May 22, 2021
It is very windy outside, 20-25Kts, and the sea is rough. Swimming might not be an option today. But we are still planning to spend the day at O Chalet lounging, reading, siping wine and eating seafood. Marina arrived on Thursday night, or I should say Friday because it was after midnight. Unfortunately, her bags didn’t make it, apparently they are still in DC.
Yesterday we drove to Anfhe stoping near Batroun for lunch at Fidar Beach House, a charming place by the sea. It’s an old house, a villa, transformed into a restaurant with terraces in two levels. It has access to a small private beach shaped like a croissant. Like the majority of restaurants in the region the speciality is seafood. We had a small “dorade” as sashimi followed by a grilled sea-bass. Natalia accompanied the food with Prosecco, I opted for Arak.
In Anfhel, after checking-in at Iskandar Hotel we walked to O Chalet and spent there the rest of the afternoon. I swam for a bit but the water was still cold; it shouldn’t be this late in May. Back to the hotel we sat at the terrace with a bottle of cava. A dramatic change in the light and colors was taking place as the sun approached the sea.
I have said before that there is nothing special about Anfeh, the town, but for the green waters of the mediterranean sea that the cliffs and hills have bowed into submission and remain calm, tempered, and translucent in most conditions. The Iskandar Hotel is located right by the sea and the views from the terrace are superb.
After finishing the cava we walked, still in daylight, to Chez Fouad to have dinner . We always enjoy the salads and seafood there, sitting by the veranda, close to the water, cooled by a gentle breeze. Among other things we ordered half of a small octopus that came in one piece. Grilled to perfection it was tender, moist, and light.
We are about to check-out and drive back to Beirut. Yesterday went as planned. We spent the day reading and lounging under the sun. I am halfway through and enjoying James Baldwin new book Home from Distant Seas, the last of the trilogy. Beyond the passages between countries and islands aboard his 27ft sloop Atom, he writes about the history of the places he visits and chronicles fragments of the lives of a most unlikely set of Homo Sapiens, nonconformist and eccentric, he’s met along the way. Highly recommended.
As expected, other than a 30 seconds dip in the water I couldn’t swim. It was also too windy to open the parasols so we rotated between the long-chairs and the tables under the shade, where we also had lunch of local grilled fish. At sunset we went back to the terrace with a second bottle of cava. We met one of hotel’s owners who was hosting a bachelors party for her niece — if I understood correctly. A charming, extroverted, lady she invited as for dinner at her house. Her husband, a doctor, was going to cook chicken with rice and spices. We couldn’t accept though, it would have been too late. Instead we drove a short distance to La Noche, a restaurant in a resort nearby, in search of something other than seafood.
Marina’s bags have arrived so after dropping her and Natalia at the apartment I will head to the airport to pick them up. From there I plan to bring the car to a car-wash; it’s long overdue. There is one in Hamra next to a lovely cafe/restaurant hidden in between plants and flowers. I can sit there and read siping wine while I wait.