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The Hezbollah Hiking Club: A short walk across the Lebanon

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Three men. 470 kilometres. Twenty-one days. Welcome to the Hezbollah Hiking Club . . . At a boozy, cricket-filled afternoon at Lord's, Dom Joly convinces his two closest friends to agree to the unthinkable: a challenging hike across Lebanon, from the Israeli border in the south, along the spine of the country's mountain range, all the way to the Syrian border in the Three men. 470 kilometres. Twenty-one days. Welcome to the Hezbollah Hiking Club . . . At a boozy, cricket-filled afternoon at Lord's, Dom Joly convinces his two closest friends to agree to the unthinkable: a challenging hike across Lebanon, from the Israeli border in the south, along the spine of the country's mountain range, all the way to the Syrian border in the north. For Joly it is something of a homecoming, having grown up in Beirut. It was a happy childhood, though he did go to school with Osama bin Laden.Arriving in Lebanon armed with copious amounts of Vaseline - and no walking experience, bar taking the dog for the occasional stroll - Dom, Chris and Harry don't quite know what they've got themselves into. Joined by their bemused chaperone Caroll, they meet a variety of characters along the way including Ali, a stony-faced Hezbollah Museum guide who seems unperturbed by circling Israeli jets, and part-time Londoner Raf, who challenges Dom and the boys to a brain-freeze drinking contest. From a hair-raising creep along the 'Valley of the Skulls' to accidentally flashing an unsuspecting Ethiopian cook, the three friends just about manage to keep going.With more than a smattering of persiflage and some cringe-worthy moments, The Hezbollah Hiking Club is a big-hearted, witty and affectionate love letter to Lebanon and its rich history with a meditation on family and homeland at its heart. Written with Dom's trademark humour, it is a paean to both the simple joys of friendship and to growing old disgracefully.


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Three men. 470 kilometres. Twenty-one days. Welcome to the Hezbollah Hiking Club . . . At a boozy, cricket-filled afternoon at Lord's, Dom Joly convinces his two closest friends to agree to the unthinkable: a challenging hike across Lebanon, from the Israeli border in the south, along the spine of the country's mountain range, all the way to the Syrian border in the Three men. 470 kilometres. Twenty-one days. Welcome to the Hezbollah Hiking Club . . . At a boozy, cricket-filled afternoon at Lord's, Dom Joly convinces his two closest friends to agree to the unthinkable: a challenging hike across Lebanon, from the Israeli border in the south, along the spine of the country's mountain range, all the way to the Syrian border in the north. For Joly it is something of a homecoming, having grown up in Beirut. It was a happy childhood, though he did go to school with Osama bin Laden.Arriving in Lebanon armed with copious amounts of Vaseline - and no walking experience, bar taking the dog for the occasional stroll - Dom, Chris and Harry don't quite know what they've got themselves into. Joined by their bemused chaperone Caroll, they meet a variety of characters along the way including Ali, a stony-faced Hezbollah Museum guide who seems unperturbed by circling Israeli jets, and part-time Londoner Raf, who challenges Dom and the boys to a brain-freeze drinking contest. From a hair-raising creep along the 'Valley of the Skulls' to accidentally flashing an unsuspecting Ethiopian cook, the three friends just about manage to keep going.With more than a smattering of persiflage and some cringe-worthy moments, The Hezbollah Hiking Club is a big-hearted, witty and affectionate love letter to Lebanon and its rich history with a meditation on family and homeland at its heart. Written with Dom's trademark humour, it is a paean to both the simple joys of friendship and to growing old disgracefully.

30 review for The Hezbollah Hiking Club: A short walk across the Lebanon

  1. 4 out of 5

    Glyn Evans

    A funny and yet an intriguing look into a countryside that I would be absolutely terrified to visit. It illuminates the harshness and hidden beauty of Dom Joly's home country.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    If you are uninitiated into Lebanese culture, history and politics, this is an excellent and light-hearted way to get the key points about the corner of the world which is known as the cradle of civilisation. Hummus wars. In-jokes. Fattoush (a salad). Feu de joie. Kibbeh (a meat dish). Complex politics. Lebanese breakfasts. Hiking. Cedars. And more. As an owner of Lebanese restaurants, and having been to Lebanon, I can relate to a lot of the anecdotes in the book as well as Dom's travel writing. If you are uninitiated into Lebanese culture, history and politics, this is an excellent and light-hearted way to get the key points about the corner of the world which is known as the cradle of civilisation. Hummus wars. In-jokes. Fattoush (a salad). Feu de joie. Kibbeh (a meat dish). Complex politics. Lebanese breakfasts. Hiking. Cedars. And more. As an owner of Lebanese restaurants, and having been to Lebanon, I can relate to a lot of the anecdotes in the book as well as Dom's travel writing. I still learned more about Lebanon and am looking forward to picking up more in-depth works on the country and region as a result. You'll also learn about Dom Joly and his ancestry, plus an excellent precis of the trade and migration patterns in the Eastern Mediterranean. Interesting stuff - thanks, Dom!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    In this funny and candid book, Dom Joly walks across his birth country of Lebanon with two friends. He revisits places of his youth, recounts his early family life and describes the beauty and strangeness of this country as he tries to reconnect with it. Hearing his memories of visiting Syria to escape the war in Lebanon, a situation now reversed, and how Lebanon is still trying to rebuild a tourist industry destroyed by said war. The descriptions of the wonderful food and beautiful countryside fi In this funny and candid book, Dom Joly walks across his birth country of Lebanon with two friends. He revisits places of his youth, recounts his early family life and describes the beauty and strangeness of this country as he tries to reconnect with it. Hearing his memories of visiting Syria to escape the war in Lebanon, a situation now reversed, and how Lebanon is still trying to rebuild a tourist industry destroyed by said war. The descriptions of the wonderful food and beautiful countryside filled with Roman ruins certainly made me consider a visit.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Raymond Khoury

    Loved this. Light reading, a fun escape, hanging out with Dom and his two travel buddies as they hike across Lebanon. It's pretty much his diary for the trip, amusing and sometimes touching, a must for anyone thinking of visiting the country.

