Creative Refuge: Beirut

I read a lot of foreign literature, binge on foreign films and live in a diverse and international city. As a result, I'm exposed to a myriad of cultures and, with a hungry mind and wandering eye, I find myself obsessively thinking about travelling to countries that are not my own.

As I begin to read about a place, hear accounts of it's history and politics, my mind becomes awash with images. Sometimes these images pass through my mind quickly and vanish into the air; others dig themselves firmly into my soul. Beirut was the latter.

I yearned to wander the streets of this enchanted, historic city. To indulge in its delicacies and to breathe in the aroma of Arabic coffee as I sat in a café watching the world go by. Eventually, armed with my camera, off I went to explore the city with one foot planted in the Middle East and the other in Europe.

I walked for miles absorbing the war torn but charming architecture. As one of the world's oldest cities, Beirut is a beautiful mix of the past and present. One can find arabesque Ottoman buildings side by side with contemporary architecture. As the sun descended, I traced the Mediterranean Sea around the corniche, stopping at the famous pigeon rocks to watch lovers absorbed in each others' arms. Beirut's beauty is truly captivating. The skyline is framed by snow-capped mountains and the city surrounded by verdant, fertile countryside.

@abbikemp |

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City Guide: Beirut, Lebanon