December 28, 2008

New Toy & Qadisha

Qadisha Valley, looking eastwards, towards the Cedars

Looks like I am on the road a lot lately. That’s because Santa (read hubbie) got me a new toy; a Tom-tom for Lebanon; A digital road map, supposedly showing me all the roads of Lebanon. And so I’ve been on the road a lot, not because I don’t know my way around Lebanon, but I want to check if my tom-tom knows the country too.
(And to show you what real photography is like; check out this guy's picture of the Qadisha valley: source) This one is taken westwards, toward the sea.

And I must say it is good that I know this country well, because the past three days the thing has been trying to send me in some interesting directions. Going from Tripoli to Beirut, it steers you off the road into Byblos and back on the highway again. At roundabouts it gets confused and sends you consistently to the right, even if the arrow shows you need to go straight, and one-way streets are a bit of a challenge too. All the new roads are unknown to him (couldn’t be a her, we always know the road), and the road from Beirut to the Cedars goes via … Feraya?
And here are those cedars!

The phonic issue is another problem. If you have a place in mind, try figuring out how it is spelled. Shimlan might be Shimlan, but it could be Chemlan, Shimlan or Chimlan. And as long as you don’t spell it right, it won’t tell you how to get there either. The machine does not abide by popular road indications either. Everyone in Beirut knows where Caracas, Mar Elias and Cola is. Not my tom-tom. Caracas does not even exist. It is ‘Kalaa’.
The road alongside the cedar grove (it's not really much of a forest anymore, just a bunch of trees), where people sell souvenirs made of - what else - cedar wood.

Today, I wanted to go to the Cedars. It took me some time to get that spelled correctly. Want to guess? Ariz. Yep. But other than that, the thing is great fun!Tourza, a mountain village at the edge of the Qadisha Valley.

And there have been so many places in the past that I wanted to revisit, but because I never ever knew where exactly I was – signs in Lebanon are often absent or in Arabic (which this illiterate Dutch cannot decipher) – I couldn’t exactly find them back either. Now I can.
A lone traffic light in Amioun (?).

My Tomtom is not as advanced as the European ones; roads less than two meters wide do in general not appear on the map and it doesn’t have such advanced features such as ‘choose shortest road’, but it does tell me exactly where I am at all times. And that’s what I needed it for. That’s why I can tell you exactly where I went today.
Terraced orchards in snow.

I drove all around the Qadisha Valley with a side trip to the Cedars. I had planned to go over the mountain ridge and back through the Beqaa Valley, but the mountain pass was already closed due to the snow.
Somebody asked me what happened to the 'other' dog; well, it needs to be carried in the snow (it's clutched between two green mittens), it does not like wet paws. Darn, who raised that dog and then kicked it out on the street?


Anonymous said...

Dimphy en Mieke, werkt jullie ccc e-mail adres nog? Ik probeer een mail te sturen, maar ik geloof niet dat ie aankomt.

Anonymous said...

very nice pics..can I have permission to copy some of them?

Kheireddine said...

That traffic light in Amioun was the only one functional in Lebanon during the 15 years war.

Anonymous said...

Toch wel. Zie mail.

Dimphy & Mieke

Nora C said...

Funny story about the traffic light in Amioun--a while back (maybe a year or 2 ago?) a truck ran into it, i.e. ran over it and completely destroyed the thing--amazing how it failed to see it

good to see its back, wonder if people actually abide by it?

Ecce Libanus said...

Great pics and a refreshing departure from the sadness of the Levant. I'm linking you to my (inactive) blog.
On the subject of your new gps, see if Santa will upgrade your tomtom to a Garmin; one of its best features is that it tells you the names of the streets (rather than display them on the screen), which helps you keep your eyes on the road...
safe travels...

Anonymous said...

You have the snow, but we have the ice... We skated in Uitwellingerga yesterday, and today we went to the Oostvaarersplassen. Perfect ice, the kind of ice you get once every twenty years.


Simple Answer said...

I wish, wish, wish I could see Lebanon. Such a shame to be right next door and denied a visa!

Anonymous said...

Nora C.
I like that about the traffic light. No, it would be hard to miss that one.
Uitwellingerga? Daar zeilt Adriaan in de zomer!

Simple Asnwer:
You've got to be kidding! Unless you have visited our southern neighbors and it shows in your passport. But hey, they've got snow as well. :)

M & D
Jaja, mail ontvangen. Zit hier heerlijk pepernoten en drop te knagen!

Anonymous said...

Ever visited the little museum and final resting place of Khalil Gibran at Bsharri?

xl pharmacy said...

this is the place that I was lookiong for, is perfect, I found my next town to live, I gonna sell my house and buy one here, finally I gonna live in a cold place, with my wife and my new Siberian Husky.