Do you remember my little moan about new beginnings last week? Well, that has turned into wanting to cancel my return flight and just stay. I’ve discovered the Lebanese mountains which you may have spotted on Instagram, took part in a few trips with an ecotourism club (mine was called Vamos Todos but there’s a huge variety in Lebanon, they all offer different trips each weekend) and met some awesome locals while climbing up the highest peak in the Middle East. Yep, I’ve crossed that off my bucket list. The view on Syria and Cyprus was a little foggy though, on clear days you can spot their coasts. On the way back a charming guy picked me up on his ATV and drove me all the way back to civilisation. Was that cheating!? Oh well. I’ve also seen the craziest sunset in Byblos accompanied by a bunch of lovely expats, a barbecue and bonfire.

Now I’m usually not a big fan of this type of mingling with travellers (does that disqualify me from being a travel blogger!?) because you just end up getting the same stories of backpacking, horror stories about ‘that hostel in Bangkok’, complaints about energy cuts and miss out on discovering the real country. But on this occasion my flatmate successfully convinced me to forget about my prejudices and just come along. It clearly paid off, I will never in my life forget this sunset.

beirut photo diary / caroline schmitt

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries13

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries14

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries16

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries17

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries18

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries20

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries19

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries21

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries22

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries23

I’ve also started studying Arabic which is so much harder than I thought, my teacher hates me (a recurrent pattern in my life) and even though I study around two hours per day I barely notice any progress. Apparently that’s normal though, I just need to keep pushing it! The nightlife is absurdly great and so much better than anything I’ve ever seen in London. If you’re here, check out the Old Train Station in Mar Mikhael. It’s an open air club next to a dysfunctional train station (who would have thought?) and made for an unforgettable Friday night. During the war with Israel in the summer of 2006 the party scene in Beirut peaked (while bands from abroad were cancelling their gigs) and the youth was out day and night because of/despite of the bombings. That’s what makes this city so addictive and fascinating.

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries24

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries26

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries29

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries30

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries31

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries32

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries33

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries34

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries27

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries28

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries36

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries37

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries38

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries40

Apart from all the exploring, I’ve had a pretty busy week with lots of writing, planning and begging people to help me with some ideas. Being creative isn’t so easy when you don’t have air conditioning but really need to make a deadline. Then suddenly the energy is cut off completely (fave topic among expats, eh?), it turns pitch black at 7pm, your laptop’s battery is dead and all you can do is take a cold shower in the dark and pray that the lights will come back in ten minutes. Usually that is of course not the case. #beirutiloveyou

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries41

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries42

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries39

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries1

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries2

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries43

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries7

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries8

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries15

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries4

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries5

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries10

caroline_schmitt_beirut_diaries3

All photos by Caroline Schmitt