Travel 1 comment on A Weekend in Tripoli

A Weekend in Tripoli

When we need an escape from our routine and a change of scenery, we immediately plan a trip to explore a new country. Yet, we more often than not stop right in the middle of that booking because we think twice about the budget.

What we rarely think of is a weekend away in our own country that has many places left to explore. Places you never thought existed a few kilometers away.

Last weekend, the lovely people of Via Mina Hotel in Tripoli, invited us over for a relaxing stay. Believe me when I tell you I woke up on Sunday morning not sure of where in the world I was. The old souks of Tripoli are the miniature reproduction of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. The pubs we visited at night were the reflection of Rome’s laid-back Trastevere. The streets around Al Mina region resemble the Old Croatian towns. This can give you a clear picture of the mixed feelings you get during your two-day stay.

That weekend was a huge eye-opener on the possibility of things to do in Lebanon. Here’s what you can do during a weekend in Tripoli.

Where to Stay:

Via Mina Hotel. This refreshing and cozy Bed & Breakfast is all you need to relax and unwind away from work and busy Beirut. What was an old inhabited house became the coziest place to stay. Just that smell of organic green tea soap gives your mind peace the entire time.

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

What to do:

Visit the souks in the center of Tripoli. You’ll get the same experience as visiting the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul if you’ve been. Make sure you go to “Khan el Saboun” (i.e. the soap market), where you’ll find loads of organic soaps.

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

Take a walk along the Mina. If you’re staying at the Via Mina Hotel, the Mina is a three-minute walk away. If you’re an early riser, you can visit the fish market  where people place bids on the freshest fish. You can also walk around the Mino area in the morning and witness fresh bread-making, live foul and hommos cooking and a joyful atmosphere.

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

In the evening, there are pubs two minutes away from the hotel. Timmy’s is one of the crowdiest. Its architecture is also something you don’t see every day.

weekend in tripoli | breadonbutter

If you’re craving for a nice seafood meal, Borj El Samak (which is right next to Via Mina) is a good choice.

Lately, I’ve been pessimistic about Lebanon and long to travel the world.  The most important lesson I learnt that weekend is to never make up your mind about something before you experience it yourself. We all have our made-up ideas about certain places and it’s easy to get influenced by the media, our parents’ anxieties, and even our own stubbornness.  But I promise myself, here and now, to be more positive and appreciate what we have.

Thoughts? 🙂

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Places, Travel 1 comment on A Weekend in Batroun: 10 Things To Do In The Region

A Weekend in Batroun: 10 Things To Do In The Region

Sunny weekends are still ahead of us and we’re all looking for creative things to do. One of my favorite places in Lebanon is Batroun. The beautiful scenery brings you back refreshed and ready for another busy week after the weekend. There are so many things to do there other than lying on the rocks and soaking up the sun. Be it during summer or on sunny winter weekends, Batroun and its surroundings is a great destination for all kinds of activities.

Here are some ideas around the region for weekends ahead. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone!

When I say Batroun, I’m also talking about its surrounding towns, like Tannourine, Chekka, Anfeh, Douma and others. So here goes:

1- Tannourine: Start with an early morning hike in the beautiful reserve. The Tannourine forest is actually the biggest one. It starts in the Batroun casa and ends in the Bechareh casa.

batroun | breadonbutter

2- Saydet el nourieh: On your way down from Tannourine to the beach, pass by Saydet el Nouriyyeh for a spiritual hour and a breathtaking view on the shore.

batroun | breadonbutter

3- Make sure to pass by ‘Helmeh’ for a nice and refreshing lemonade!

4- Visit Batroun’s old town, it’s beautiful and untouched.

5- You can now go lie down on the rocks and take a dip in the sea. There’s a lot of choice when it comes to which beach you can go to. You can choose between Bonita Bay, White Beach, and Pierre and Friends, or go to Joining beach or Dany’s Bar for a less mainstream experience and great fish.

