Much has been said about the combination of the words “cellar” and “door.” Many writers and linguists have reported that these two words make the most beautiful sequence and rhythm of sounds in the English language. For many of us, they also mean something even more fun: wine!
I decided that I wanted to see both the wineries of Lebanon and the Cedars of God. Since there aren’t any pre-fab trips that do both of these, I was on my own. I used Nakhal again to arrange a private tour with a guide. I have had some good guides on my trips so far. I consider myself lucky. But then I have had a few excellent guides: Suzanne was one of the latter. Smart and informative, she made the entire drive a learning experience. Even if I was a little tired, I never felt bored. I feel lucky to have gotten her as my guide for the day.
Our first stop was Chateau Musar in Ghazir. Not everyone can say that they have had the pleasure of being the first guest at a winery. I guess grape juice makes an excellent breakfast substitute. My guide first took me on a tour through the facilities. She explained the history of the winery and showed where the liquids are processed. Then we went down into the cellar. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was the only person in a room full of thousands of barrels of wine… oh and millions of spiders. Eeek my spine has chills from the thought. But the spiders are helpful to keep bugs from destroying the wine.
After these encounters, I was able to finally taste some of the product. It was good timing, because I was getting hungry. I went through five different wines in total, 2 varieties of one line, 1 of another and 3 of the last. Overall I liked the Chateau Musar White. After my delicious breakfast, Suzanne returned to collect me and head out to the next spot.
Ixsir was a little different. By the time we wound up the mountain roads of Batroun and made our way in, I had a little headache. But when we got to the door, it was locked. I thought all of this had been pre-setup. So we walked around to the back door. There were people there, I guess they just didn’t realize when we were arriving. This tasting experience was very different. The bartender offered no comments or advice on the wines. She did not give me any history either. While the grounds were very cool, I would not recommend my friends or family to go here on any trips. They did have a cool sign out back for pictures. And their grapevine fields made for beautiful pictures.
Now that I had enjoyed a liquid breakfast and lunch, it was time to head to the cedar forest. There are numerous mentions in the Bible and history. Even the kings of Israel knew of their strength. This was the absolute must-see in all of Lebanon for me. I actually did not know what to expect as far as the layout. Suzanne seemed confident that I would enjoy the scenery though. We finally arrived and got our tickets. It was this lovely hike through the trees that helped me to get to know my guide as a friend. She told me stories of growing up in Lebanon. She told me history of the trees. I felt like I had an inside track of knowledge.
After our nature hike, we had a lovely lunch under the shade of the cedars. The air was indescribably fresh. I felt like I could breath for the first time in a while.
My time had ended, and I returned to Beirut. That night I had an appointment for my first tattoo, but that is best told in another story.