  5. 4 out of 5

    P D Miller

    Very good read about a place I knew so little

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Frobisher

    A much misunderstood country Lebanon. Say the word, add Beirut to it and people immediately conjure images of war, destruction, hostage taking. It takes someone brave enough to dispel those images. Dom Joly strides across the length of Lebanon like a colossus, with not so eager companions Chris and Harry in tow and hikes through unparalleled beauty....cedar forests, mountain passes, gorges and valleys. A rich book that is travel writing at its most enjoyable. A real sense of place, of people, of A much misunderstood country Lebanon. Say the word, add Beirut to it and people immediately conjure images of war, destruction, hostage taking. It takes someone brave enough to dispel those images. Dom Joly strides across the length of Lebanon like a colossus, with not so eager companions Chris and Harry in tow and hikes through unparalleled beauty....cedar forests, mountain passes, gorges and valleys. A rich book that is travel writing at its most enjoyable. A real sense of place, of people, of politics and history, problems and society. I laughed readily and often. But most importantly for me, Dom Joly has made me want to jump on a plane and visit Lebanon and not only for its incredible cuisine.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Moss

    I almost gave this five stars, for the humour reminiscent of Three Men in a Boat with bonus points for the author's deep knowledge of his home country, seasoned with nonchalant remarks such as "We walked over remnants of recent invaders." Dom and his walking companions, all aged about 50, confounded their friends by walking the whole of the Lebanon Waking Trail, but were delighted to take time off to admire the beauty of the landscape, and even the odd day of well-informed sightseeing. It didn't I almost gave this five stars, for the humour reminiscent of Three Men in a Boat with bonus points for the author's deep knowledge of his home country, seasoned with nonchalant remarks such as "We walked over remnants of recent invaders." Dom and his walking companions, all aged about 50, confounded their friends by walking the whole of the Lebanon Waking Trail, but were delighted to take time off to admire the beauty of the landscape, and even the odd day of well-informed sightseeing. It didn't quite live up to the early promise, but I was still sorry to come to the end of the journey.

  8. 4 out of 5

    BMWA

    I bought this book primarily because of my interest in the middle east and history. I was expecting a look at the historic conflicts in Lebanon instead I got the jolly japes of 3 hooray henries and their public schoolboy antics. There is more depth in a petri dish and apart from Joly there was no connection with Lebanon or it's people. This would not have been printed if written by an unknown author. Rubbish.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Clive Lillie

    I do like Dom Joly’s travel writing. Off beat, wry, amusing yet still manages to provide an insight and general flavour for the object of his travels. This was in a place very personal to him, and one that I am intrigued by, to the point I’m inspired to take the route he took , when time allows. Great read , never disappointed

  10. 4 out of 5

    minnajee

    Kuunneltu äänikirjana Jolyn itsensä lukemana. Kun on lukenut/kuunnellut koko Domin kirjallisen tuotannon, tietää kyllä mitä saa tän uusimmankin kohdalla. Matkakertomus kävellen suoritetusta Libanonin tutkailusta on hupaisa. Joly ääninäyttelee huvittavat aksentit dialogiin ja vaikka toki enemmän tää kertoo kolmen keski-ikäisen miehen marinoista ku itse maasta niin itseäni kyllä viihdyttää.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eve Jones

    I was a student in American University of Beirut (AUB) from 1969 to 1971, in Beirut’s hay days just before the unrest. I can relate with Dom and his fabulous recount of places people and food. I wish I could go back and do the walk

  12. 4 out of 5

    Runningrara

    Laugh out loud funny travelogue, Dom Joly revisits his homeland.

  13. 4 out of 5

    lina

    Makes you want to make the hike but not with Dom or his whiny friends. A map & some pictures would have been a welcome addition Makes you want to make the hike but not with Dom or his whiny friends. A map & some pictures would have been a welcome addition

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Very funny and interesting ! Would quite like to go to the Lebanon now ! Should make a film of it !

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Phung

    Too much Dom Joly being too Dom Joly

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    My enjoyment of this book was heightened by recent experience of the areas travelled through, so I'm not sure if those unfamiliar with Lebanon will get quite the same out of it. Joly is right, it is a beautiful country, and he is a genial guide, along with his sidekicks Harry and Chris. The story of their walk is told 'warts and all', and at times drifts into slight smug territory. There's a smattering of anecdotes both from the walk and from other parts of Joly's life. Overall, there's enough h My enjoyment of this book was heightened by recent experience of the areas travelled through, so I'm not sure if those unfamiliar with Lebanon will get quite the same out of it. Joly is right, it is a beautiful country, and he is a genial guide, along with his sidekicks Harry and Chris. The story of their walk is told 'warts and all', and at times drifts into slight smug territory. There's a smattering of anecdotes both from the walk and from other parts of Joly's life. Overall, there's enough here to keep the reader engaged, and I found it a relatively quick read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Renata

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steph Turley

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andy Abel

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Ritchie

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Angus

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robert Palmer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Liz Prinn

  24. 5 out of 5

    jack

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kerstin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sam Stratton-Morris

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather Later

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael Higgins

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mr Glen Butcher

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