Sadly, I only had two full days to enjoy my recent trip to the Lebanon, but I made good use of the time. Highlight number one was my visit to the Jeita Grotto, truly a wonder of nature. Located approx. 20 km NE of Beirut, the drive is already an experience as I left the sea behind and ascended into the mountains, some with snow caps glittering in the distance.
Admission is $18 before boarding a little cable car that whisked me away for a minute over a deep ravine to the entrance of the upper gallery. The grotto actually consists of the upper and the lower gallery. The upper one, which comes first, is accessible on foot. I had to deposit my camera in a locker because photography is strictly forbidden before I plunged into a semi darkness of magic.
Damp walkways lead on and on and on into the distance, past dripping ‘glaciers’ of minerals. The formations soar up so high I could hardly see the ceiling of the cave. It made me slightly dizzy only to look at it all.
After leaving the upper gallery, I walked along a footpath past two intriguing statues. The Time Man, a huge stone sculpture, and The Time Machine, made of bronze and wood, both representing eternity and the power of nature.
The lower gallery got even more romantic as I stepped into a little, flat boat that glided along the river. I had to duck under arches formed by the minerals. Occasionally, I got a glimpse of the upper gallery from the lower.
I was lucky to visit the lower gallery. During winter the lower gallery is often closed, because the water level is too high.
Jeita Grotto is in a competition to be recognized as one of the 7 nature wonders of the world, and a globe outside shows the other nominations. Without hesitation, the grotto gets my vote.
Inka is German and used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Spain. Retired two years ago because I wanted to be a traveler and writer and now live between Didim/Turkey and Miami with plenty of travel in between. Next destinations: Istanbul, New York and Petra/Jordan.