Rara’s summer in Lebanon

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I left Lebanon around eight years ago to continue my studies abroad, that’s when I moved to Abu Dhabi and started a whole new life. Having been born and raised in Lebanon, I have a deep love and admiration for my beautiful country. And I always return to visit my family and friends every chance I get.

I spent an amazing summer in Lebanon this year! From the moment I arrived, I felt liberated from the stress and weight I had carried from work, responsibilities and life in general. I was ready to let go, relax and enjoy a wonderful summer vacation.  

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Family

Family is everything. I’m fortunate to have family living nearby in Abu Dhabi, but the rest of my family still resides in Lebanon. Reuniting with all of them in one place is a special occasion, as it doesn’t happen often.  This summer it actually happened- my parents, my brothers and sister, all were in Lebanon at the same time. I was transported back to the old days when I would stay up late chatting with my sister, waking up to my mom’s delicious coffee, snuggling with my dad, and laughing with my brothers. A full house is truly a blessing.

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Friends

They say friends are the family we choose, and when we choose the right ones we gain them for life! Two weeks in Lebanon seemed short but I managed to fill my time with as many activities, and spent as much time with my friends as I could. My besties and I have a summer ritual where we spend the entire day together: the pool in the morning, an outdoor lunch somewhere new, and then retail therapy (a must in Lebanon) before ending our night out at a fancy dinner. The highlight of this year’s summer ritual was Lazy B Beach, an amazing beach club just twenty minutes away from Beirut. 

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I really cherish days like these, creating new memories with good friends. 

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Food

One thing you need to do in Lebanon is forget about your diet. There are lots of amazing restaurants in Lebanon, with delicious and authentic food, but you need to know where to eat to really enjoy the food and experience. And as much as new restaurants keep opening, I have a few favorites that I have to visit every time I’m in Beirut: Bar Tartine, Leila, Roadsters Dinner, and Divy just to name a few.

Leila offers the best of Lebanese cuisine- it’s clean and authentic!

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Not to mention it offers my favorite Arabic dessert- cotton candy and ice cream. No matter how full I am, I still order and devour this dessert- no regrets!

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Bar Tartine is always my first stop after the airport. I’m in love with their food- it’s fresh and healthy with a varied menu. Divy has a unique food sharing concept that I love. I highly recommend trying this place if you’re looking for a cool dining experience. Roadsters diner is a classic- it’s just too good, and everything you order is mouthwatering! All these international franchises in general are choices you can’t go wrong with. I have a long list of great restaurants I can recommend.

As much as I love eating out, I have a special love for a traditional Lebanese meal, especially breakfast! It’s typical to have a breakfast feast including manakeesh, labneh, cheese and fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Most people in Lebanon enjoy home grown fresh fruits and vegetables, and they’re just perfect during hot summers! I indulged in these colorful, delicious fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

 

Nature

The term ‘heaven on earth’ best describes Lebanon’s natural beauty! I made sure to spend some time in nature, whether it was on the mountains, by the sea or even in our garden.

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I wanted some peace of mind, and to appreciate the beauty around me. We tend to forget how powerful those moments in nature are, and their positive impact on our body, mind and soul! I think a really fitting quote for how I felt at that time is: “I get lost but in nature I find myself”.

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If you’ve ever been to Lebanon, you’d know you’re surrounded with greenery for miles, beautiful flowers and breathtaking views and landscapes! Within hours, you can travel from the city all the way up to the mountains and feel like you’re in a completely different world.

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Lebanon is truly a treasure- an exceptional summer getaway with beautiful views and a long list of touristic attractions and entertainment! You’re never bored and your days are never enough. No matter how far away I live, I’ll always return to Lebanon, to my roots, to where my story began!

IMG_1856I highly recommend Lebanon as a top travel destination. If you’re planning a trip there soon and are looking for recommendations on things to do and places to go, please don’t hesitate to ask!

 

Sincerely,

Rara

 

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