Visit to Jeita Grotto
Want to know when is a good time to *not* visit the Jeita Grotto? During the Eid holiday. Wednesday my friend suggested we get out of town and check out the grotto since we were on break from school and her friend was visiting from Dubai. I was excited since it was one of the few nearby attractions that I missed out on last summer during my extended trip to Beirut. Both of us were expecting a calm and peaceful visit to a natural site but no such luck. From the moment our taxi started heading down the hill to the grotto we were met with a mess of cars and tour buses fighting to pass each other on the narrow road. Still I was thinking Once we get past the traffic and to the grotto it will be fine. I was clearly wrong.
There were people everywhere in the street and a massive line for both the tickets and the teleferique to take us up to the grotto. We waited in line for both since we’d already traveled all that way and even commented as we got to the front of the second line, Ok, this isn’t so bad. The line is moving quickly. We got on the teleferique, relieved to be done waiting in line. Then three minutes later (did we even *need* a teleferique to get to the grotto??) we got out of the car to find this . . .
I wanted to cry. I wanted to go home. Did we really want to see some old cave anyways? But alas, we’d already traveled all the way there and paid 18,000LL so we suffered through the massive line. We finally made it to the front of the line and entered the long tunnel and were greeted with this. (No pictures were allowed in the cave so unfortunately I don’t have my own picture. This one doesn’t even do it justice.) It was truly amazing and more impressive than I could have imagined. And the best part? There was plenty of space! It was worth it after all. Having said that though, none of us cared to brave another line to check out the lower grotto where you get to ride a boat through the cave. Our guide book said the upper one was the most impressive and we were satisfied with that. (And now if anyone can ever convince me to take the trip to the grotto again there will be something I haven’t seen.)
After exiting the tour we took a stroll through the small “park” which was actually quite lovely.
We could have done without the silly extras like a mini zoo and a train that honked like the worst of the Beirut taxi drivers.
P.S. Know what else isn’t a great thing to do on the Eid holiday? The teleferique to Harissa. Just sayin’.