Guided Day Tour, Lebanon!

Yesterday, 31st May, I did a guided tour to a couple of historical sites in Lebanon. With a driver-guide, booked online through Viator, we visited Anjar ruins, Baalbeck Archaeological site and Chateau Ksara, where wine is produced.
I was collected from my accommodation, The Colony Hostel around 8 am and off we sped out of Beirut and up in to the valleys and mountains, twisting and turning at pace with the wind blowing my ragged beard this way and that.
A quick stop for petral and a shot of strong Arabic coffee and we were off again. My driver, Mr Wissam, knew the way and put his foot down where possible. A quiet friendly Lebanese guy, he helped me take photos at each site and gave info when possible. Although his lack of descriptive English prevented him from explaining the sites in full detail.
First stop after roughly 40 mins was the ancient site of Anjar.
It's located in the Zahle District of Beqaa Governate, east Lebanon. Roughly 60 km from Beirut.
The ruins of the Umayyad settlement of Anjar have been a UNESCO Site since 1984.
Anjar, apparently,  means “unresolved or running river”. It's a town of Lebanon, near the Syrian border, located in the Bekaa Valley. Wissam said most of the people here are Armenian, but he didn't know how long they'd resided in the area.
According to the brief information Wissam was able to read from the small hand-out offered at the entrance and supported by Wikipedia, The town's foundation is normally attributed to the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I, at the beginning of the 8th century AD, as a palace-city. Syriac graffiti found in the quarry from which the best stone was extracted offer the year 714. But no exact date is given.
The Ummayad city ruins cover 114,000 square meters and are surrounded by large, fortified stone walls over two meters thick and seven meters high. The rectangular city design of 370 m by 310 m is based on Roman city planning and architecture with stonework borrowed from the Byzantines. Two large avenues, the Cardo maximum, probably the descending rough path Wissam and I walked, running north to south, and the Decumanus Maximus, running east to west, divide the city into four quadrants. The two main avenues, decorated with colonnades and flanked by about 600 shops, intersect under a tetrapylon. (A rectangular form of monument with arched passages in two directions, at right angles, generally built on a crossroads).The tetrapylon's plinths, shafts and capitals are spolia (stones taken from an older structure) reused in the Umayyad period. Smaller streets subdivide the western half of the city in different size quarters .
However, we only spent 10 or so minutes there and Wissam wasn't really able to describe the layout. Although he did mention broken arches. Upon purchasing a fridge magnet, something I like to do at places I visit, someone kindly gave me a postcard showing the ruins with mountains in the background. A guy at the hostel described it to me later.
After a small orange juice and a loo stop, we headed to the famous ruins of Baalbek. Roughly a 45 minute drive from Anjar.
For anyone wishing to visit/view Anjar, according to Wikipedia and UNESCO, there are four main sites.
The partially rebuilt Grand Palace, 59 m by 70 m, includes a wall and is preceded by a series of arcades. Its central hosh (courtyard) is surrounded by a peristyle (a continuous porch formed by a row of columns surrounding the perimeter of a building or courtyard). The almost square Small Palace, 46 m by 47 m, stands out for its numerous ornamental fragments and its richly decorated central entrance. A Mosque, 45 m by 32 m, is located between the two palaces. There are phermal baths, built on the Roman model.
The drive to Baalbek was magnificent. We turned and twisted our way up hills and descended valleys at speed, with me being thrown about in the back seat!
Baalbeck is a medium city and an ancient site, at an elevation of 1,170 m (3,840 ft). It's located east of the Litani River in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, about 67 km (42 mi) northeast of Beirut.
 The knoledgable, local, female guide, who I paid US$20 for 45 minutes, explained about the history. Baalbek has a history that dates back at least 11,000 years, encompassing significant periods such as Prehistoric, Canaanite, Hellenistic, and Roman eras. After Alexander the Great conquered the city in 334 BCE, he renamed it Heliopolis (Ἡλιούπολις, Greek for “Sun City”). The city flourished under Roman rule. However, it underwent transformations during the Christianization period and the subsequent rise of Islam following the Arab conquest in the 7th century. In later periods, the city was sacked by the Mongols and faced a series of earthquakes, resulting in a decline in importance during the Ottoman and modern periodsThere
there are the remains and ruins of three  temples, Jupiter, one of the largest temples of the Roman empire,Temple of Bacchus (Goddess of Wine) and Temple of Venus (Goddess of Love).
I was able to touch one of the few remaining tall stone Corinthian colomns at the Temple of Jupiter. One side was smooth granite but most of it was rough and damaged by the elements. I also touched tactile stone decoration illustrating life and deaf through an egg and an arrow and other such symbols. The guide mentioned the eagle at the top of the decorated limestone entrance, denoting power. She said local influences are seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which differ from classic Roman design.
 The Roman pagan temples were transformed into christian churches under the Byzantines in the 4th/5th centuries AD and a tactile cross can be seen cut into some of the square stone pillars at the site. I was able to feel one such cross. My guide concluded by explaining that Justinian had eight of the complex's Corinthian columns disassembled and shipped to Constantinople for incorporation in the rebuilt Hagia Sophia church, sometime between 532 and 537 AD.
Just to finish, in the summer of 2014, a team from the German Archaeological Institute of the Lebanese University discovered a sixth, much larger stone suggested to be the world's largest ancient block. The stone was found underneath and next to the Stone of the Pregnant Woman. Wissam hopped out the car and photographed it just before we departed. Naturally, I was persuaded to buy some souvenirs and was overcharged, like most foreign tourists!
Our last stop was at the Château Ksara, another fast drive of about 30 minutes.
  This winery in the Beqaa Valley was Founded in 1857 by Jesuit priests, who developed the first dry red wine in Lebanon.
The winery distributes its wines both nationally and internationally. It's open to the public and wine tasting is offered. According the film, Château Ksara is Lebanon's oldest, largest and most visited winery.
I popped in to get a brief experience of its wine. I had one small glass whilst I listened to a short history of the wine making. The wine tasted somewhat sharp and asidic to me, but then, I don't normally drink any alcohol! It was a different experience and I learned something. Finally, it was back in the car for the onward twisting descent of the valley to Beirut and an interesting day enjoyed.