One of the banes of living in a major city is you seldom venture beyond it to discover new ground. When I was living in the US and
visited Lebanon during summers off, my parents planned daily trips to
every corner of the country. We didn’t leave a stone unturned, from
the mountains of Hamana to the sandy shores of Tyr and the jam-packed chaos that
is Tripoli. In fact, our relatives often joked that we knew Lebanon better than
|Nahr Baakline in the Chouf|
And it’s true. We were more passionate about discovering the
Lebanese terrain than tourists are, let alone yearlong residents. Anywhere my
parents had even a remote contact or connection, we paid homage to, and I
soaked up the Lebanese topography with thirsty zeal.
But since I moved to Lebanon and work full-time in Beirut,
I rarely have leisure or leave to stray far beyond my daily trajectory.
Weekends are usually reserved for R&R, and once in a great while we might
make a trip to Byblos or Sidon, but that’s the extent of it.
|Lush vegetation surrounds the calm Baakline River|
Imagine my excitement when a group of friends organized a
trip to Nahr Baakline, in the Chouf area just below Beiteddine, for lunch at
a Lebanese restaurant. If you’re driving from Beirut, take the Damour exit and
begin your snake-like ascent through Mechref up to Kfar Him.
Branch off in
the direction of Deir Dourit until you arrive to Baakline, where there are
visible signs leading to Nahr Baakline. The road is a bit winding and riddled
with potholes in some stretches, but it’s worth the descent down into the
valley where majestic waterfalls await you.
Shallalat al Zarka is an expansive restaurant situated right
on the river of Baakline, where the therapeutic sounds of crashing waterfalls
lull you into lethargic euphoria. The venue features a play area suitable
for kids, an organic soap shop in the style of Tripoli and Sidon’s Khan el
Saboun, and of course numerous wooden tables to accommodate groups large and small.
|Shallalat al Zarka (Arabic for "blue waterfalls") is a restaurant that sits on the Baakline River|
Even if you were simply to nibble on carrots and pumpkin seeds while sipping an ice cold beer, you’d find satisfaction in enjoying the pristine state of Lebanon’s hidden natural wonders. Who knew there was a
tree-covered sanctuary where fresh, clean air and clear waters form a veritable
|Goat labneh balls atop a bed of fresh thyme|
|Kafta with stewed cherries|
Service is doting and unusually efficient. Soiled napkins
are plucked in no time, and glasses are refilled without notice. The
deep-seated tradition of hospitality is alive and thriving at Shallalat al
Zarka, and though some of the mezza items could use a tiny tweak, you’ll happily
overlook them because nature makes amends in its own way.
|Seasonal fresh fruit|
Next time you yearn for a touristic voyage outside the
capital, steer your wheels to Baakline and relish in a lush landscape at Shallalat al Zarka. Lebanon sure
Shallalat al Zarka
+961 3 560 301
I've been to that place! To me, its all about the nature!ReplyDelete
It's grand, isn't it? Pristine, cool, and shaded...you feel far removed from everyday anxieties.Delete
Thanks Danielle for your great passionate words about my village, If possible i love to use your words in my lecture about passion and creativity.ReplyDelete
Thanks Wael hamadeh - www.waelhamadeh.com
Hi Wael, I'm happy to discover you enjoyed reading these words about your hometown, which indeed is beautiful. Indeed, you may incorporate them in your lecture, but please be sure to cite the author :) Much appreciated!Delete