating the country, leaving traces of their impressive culture through the work of arts presents every where along the country.
A country of beauty, culture and astonishing nature where different cultures, religion and philosophies coexists.
Despite the multiple setbacks and political upheavals, Lebanon remains one the friendliest places in the world. The Lebanese like to savor life, are very friendly and can give you the hospitality only a mediterranean/asian culture can give. They make you feel at your ease from the very first moment. They like to enjoy time with friends and family, eating together and talking of philosophy and religion. Very proud of their country, they love to celebrate it at the first chance during small talks with foreigners. For them Lebanon is the earth of the world, the place where they’ve born, where they want to leave, where they come back after long periods abroad to build their house, in the hills outside of the city, surrounded by the marvelous nature of the mountains facing directly the mediterranean sea.
Lebanese people look alway forward in a positive way. Inshallah (as God wishes) is a word you will be used to hear often.
During our travel through Lebanon we were guests of a wonderful Lebanese family. Beirut, Byblos, Tyre and the Chouf Mountains were our main travel destinations, impressing a memory in our mind that will never go away.
Beirut
This is the city that will never die. Here different cultures and religions coexists in the same place. It is impressive to see a mosque and a christian church close to each other, separated by a narrow street, as happens for the mosque of Mohamed Al-Amin and the Christian Maronite Cathedral of St. George.
Beirut gives you always a big welcome.
Don’t let be intimidated by the armed soldiers perched above tanks on many street corners and Dive into the city recent history walking along the green line, for many years the border line between the muslim and the christian neighborhood of the city. Proceeding through the Rue da Damas you will be impressed by the few buildings still in the condition they were left at the end of the war. A strong contrast towards the brand new skyscrapers, as they are still reminding of the city turbulent past.
Still Alive after years of civil war, the city had a very quick development. The central district with new modern buildings and renovated old houses of the Beirut’s Souk is an example of that. But still the presence of crumbling and bullet-riddled houses and villas dated to the ottoman or french mandate period, waiting to be tore down remembers of the recent past of the city. All this reconstruction has unfortunately caused speculation and corruption. Crumbled houses and fields where bought for less money by big construction companies (see Solidere) taking advantage of the situation setting a much higher price for the renovated buildings not any more affordable by the former citizen classes.
This has stolen a lot of the old flavor of Beirut. If you ask any one, you will be answered in the same way that the central district of Beirut is now neat and nice, with wonderful buildings but unfortunately so expensive and unaffordable that they end up empty for long periods making the city center, once very populated, quite a desolated area.
Beirut must be experienced on the street, walking through its streets, eating shawarma and falafel at one of its typical fast food, having dinner in the area of Mar Mikhael and then strolling through the old and the new city, between almost destroied villas and the brand new sky scrapers (the Marina Towers) a few steps away from the Corniche. Walking towards South you will encounter the famous Pigeon rocks, natural rock arches rising from the sea, a piece of wild nature in the middle of the city.
in the downtown don’t miss the old Roman baths
Eating
Lebanese Food
The lebanese food is a celebration of life, fresh flavorful and with a class of its own. Eating a meal is not only substantiation but a get together experience, enjoying this time with relatives and friends. For the lebanese is always the right chance to celebrate some important moment with a reunion around a fully basted table. The colors of the lebanese cuisine reflects the sunny landscapes and the hospitality of the lebanese people. Lebanese food combines the sophistication of European cuisine with the exotic oriental ingredients. A meal usually starts with a “mezze” a selection of salads, hummos, dattles, stuffed grape leaves, kebbe (meat balls), taboule (parsley and tomato salad), Baba ghannouj (eggplant), Rqeqet Jebne (puff pastry with spinach, Fatti (chikpeas, pine nut mixed with tahin and yogurt), Fool (beans, olive oil, garlic, lemon, vegetables, tomato, mint, parsley) . The main course is usually grilled meat, or chicken or fish served with a vast variety of vegetables, rise and bread. A typical dish of the Chuff mountains is the Mloukhieh,chicken meat cooked with mallow leaves The mezze are appetizers that can make a whole meal.
Desserts are very sweet and include a great variation of sweets such as baklava, Knefeh (mild cheese, flour thick, sugar and honey) a real calorie bomb) , mammoul, debs (home made grape cream, sweet as honey), as well as dried fruits and nuts.
Black coffe is always served at the end of the meal, scented with cardamom.
If it happen to be invited at someone house, you will be offered of coffe, cake or fresh cut season fruits.
Street Food
Shauarma, Falafel and the Manakeesh the lebanese pizza expecially with fresh vegetables, fresh baked at every time of the day in on of the bakery along the streets.
Our favourite place:
Barbar
Rue Spears, Hamra
A popular street food chain in Lebanon, oper around the clock, serves the best mannish, shwarma in the city. Falafel are prepared live in front of you, with the cook frying them in the hot oil pan. Don’t bother about what time in the day you get hungry, after this culinary experience you will only be more than satisfied
Drinking
 Check point Charlie
Uruguay Street,
For the nostalgic and for them that want to find a connection between two cities that lived a separation between their borders, Beirut as Berlin, both of them connected by a somehow similar story.
Great cocktails and atmosphere. Stop there for a drink before starting your crazy night in the Beirut night life.
Chouf Mountains & Mont Liban
Beitedinne
27 km from Beirut is a spectacular attraction. The palace of Beitedinne is the jewel of the Chouf Mountains, built by BasharII is the greatest surviving architectural achievement of the 19th century. Beitedinne is surrounded by many small villages, all of them worth a visit, like Arsoun and Deir El Ahmar. Just walk through their small streets to get a feeling of the typical daily life of Lebanese families. If you are lucky, you can even get invited for a coffe or a mate tea with a piece of cake or fresh fruits, sitting on a sofa, talking and eating around the typical wood stove present in alle the houses in the chuff mountains, while you hear discussion about philosophy, politics, and more relaxing and funny topics. Most of the people would simply forget about the war and avoid to talk about it at all. Instead they prefer to show their overriding optimism that “everything’s going to be alright” and good times are just around the corner.
Byblos
7000 years old city. Its archeological site has ruins and work of arts from neolithic, canaanite, phoenician, hellenistic, roman and crusader times. It’s a blend of the ancient and the prosperous ages overlooking a beautiful day.
It picturesque harbor on the mediterranean sea gives it’s best at sunset, when the sun colors all the building walls and the stone of an intense orange/red color.
A must see is the Memoir du Temps fossils museum a small shop of a paleontologist that discovered hundreds of fish fossils in a field owned by his family. More than a shop is a real family driven archeological museum.
Byblos is one of the preferred venues of Beirut people to have a night out, to enjoy the night life that it offers with numerous bars and clubs along the old streets of the historical center.
During the Christmas time it becomes a feast of lights especially along the archeological area in the city center.
Tyre
about 80 km south of Beirut, suffered heavily during the civil war and the israeli incursions. The feeling you have in this city is very different that the one you can have in Beirut. It seams like belonging to another country not fully out of the tension of the war. ONU troops are still stationed in the city. Poster and flags of Hezbollah are outlying the access roads to the city. Anyway the city is of course worth a visit for Unesco World Heritage Roman remains like the Al-Bass Archeological site that contains the largest and best preserved Roman hippodrome in the world.