Sunday, December 14, 2008

B for Batroun

After Beyrouth, Baalbek and the Bekaa valley our next adventure was at a seaside village called Batroun, about 25 kms from Tripoli. Batroun is an unbelievable place (yaya I know you are getting sick of me saying that about every other place in Lebanon!), but I swear, this one IS unbelievable. Batroun is one of the oldest cities in teh world and remnants from the old old (Greco Roman Phoenician, blah blah) times are the many many churches, the meandering narrow streets and the Phoenician wall.

If you have been to old Morocco, the streets in this city would seem familiar (I haven't, but i have seen Bourne Identity!). It's impossible to describe the feel of this place till you visit it - a dense network of meandering streets, sometimes uphill sometimes going down to the blue blue Mediterranean waters. The usual homes are one storey high, made of mud, some are more extravagant, but all are on the narrowest of streets imaginable and as ancient as ancient can be. At one time our big fat truck got squashed between two houses and we went scrich scratching away through the entire lane (well, to be fair no one had warned us not to come in a truck!)

Our lunch/dinner was at Maggie's sea side shack by the sea, next to an old crumbling wall from the Roman era (I would guess! or maybe greek?!) Maggie has the best job - she spends the day fishing, and then frying the fish she catches and eating it with her customers (not that many in the winters). She managed to fry us about two dozen small fishes and one big fat swordfish (which she caught in front of us), lots of fishy smelling fries, Taboulley, fatoush and bowls full of olives. mmmmmm I could have that meal every single day especially in that setting - right next to the sea with the Mediterranean crashing against rocks and the sun setting behind the umbrellas eeeeeha!



Blogger Annette said...

I am drooling - olives and fresh swordfish - and a woman named Maggie who fished for you! Unreal! Are there photos of this swordfish? Maggie? The blue blue sea? The old walls and winding streets?

You sound happy. That's good.

Thinking of you as we fish for our mittens and gaze at the gray, gray sky.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Erendira said...

You're completely selling this to me! Greece isn't that much different - i.e. the blue sea, the freshly fished fishies + olives part... not so much the meandering alleyways of crumbling Phoenician walls... though in some old still get that feeling... no one lives there though.
Methinks an exchange is on the cards... you coming here and me making it over there finally... have some friends in syria... and nearby locales who've been on my case for a looooong time to come... and i think reading your blog was perhaps the only thing missing in helping me make up my mind :-)
Somya xxx

4:43 AM  
Blogger sudo phish said...

Bingo, unfortunately I don't have pics of Maggie or the fish. But I intend to revisit her soon (perhaps to celebrate the first anniversary of A surviving me!) so pics to follow.

1. Why can't I access your profile or your blog? NO FAIR!
2. YES YES YES! An exchange is on the cards fer sure. Lets start planning ot for real. When is it a good time for you to visit us? Come before things go crazy around elections here.

2:35 AM  

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