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The Google Earth Travel Blog of Benjamin Hardcastle - Lebanon

Today’s blog is all about Lebanon, because here at the 'Google Earth Travel Blog of Benjamin Hardcastle - Traveller', we're* not afraid to go where others might not.

(*It's just me, I'M not afraid of going where others fear to tread).

Tripoli – I’ve always wanted to visit since the Enya song Orinocco Flow espoused the wonders of the “shores of Tripoli”. Sadly upon reviewing the VERY limited photographic evidence the shores of Tripoli are about as appealing as those of Felixstowe so perhaps Enya was just blagging it. She clearly didn’t have Google Earth.

IMPORTANT BLOG UPDATE: It is my intention to give you the most accurate reflection of the world possible, from my reception desk. So, it occurred to me that Enya or more correctly Enya Patricia Brennan, or MORE correctly Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, (the reasons for the adoption of a musical pseudonym becoming clearer by the second) MIGHT have been talking about the other Tripoli. That is, the one in Libya. Now the Foreign Office Travel Advice for Libya might as well be a blank screen with the words “Are you actually fucking kidding?” blinking away in small unfriendly letters. Google Earth is of little help, the shoreline looks attractive enough but even if the risk of being blown up or kidnapped immediately was marginally less when Enya was at her castle-renovating prime, it still isn’t all that. I think perhaps it just rhymed.

There is an insane apartment in the middle of Beirut adorned with stuffed Cheetahs, incorporating a gold spiral staircase and a massive flat-screen TV overlooking a gigantic circular sofa. The thing is the apartment is very small, like the owners found it fairly easy to get hold of sofas, flat-screen TVs and cheetahs, but not actually a nice apartment to put the things in. I think a similar thing happens in Croydon.

The Memoire Du Temps museum in Byblos offers a medium-sized display of fish fossils. Not many places offer displays of fish fossils so I could imagine spending a little time here. The nice thing about the Memoire Du Temps that it resembles more a gift-shop than an exhibition and therefore the fish fossils look like rows upon rows of primeval 'Big Mouth Billy Bass'es. (Of course I may be looking at a photograph of the gift-shop rather than the actual museum. It’s hard to tell, thus exposing some of the limitations of the Google Earth travel Guide).

Because of the risk of landmines the Foreign Office recommends you avoid travelling away from the established paths, "especially when hiking". I’m extremely fond of the use of 'especially’.

“Hey, let’s go to Lebanon.” “Erm…” “No, it’ll be great, in the Faraiya Municipality there’s a fun tower with a bell and some steps. And we probably don’t want to miss the L-Shaped Temple, that’s in Jbeil.” “Any dangers we should be aware of?” “Well, landmines, but not if you stick to the established paths. You’re less likely to encounter landmines if you stick to the established paths.” “Why would we not stick the established paths?” “Exactly.” [Pause] “What about hiking, can we go hiking?” “Jeff, do you want to die?”

(c) Google Earth

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