I could not get into my blog from Israel so I was unable to blog each day. I will start as if I am starting my trip so you can journey with me.
I never really thought about Israel because I saw it only as the Holyland. Nothing against the Holyland but I wanted more from the destination. When we were contacted by the Israeli Office of Tourism I started researching what Israel had to offer and found that Israel is a very diverse country and has a lot to offer for leisure tourism. I also thought that I would find heightened security and wasn’t sure if that would set the tone for the trip.
|Bonnie $ Ja’Vonne at Airport|
Starting with my arrival at the Ben Gurion airport that’s located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem I was surprised that the security was no more or less obvious than at any other airport. The people were friendly and accommodating. I was tired upon arrival but this observation relaxed me.
Driving to Tel Aviv I couldn’t help but notice that Tel Aviv is a very modern city and I felt like I was in any major city. Great infrastructure! We checked into our hotel, freshened up and went for dinner. I’m going to do a separate blog on “The Flavors of Israel” so I won’t go into the restaurant at this time and will only say that it was a fantastic introduction to Israel and it’s cuisine
We did something a little different in Tel Aviv. Instead of focusing on the history we focused on the neighborhoods, arts and culture scene of Tel Aviv. We felt that we would get so much history throughout the rest of Israel that we wanted to see what the people and social scene was all about. After all Tel Aviv is only 100 years old. Our guide for the day, Doron Ozer, took us to on a walking tour through Old Jaffa, the ancient seaport, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s oldest neighborhood whose historic homes and alleyways have been restored. We met the people along the way. I don’t have her name but one lady we met was the first to restore in her neighborhood and others soon followed. We met a fabulous artist, who is dyslexic. Ms. Llana Goor is world renowned and because she did not fair well in school because of her learning disability, focused her energy on art and sculpting. Her museum is in her home. It’s three floors with a roof top and might I add, one of the best views in the city or as she says, the best in Israel.
We also walked through the Carmel Open-Air market and Doron treated us to Israeli fast or street food, which ever you like to call it. One stand only sold hummus. Hummus so many ways it left you repeating it over and over again…hummus, hummus, hummus. One stand only did Shawarma, a pita pocket filled with chicken, lamb or beef and different sauces. You could get a mini or a regular sized one. Since we were on a tasting tour we went for the mini. Hmmmm delish. We were then serenaded by a singing barista. His shop only serves coffee and he usually does concerts on Tuesdays and Fridays. We were there on Monday so this was a special treat. I almost forgot about the falalel shop. I don’t know how because the tastes were unforgettable and some of the best falalel I’ve ever had and the variety… A stop at a fruit stand I couldn’t pass up fresh squeezed pommergranite juice. A big ole pommergranite pressed on an old fashined lemon juicer. OMG, so fresh!
That night we hit the bar scene. Some were quiet and others were loud. Unfortunately we were party poopers and only hit two. We were so tired from the traveling to Israel and the full day of touring we couldn;t do any more. I wish I could have done more. The first bar we went to was just for socializing and drinks. Several tables looked to be ladies night out. The second bars music greeted us a block away with dancehall reggae. We danced a bit and then called it a night. We pooped out.
I must say this was a nice way to see the city, walking through neighborhoods, meeting people and tasting street food.
|Bonnie, Donor, Ja’Vonne
Photos by Howard Little, Video Twist Productions