Every year is a new experience at Lecole, full of excitement and promise alike. In February 2019, Lecole organised an international trip for its undergraduate students to the beautiful city of Beirut, Lebanon. The students, accompanied with admin members and the esteemed Executive Director of Lecole, Mr Tariq Jamil Khan, landed in Beirut on the 7th of February then made their way to Gems Hotel at Hamra District where they were given the day to rest or explore the busy streets of Hamra. The tours began the next morning, with a lavish breakfast at the hotel provided and were told to gather at the hotel lobby where they were met with the lovely tour guide for the trip, Marcelle.

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With the city itself built on hills and mountains, the day was spent exploring the aesthetic Bieteddine and the Moussa Castle, each with a capturing history of its own, enriching the minds of the beholders. Lebanon’s exquisite history is so vast. the more you explore the more there is to learn. Students were taken to the areas of Tyre, where they were shown the World Heritage Site, Phoenician museum along the vivid blue waters, a small Phoenician town called Sidon and its sea castle, still standing after many years even with waves of the sea heavily splashing against its robust walls. Drylands were also present in the ancient city.

There was a whole other kind of beauty found in the archaeological ruins of the Roman Necropolis and the Hippodrome. We visited the city of Byblos to see more of the religious side of Lebanon. The incredible church of Our Lady of Lebanon where the faithful Muslims and Christians are drawn along an ascending staircase, giving a panoramic view of the wonderful city. And standing atop was the large statue of the Virgin Mary. Following the visit, students enjoyed the view more thoroughly riding cable cars located right across the church, which proved to be a thrilling experience.

The last official day was reserved solely for the enjoyment of the students. They headed up to the snowy Faraya mountains, taking in the glorious contrasts of the white mountains against the blue sky. Up in the Faraya, there was much to do. This included riding the skidoo cars and sledding down the snow-covered hills. Everyone had immersed themselves in the fun of the snow. Building an igloo was no less than exhilarating! We cannot forget the dining and lunches in the delightful chilly weather after touring each day. Lebenon’s local restaurants such as Al Tawlet and Diwan Al Farah served feasts of delicious Lebanese cuisine including varieties of cooked meat and hummus, a favourite amongst the students.

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On the 12th of February, we began packing up to return to Pakistan with many souvenirs bought and plenty of shopping done. Everyone was reluctant to leave beautiful Lebanon. Making promises to visit again, we thanked Marcelle, the admirable tour manager, Mr Rashid Al Attar, and the very pleasant Mr Amin, who drove everyone to such adventurous places. Each day more insightful than the last, one would be joyously overwhelmed to experience the rich history, culture and the jaw-dropping sights of Lebanon.

By Asra Khalid