I was at a party yesterday where somebody presented self-made beer. Which reminded me of wine, and a beautiful winery we visited last spring: IXSIR, established 2008 in Basbina, not far from Batroun (here). A superb view in a wonderfully green place, an incomparable calm, like if you were in monastery. A huge olive tree welcomes you at the entrance, hidden stairs invite you to pause on their narrow steps, with meditating pumpkins behind you, and a huge and lovely backyard receives you at the end, asking about your impressions of this unique scenery. Not to mention the impressive wine cellars with their unique smell and beautifully stacked barrels, and the modern architecture of this very green building that won an international prize by CNN. Do I need to say more?
My grandmother used to drink Maté everyday, a herbal drink supposed to come from Argentina, she used to love it. So did I. No, I wish I could say that… for the sake of my grandmother. But I never got used to its severe taste. However, it seems to be very popular with young people these days. Cool and hip youngsters in Germany drink it from cool & hip glass bottles available everywhere. They drink it on their bicycles, in the metro, at work. Choufé téta, you were a trendsetter… However, Maté is a very “social” drink, like Arguileh; you have to drink it in company, like above at the Maté Factory in Aley (here), not alone on your way to university, or alone at home with your little granddaughter observing and following you with her impressed but irritated eyes. You remember, téta?
So many restaurants are closing in Beirut, it makes me really sad.. I still have beautiful pictures of Salmontini that I wanted to show you, and I recall so well the quiet and fresh mornings at Goû in Ashrafieh (post here), the busy afternoons at Café La Joie in Saifi (here) or the convivial dinners at Zabad in Zaytounay Bay (here). They are all gone, gone with the wind, and I should probably archive the photos, delete the posts and update my blog, get rid of the history of those fulfilling moments, like they usually do with old houses in Beirut… But I won’t… They are precious antiquities of past instants in this chaotic city, and I won’t give them away. Dear Beirut, life is not always about the here and now, it’s also about what we have experienced so far… It is somehow about loyalty to what we had in the past.
I mentioned the Romans in my last post but forgot to tell you that I was in their lands again recently, en Italie. J’adore l’Italie! Its people, its pasta, its espresso, its nature, its colors, its fashion, ahhhh my passion has no end. I won’t tell you long stories, just two important tips for you for Florence: Book your tickets for the Galleria degli Uffizi online in advance, and visit the outlets The Mall (expensive) and Barberini (affordable). Enjoy!
I have no words for so much beauty…
How else can you start your day in Italy?
In a quiet morning, on my way to the superb Galleria degli Uffizi…
…past the beautiful Ponte Vecchio with its gold shops (view from the museum).
Her smile and some grapes – what a charming break.
I wish one of them was mine, or maybe a Fiat 500? I love both!
Imagine you study fashion here? So cool!
Happiness on a plate, so many of it and for so many days…
In the surroundings of Florence, on the way to… Siena! (still so many posts to come…)