Crossing half a country for lunch

Last weekend once again we decided to take advantage of the sun and head down south for the day. The restaurant we had discovered on a previous trip to Tyre with my family was so lovely, perched by a lighthouse and practically in the Mediterranean, that Alex, Renko, Everitte and I decided it was worth the 5 hours of travel time in rickety old service taxis to go there for an open air lunch.

The wind was unfortunately both strong and cold, so we had a very wind-swept lunch wrapped up in our coats and scarves, but it was still lovely to be able to eat out in the sunshine in early February.

Delicious fresh whitebait, kebbe, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush and hummus. All the favourites.

I went paddling in the sea, where Roman columns have been left casually lying among the rocks, and in the space of ten minutes I found three pieces of old worn mosaic, just lying on the seabed under a foot or two of clear water.

I know it doesn't look like much but it's Roman. Roman I tells ya!

 After lunch we went for a wander around the Christian quarter and the old souq, and then made out way to the biggest of Tyre’s three Roman sites. As we walked Renko was talking about how visiting Roman hippodromes was always a waste of time, as there was never anything there except a big field with a few rocks in it.

Gradually he convinced us that we were about to be sorely disappointed, so when we arrived to find the world’s largest and best preserved hippodrome, which one seated 20,000 people we were amazed and delighted. Or in Renko’s case slightly miffed.

We started out from the back entrance and so approached the ruins along a beautiful paved Roman road, towards a huge, beautifully preserved archway which marked the entrance to the stands of the hippodrome.

The stands of the hippodrome, still standing and accessible to visitors

Among the ruins were a couple of ponds which appeared to be a temporary result of the recent weeks of heavy rain. The sound of hundreds of frogs croaking together was almost loud enough to drown out of voices – I such no idea such tiny frogs could make such a racket. Just near the main path we came across one, tiny and such a vivid green it was almost neon. Seeing Everitte’s jacket which was almost exactly the same hue it obviously thought it had found the perfect patch of frog camouflage and made its way first onto his outstretched hand and then onto the shoulder of his coat, where it sat contentedly for some minutes before leaping off into some long grass.

By the time we had finished looking around the enormous site it was dusk and the frogs were croaking in chorus to the sunset.

The journey home took a long time due to rush-hour traffic, but despite the travel time to time spent in Tyre ratio (about 3:2) it was totally worth it.

I leave you with that example of my mathematical skills. I can tell you are impressed.

24 thoughts on “Crossing half a country for lunch

  1. The food looks delicious, finding the mosaics would be such fun, the hippodrome is awesome, and the colors (sky, frog, buildings) are amazing. It looks like the destination was worth every bit of the trip!

  2. I love the shot of Everitte sitting facing the water. It looks like it could sweep him away while he lunches. Spectacular view!

    The frog on his jacket was adorable. :) The images were so beautiful and inspiring. I love visiting your blog. Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful moments with me.

  3. You must check this place during summer, it’s crowded most of the times, and you could definitely go down for a swim! I hahah and the frog on Everitte’s jacket …funny!

  4. Places where you are surrounded by the evidence of those who came before are the best—thanks for sharing your adventures. Great pics :-)

      • That is small! But wouldn’t a taxi still be expensive to take for 2.5 hours? Taxis here in Chicago are usually costly and there are less expensive ways to go farther distances. I’m not sure what other transport options there are… Thanks for teaching me :)

        • Haha. No problem! I wasn’t very clear about the ‘taxi’ – I could do a whole post just on different forms of transport here. It was something called a service taxi, which is more like a minibus which fit 12-15 people. They’re very cheap but they still to fixed routes, so I guess they’re not taxis at all in the usually sense of the word. I would to visit Chicago. Though maybe not right now. Is it freezing there at the moment?

        • Oh, very cool. Thanks for the reply!

          Chicago is pretty mild at the moment for this time of year, 35/45 F or 2/7 C. Wow, Celsius makes it sound really bad! Actually I was going to put together a city guide for winter visitors :) I think to appreciate the beautiful summers here you have had sat through one winter. If you come through this way, let me know!

  5. Thanks for checking my blog out :) I love this post! My favourite shots are the bright green froggie ones. I’ll definitely add this to my blog lovin’ list!

    • Not so much fresh time.. Tabouleh is a great favourite – fresh parsley with lemon juice, tomato and bulgar wheat. Time – or zaatar, as it’s known here – is used a lot, particularly on pizza, but it’s dried, not fresh.

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