September 8, 2011
The wide roads outside Beirut for the most part dont have any lane markings. So the traffic all compete to see who can be the fastest driver and take the most risks, just zig zgs all over the roads. Its fascinating to watch. Mind you I always have my safety belt tightly fastened unlike a lot of the other drivers and passengers.
High speed race in both direction
The roads over the mountains are very twisty as they have to rise to a height of over 100o meters. So there are lots of short straights ansd sharp bends on this smooth wide road .
High speed cornering
More high speed cornering
The traffic for the most part all seems to be taking part in one huge race in both directions with no central reservation barrier. All the traffic is very close to the vehicle up ahead and when overtaking pass very close to traffic coming in the other direction. There is very little margin for error.
High speed conversation
These guys are talking to each other as the cars carreer along at 60 MPH. Just look how close the car I am traveling in is to them. Our tour guide told me not to worry as Lebanese are very good drivers and rarely have accidents.
September 2, 2011
Roman ruins at Baalbek
There is much to see at these ruins in quite a small area, which is easy to walk round.
Walls on top of walls
Originally built as temples by the Romans the area was transformed into a citadel when the conquered by the Arabs in 748 AD. This is quite evident when you look at the different blocks that form the walls. On top of the original walls, later construction is provided with loopholes for archers to fire arrows through while remaining concealed and protected.
There is only 6 columns remaining of the temple of Jupiter but the sheer size of these makes it easy to imagine how large the temple originally was and what a feat of construction it was to build this in the 1st century AD
On top of these columns where placed gargoyles which were transformed into fountains out of the mouths of the gargoyle when it rained.
The most outstanding part of this site is the Bacchus temple built in the second centuary AD. This is almost completely preserved except for the roof. Amazing when you think of all the earthquakes this area has suffered in the last 2000 years.
Inside Baccus temple
Close to the exit from the site is a small but very interesting museum. I found the photo gallery from the beginning of the 20th centuary particularly interesting.