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.