White Gold

It was food that attracted us to the coastal city of Enfeh. We woke up on a lazy Sunday late October, the weather forecast predicted rain and we took that as a positive sign that the roads were going to be less congested than usual. We packed our swimsuits and headed to the beach which of course was closed. We thought about coming back to Beirut but the idea of a copious meal with sea bass, calamari and shrimps took over and we ended up in Enfeh (where we actually did swim in the sea despite the cold and the many warnings about the cleanliness, or lack thereof, of our abused waters).  We followed the small paved path between those little houses painted white and blue, lined with colourful flower pots, and enjoyed a nice, actually sunny, meal by the Mediterranean, under the Saydet el Rih church which overlooks the rocky shore.

Curious to find out more about Enfeh but constrained by time, as our friend had to catch the early evening plane to Dubai, to get back to work the next day, we chose the visit the nearby salt marshes. With wide eyes we discovered a long stretch along the sea dotted with alcoves where salted water is carried from the sea and slowly rests under the sun for evaporation. This creamy shaded shoreline punctuated with greenery, introduced us to yet another picturesque landscape in our small land of diversity. Once reachable through the railway, Enfeh thrived on the production and commerce of salt. Nowadays only few artisans still master the craft. Salt packs can be found in the adjacent convent, Saydet el Natour, and a quiet little visit revealed a charming old stone structure, with mural frescoes, arched vaults and pastel coloured stained glass windows. We left out from our visit archeological remains and medieval churches and headed back to the capital. And for the next visit of our expat Dubai friend, we would get back on the road to discover more of the rich variety of sceneries we feel so privileged to find in such a small country.