6- Make sure you stay there till sunset, you won’t regret it a single minute. Those places are great for those who love fishing as well.

batroun | breadonbutter

7- If you choose to sleep and spend the weekend there, two of the best places I’ve been to are Beit el Batroun and Mayouli. Beit el Batroun is simply the loveliest and most relaxing place. Mayouli is a bit different than Beit el Batroun as it’s more of an ecological place, with the freedom to have barbecues in a corner of the garden.

batroun | breadonbutter

8- Go up to one of Batroun’s vineyards the next day for some wine tasting. Ixsir has the most magical setting, and Aurora is another great choice.

batroun | breadonbutter

9- Have a late BBQ lunch on the rocks. You can find a lot of public beaches with clear blue water and settle there.

batroun | breadonbutter

 

10- For a nice late afternoon drink, try Colonel Beer. The setting is relaxed and the beer is excellent!

batroun | breadonbutter

There you go! A perfect weekend in Batroun 🙂 I’d love to hear about your suggestions!

Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM @breadonbutter_

and HERE to get your daily Breadonbutter news on FACEBOOK

Don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips: #breadonbutter

Things To Do, Travel, Weekend 0 comments on A Day in Byblos

A Day in Byblos

Every single time I visit Byblos, I conclude it’s one of my favorite places in Lebanon. Just knowing I’ll be spending a day or weekend in this lovely city makes me smile. I go there quite often and at any time of year. See, what’s great about this city is that it’s beautiful during all seasons.

In winter, a walk in the fresh and crisp winter air after lunch or right before dinner is the most favorable pick-me-up. Head up the beautiful alley from the main port and take a walk around the old Souk, then sit down for a cuppa’ in one the local coffee shops.

byblos | breadonbutter

byblos | breadonbutter

Head to the Byblos Citadel and absorb its architecture. You can then hurry to Byblos Sur Mer, the loveliest hotel, for a nice and cozy dinner by the chimney. You can even spend the night there in one of their charming rooms with the fluffiest bed ever.

byblos | breadonbutter

Byblos Sur Mer is not only a hotel. You can have lunch or dinner at Tournesol, their indoor restaurant during wintertime and relax by the chimney. Instead of getting a snowy view, you get to admire the sea during winter, which I’ve always found fascinating. We did exactly that 2 weeks ago and got a long reinvigorating weekend. We felt warm, relaxed and ready to face our busy lives again.

byblos | breadonbutter
View from Byblos Sur Mer

During Christmas time, you can also enjoy the decorations and one of the most beautiful Christmas trees in the world according to the Wall Street Journal. You can check the link here

In spring, you can do the same walk but also enjoy the flower market that takes place in the souk around March, and grab a chocolate crepe or frank’s hot dog for street food.

byblos | breadonbutter

Summer is also wonderful in Byblos, as you get to relax and have a delicious mezzeh and fish lunch by the sea at Dar el Azrak. Great fish, the smell of the sea, and then later on take a walk and watch the sunset right before heading to one of the concerts going on during Byblos Festival season. I will be sharing the festival calendar in due time.

byblos | breadonbutter

In fall, the weather gets cooler, you enjoy the end of summer without the heat and the crowd.

byblos | breadonbutter

Byblos Sur Mer is a really great hotel, where the staff is friendly, the interior is so cozy you’ll want to do the same at home, and the food is worthy. You get to enjoy the benefits of a hotel and yet feel like in a guesthouse, welcomed with open arms every time.

The excellent news is: Breadonbutter Readers, you get a discount at Byblos Sur Mer!

Whether it’s for lunch or dinner at Tournesol or Dar el Azrak, or even a night in, just use the code “BOB” to get your 15% discount. To benefit from this offer, all you have to do is email Mona Mounzer before heading there on mona.mounzer@byblossurmer.com for all reservations (don’t forget the code: BOB). The offer is valid till March 31rst, upon availability. 

hotel

room

You can check their website on this link.

Don’t forget to tag @breadonbutter_ on social media when you’re there and snap a picture! 🙂

Things To Do, Travel, Weekend 0 comments on A Day in Beiteddine

A Day in Beiteddine

Summer weekends in Lebanon are full of packed itineraries. Groups of friends discuss the weekend all week and brainstorm ideas for new things to do and new places to visit. The possibilities are many for such a small country. And that’s because trends are all we follow. The present trend is B&Bs and swimming pools (for us at least).

This weekend, I suggest you drive to Beiteddine, one of the most beautiful towns in Lebanon. There are 2 places I’d recommend there: Bouyouti for a nice sleep and amazing breakfast by the pool, and Mir Amine for a Sunday lunch and also the possibility to laze by the pool.

