I had arranged with my guide the night before to pick me up at the (very quiet) hotel at 9 the next morning, and we had a decently long drive planned to see a couple of sights before returning to Tripoli for a short walking tour of the old city. As I mentioned, I was the only guest in the hotel but that didn’t stop them from setting out the whole breakfast buffet just for me. Fresh orange juice, breads, jams, cheeses, and instant coffee….argh. Somehow, I managed to survive on instant coffee for four days, which was a minor miracle in itself!
Our first stop for the day was the town of Zawiyah, located around 50km to the west of Tripoli. Between March 6 and 8, 2011 there were large-scale protests in Zawiyah, and rebels/protesters took the town. After some very nasty fighting Qadaffi troops took it back on March 10. Protests picked up again in a few days, and continued through August when Qadaffi troops were finally forced to abandon the city on their retreat towards Tripoli. All around the main town centre were buildings that had been heavily damaged by the fighting. A government building: