1. FAM­ILY GET­AWAY

Lebanon Traveler - - GETAWAYS - Hik­ing Darb El Sama

This easy-level trail through Harissa for­est takes walk­ers from Jounieh, past monas­ter­ies and mod­ern de­vel­op­ments, un­til reach­ing quiet tree-lined trails. In spring, en­joy the blos­som­ing flow­ers along the route such as cy­cla­men, mar­guerites and anemones, be­fore reach­ing the great statue of Our Lady of Harissa at the moun­tain top. The trail was cre­ated years ago by vil­lagers, and has more re­cently been used by scouts and hik­ers. In the past few years how­ever, it has been ren­o­vated as an in­ter­na­tional pil­grim­age trail by the foun­da­tion Darb Es­sama (darbessama.org, Darb Es­sama,) trans­lat­ing as The Trail to Heaven.

SLEEP Stay overnight at Betha­nia hos­tel (09 260060, 03 044110, betha­nia-harissa. com) at the sanc­tu­ary of Our Lady of Le­banon.

EAT Stop for a pic­nic along the route or eat at the Harissa food court (haris­saevents. com;) with its wide choice of restau­rants, from fast food to Le­banese mezze. Kids will love it.

SEE Once at the sanc­tu­ary, dis­cover the

basil­ica. Its shape is a cross be­tween a cedar tree and a Phoeni­cian ship and the Lour­des Chapel be­fore climb­ing to the top of the statue of the Vir­gin Mary for a beau­ti­ful view over Jounieh bay. The Darb Es­sama Foun­da­tion of­fers guide ser­vices.

Harissa. Photo: 4bar­chi­tects - Said Bi­tar

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