Reaction Weekend

Wish we were here: Lebanon

While we might not be able to travel in body, we can in mind; Reaction’s friends and writers pen an ode to the destinations they have spent the last year dreaming of and intend to travel to once the madness is over and it is safe to do so.

BY Mattie Brignal | tweet mattiebrignal   /  13 February 2021

I got more than I bargained for on my first trip to Lebanon in 2019. Nationwide unrest broke out midway through, when a friend and I found ourselves nudging burning tyres off roads and smoking shisha with locals on the outskirts of the 24-hour protests which – at the time – felt like the beginning of a revolution.

The tourist stuff was great too. Lebanon is a gorgeous country inhabited by some of the most generous people I’ve ever met. I was offered motorcycle rides, books, cigarettes and worldly wisdom without even asking. I tried to buy an apple and two bananas from a tiny fruit shop and was waved away – I could have them.

Lebanon is tiny – half the size of Wales – so it was easy to scoot around while basing ourselves in Beirut – the vibrant, hectic, cultured capital. It used to be called the Paris of The Middle East, but the city’s faded colonial grandeur made it feel a bit more like Havana.


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