An early start but a straight forward run to Heathrow, where we met up with the rest of the group, who seem delightful. A slight delay for take-off but we arrived in Beirut at about 8.30 local time (6.30 British time). Excellent flight, comfortable with good food – Middle Eastern Airways are to be recommended.
We were met at the airport by our guide, the president of the local tourist association, a charming man called Haytham. Our air conditioned coach was summoned and we were whisked away to our hotel. Well, actually, this being Beirut, the traffic was such that for the last mile it probably would have been quicker to walk, but anyway, it is very hot out there (30C +). Several near misses to my eyes enroute to the hotel, but the driver and guide took them in their strides.
The Mozart hotel is near the city centre and only 300 metres from the sea. An early morning walk may be an option if we can get up. The room is clean, but basic and on the top floor. The lift is so small I could only enter with the help of medication. Boy, will I be fit after 8 days! The second picture shows the view from our window – not exactly picturesque!
Very pleasant meal . Tasty mezze followed by chicken and rice. The vegetarian option was the rice minus the chicken but plus some semi-warm potatoes. Interesting discussion afterwards with Andrew our leader about Syria and our media’s bias. He is very passionate and very knowledgeable
Tomorrow we start early with two lectures at the Centre for Theology then off to Sidon. We are having to leave after lunch as our guide has a meeting with the president at 11.30. We understood. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been late to school owing to unexpected meetings with the queen. It’s a matter of priorities!