Most people won’t have even thought of Israel when you ask about their bucket list but this holiday exceeded all my expectations and left me amazed by one of the best travel experiences ever. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a wedding in the beautiful country of Israel. I had known very little before my visit but when I left, I was more than in love this place and just can’t wait to be back. Part one – Tel-Aviv
Tel-Aviv … Tel-Aviv:
If this song accurately portrays anything, then it’s the vibrant and upbeat mood of the city. TLV is known as the ‘city that never sleeps’, where comparisons have been drawn with Manhattan. However, there’s a side to Tel Aviv that is very relaxed and easy-going. A nice stroll along Rothschild Boulevard and Neve Tzedek gives you an impression of being somewhere in Paris or Spain. Walking between these two places will give you a sense of the laid back vibe this city offers, with cafes and ice cream parlours helping you to take it all in.
During my walk around, I saw an open door in one of the side streets of Neve Tzedek. Out of pure curiosity, I walked in and up the stairs only to find it was a studio shop that just opened, selling clothing and furniture. The owners were taking a photo shoot and was more than happy to talk and even wondered whether the open door was inviting enough! A fine example of the relaxed nature of this city.
A City for Everyone
French feeling neighbourhoods aside, Tel-Aviv also offers a scene for everyone. Market goers have to visit the Carmel Market and bargain for some of the most delicious fruits, nuts, spices and even gifts and produce. Beach lovers won’t feel left out neither, as the path along the beach offers not only perfect spots for sunbathing, but also magnificent views of the sunset.
And of course there is the historical and biblical significance of Old Jaffa, the old port and entrance to Israel, also mentioned in the Old testament a few times. By far the best way to get to know this old part of town is to go on free walking tour of Old Jaffa by Sandemans. It starts off at the old clock tower and meanders around the little streets and archways. It stops by The Statue of Faith at the Abraham Shelterman garden, which offers the best view of the beach and city. The guides are very knowledgeable and paints a historical picture of the long history of the city. The tour ends at the Jaffa Port where you can pop into one of the seaside restaurants like The Old Man and the Sea and enjoy a nice local drink and some fresh seafood.
If you haven’t had enough of barter and bargaining, stop over at the Jaffa Flee Market, where you can find a hidden gem or some old coins for that collection.
Hummus is Everything
You honestly will not go through a day without having some form of chickpeas while in Israel. Nonetheless, treat yourself and go to Abu Hasan. By far the most unique and popular hummus you can get.
For those who want a broader selection of food, try to catch the Eat Tel Aviv event. Taking up the whole Charles Clore Garden, this festival has food stalls selling savoury yogurt pots filled with salmon and vegetables to meatballs and wraps. Grab a couple of dishes and sit by the live band while watching the sunset over the ocean. Others can enjoy a unique food experience while hanging 50m high with Dinner in the Sky.
Tel-Aviv… Tel-Aviv isn’t all about parties and the nightlife. It’s a city that caters for all but the laid back nature of the beach and the city makes it very relaxed and a place I can definitely live in.
Make sure to check out my upcoming posts about Essentials in Tel-Aviv and Part Two of my Israeli Adventure – Jerusalem!
Also published on Medium.