Nov. 16. – 17. 2015
We leave Ali just after coffee and hit the road towards the highest mountain of Lebanon. 60km by road and less than 20 if you would fly there straight. In fact I was able to see the launching place from Alis rooftop. At the military checkpoint they just check our papers and wish us a pleasant journey. Soon the appearance of the villages totally changes as we arrive in a Christian area now. Houses are a little more like in Europe and there are churches everywhere!
Soon we climb up more than 1000m in altitude via just a few serpentines. You will be easily able to spot them if you check out the map. If you are a Paraglider you will certainly become nervous when taking a closer look at that map. At the mountain pass at about 2700m above the sea we could easily either see the sea and the border to Syria if there were no clouds. The mountains surrounding us are up to more than 3000m high. After coming down the other side we soon arrive in Bcharre. It is some kind of a middle eastern St. Moritz and now its absolutely off season.
We spot a big sign post which has seen better days offering room, food, wifi for just 28$ per room. That sounds worth it so we decide to have a look. The room is as huge as the empty hotel and looks luxurious. The hotel is called Hotel Alpine and tries a lot to copy Austrian style – for us it feels more like in “the Shining”, empty, huge and endless hallways. Even though the price is so scary we ask for the price. 125$ per night plus $28 per person if we want food.
While searching for a room a thunderstorm happens. Two hours before we were thinking about to maybe fly today. Well done we didn’t.
The second place we look at was recommended by the guy at the first place: Bauhaus Hotel. Once in Bcharre it is hard to miss the Bauhaus and we can get a little room with three beds for 31$ per night. But wait, its off season. Our room, and four others enter into a big living room, kitchen and bath attached – 24h wifi, electricity and hot water and an oil heater on demand (we are at 1500 above sea level and its below 0 at night). We rent the room and use the whole floor – what an amazing deal!
It takes us some time to find a place where we can eat. There are restaurants all over but…. Off season. We find a place where we get a kind of Pizza, get some more food at the supermarket (got a kitchen) and soon go to bed. Both of us have a bad cold!
Next day in the morning its rainy as predicted. We discuss a second if we try to fly at the sea or take the day just to explore this perfect looking place here. Minutes later we are on the way to the launching place. Clouds are low and there is fresh snow at the tops of the mountains around us. We stop at possible launching places and explore landing sites we could use. Watching the clouds rising up the mountain sides looks scary – its raining every now and then. We don’t even think of flying in these conditions but we get quite a good idea of the area. In fact the bad weather was good luck for us and tomorrow its predicted to be a perfect day to finally take off!