While working here in Lebanon, we are staying north of Beirut in the village of Harissa. Our hotel is called Bethania, a mountain retreat center next to a statue and sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The hotel is a modern building that most often houses pilgrims who come here on spiritual retreats. It sits behind the cathedral (pictured at right) and the sizable statue on a four-story base that you can climb to just below the figure of Mary.
A teleferique brings visitors up the mountain to the base of the statue. From my balcony, I have a great view of the Mediterranean Sea and the coast.
For those of you who follow the news, you’ll know that there was a bomb blast that killed some people today in a Beirut suburb. I can report that Carolyn and I are safely ensconced in our mountain retreat and, since we seem to be the only guests in the hotel, we’re enjoying the peace and quiet of the evening.