Bouyouti is nestled in one of the most beautiful valleys ever. The rooms are beautifully decorated with carefully chosen furniture to give the whole space a homey feel. Breakfast is delicious and you can enjoy the pool an beautiful weather before heading to lunch at Mir Amine where a huge buffet is laid out on weekends and you get to listen to live instrumental Arabic music. Here are some pictures:

Bouyouti’s garden and pool:
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bouyouti-breakfast

bouyouti-pool-2

Bouyouti-pool

Bouyouti

 

The lovely detailed decoration of Bouyouti’s rooms:

 

bouyouti-chimney

bouyouti-rooms-1


bouyouti-room-details

bouyouti-room-details-3

 

bouyouti-room-details-2

 

And Mir Amine:

 

mir-amine
Mir Amine

mir-amine-lunch-2

mir-amine-lunch

 

Travel 1 comment on A Day in Rome

A Day in Rome

Rome is one of my favorite cities and for those of you who still haven’t been there, I seriously tell you to pack your bags this summer and head to Italy. You won’t regret it for a minute.

My sister Mia, the one who’s on the perfect cookie quest (read here for more details), lives in London. For her Easter holiday, she met my mom in Rome and they had the real dolce vita for a few days. I asked her to send me the highlights of her trip so that I could provide you with a taste of this great city. Here’s what one day in Rome could be like.

1. Start your day with a coffee and brioche at “Sant’Eustachio il caffe” (http://www.santeustachioilcaffe.it/) – best “caffe” in Rome. Have a quick breakfast at the bar.

2. Visit the church of San Luigi dei Francesi (http://saintlouis-rome.net/) which is just a few footsteps away from the cafe. It’s one of the few churches where you can see some of Caravaggio’s paintings for free and the church itself is beautiful.

San Luigi dei Francesi 2

3. Walk to Piazza Navona (a few minutes’ walk from the church). It’s one of the best “piazzas” in Rome. There, you can find the best gelato place. My advice would be Orange and Nutellone gelato flavors.

4. At lunchtime, head to Vicolo 88 on Via dell’Orso 88 for a nice lunch at one of my good friend Giovanni De Luca’s restaurants. (www.vicolo88.it)

viccolo 3 viccolo 1

5. After lunch, head to Via del Corso for a bit of shopping and also visit the spanish steps and fontana di trevi close to there. Then, if you want, catch the andy Warhol Exhibition which is a fascinating summary of the artist’s life and his work. (http://www.wantedinrome.com/whats-on/2003489/andy-warhol-in-rome.html)

Spanish Steps

6. Later in the afternoon, go to Campo dei Fiori for a quick dash around the cutest market and then cross the bridge to Trastevere for a nice aperitivo (make sure you order a nice and fresh “Spritz”) followed by dinner in one of the charming trattorias around there.

Campo dei fiori

Aperitivo

This is just a preview of all the things you can do in Rome. There are so many other beautiful places there to see and restaurants to eat in. I’ll make sure to share everything if I go there this year.

Meanwhile, all you have to do is dream 😉

 

 

 

Parties & Happenings, Travel 1 comment on A Food Story

A Food Story

Summer in Lebanon cannot go by without at least one weekend in the Bekaa, the country’s most important farming and agricultural region. Wheat, corn, cotton, and vegetables are produced there and it also hosts a big number of vineyards and orchards mainly located around Zahle. 
On our way there last Saturday, we took the normal route, and stopped by our usual spots (to eat of course) before getting to Tawlet Ammiq, an eco-friendly Lebanese restaurant. 
Here’s what was on the menu:

Stop for ‘Labneh Makbousse’ at Hedwen (Chtaura)
You can also buy jam and olive oil (Hedwen)
The ‘Kaak bi Halib’ (Hedwen)

Araq at Tawlet Ammiq
Lots of local fruits
The famous “janereg” – the unexplained Lebanese fruit of the season – with a 961 beer before lunch
Boiled artichokes dipped in olive oil, lemon and garlic
“Batata Harra” i.e. fried potato cubes with coriander, chili powder and garlic
Halloumi cheese and strawberry jam
Rice, “Chich Barak” and “Mouloukhieh” – that I will be cooking and sharing soon
Grilled tomatoes, onions and broccoli skewers
Fresh lemonade
Fresh vine leaves to eat everything with
More fruits
Stuffed vine leaves in oil
Such a Saturday really makes you love your country.