Win­ter wan­der­ings

Lebanon Traveler - - EDITORIAL -

With snow al­ready top­ping Le­banon’s moun­tains and new win­ter ac­tiv­i­ties and re­sorts ready to go, 2014/15 looks set to be an ac­tive sea­son. It’s that time of year when week­ends be­come a hol­i­day es­cape from Beirut; when the snow­cov­ered moun­tains, guest­house re­treats and in­dul­gent meals by the log fire seem like a world away. But as we prove in this is­sue of Le­banon Trav­eler, win­ter in the coun­try isn’t only snow; there’s a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ences across the coun­try from ar­chi­tec­tural tours around Tripoli to experiencing ru­ral land­scapes by night or ex­plor­ing the coun­try’s rich for­est re­serves fol­lowed by an overnight stay in a lo­cal B&B.

Le­banon Trav­eler, as al­ways, high­lights the sus­tain­able tourism ap­proach, where the ru­ral ex­pe­ri­ence rules. Mar­tine Btaich shares the po­ten­tial for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in an up­com­ing ru­ral tourism strat­egy, Le­banon’s cy­cling en­thu­si­asts share their pas­sion for see­ing the coun­try­side by bike and re­flect on an evolv­ing cy­cling com­mu­nity and the Food Her­itage Foun­da­tion trav­els the coun­try to meet the small-scale pro­duc­ers con­tin­u­ing the sea­sonal rit­ual of mak­ing mo­lasses.

We also high­light Le­banon’s di­verse her­itage and meet those fight­ing for its preser­va­tion, speak­ing to ar­ti­sans who are re­viv­ing the tra­di­tion of Le­banese em­broi­dery and backgam­mon play­ers who, in the streets, keep the old­est board game in the world alive in the streets. And we tour the old stairs of Mar Mikhael and Jeitawi, with those fight­ing for their preser­va­tion.

Cul­ture has a prom­i­nent pres­ence too, from painter Issa Hal­loum’s deep con­nec­tion to the lands of the Bekaa’s Al Ain to jew­elry designer Randa Tab­bah’s pieces, di­rectly in­spired by the city, along with a rich pro­gram from the Al Bus­tan Fes­ti­val who’ve cre­ated a win­ter tra­di­tion of mu­sic and the arts.

What­ever your pas­sion dur­ing the win­ter sea­son, all you’ll find in this coun­try is warmth.

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