Tel Aviv is an extremely livable city and felt like home. The city is located on the gorgeous Mediterranean coastline and its beach offers much opportunity for sunbathing, swimming, paddle ball or just people watching at one of the many restaurants. Tel Avivans are out enjoying life at every hour of the day. Lively outdoor restaurants, cafes, bars and interesting trendy shops seem to be on every block as you wander around the city streets. Beautiful parks, playgrounds, and outdoor markets are plentiful among its neighborhoods. We went to a few awesome markets, including a farmers market, furniture market and a flea market. Our favorite was the antique market where we both bought special pieces of jewelry to remember our time in Israel.
Tel Avivan Life
The sense of community and togetherness is what we loved most about Tel Aviv. Brett says it reminds him of growing up in Northeast Philadelphia. People come together everywhere, be it the beach, park, outdoor cafe or local food market. Tel Avivans are simple and un-pretentious people that value working, being with family and friends and enjoying their daily lives. It was quite a different experience from being in Jerusalem and Tzfat, where religion rules people’s lives. In Tel Aviv, people seem to be more focused on family traditions such being together for Friday night Shabbat dinners, rather than the strict religious aspect of Judaism. There is a vibrant gay community and we were fortunate to experience “Pride Week” during our visit.
We were extremely lucky to have met our new friends, Roee and Maya, through one of Brett’s college friend’s, Jon. We are so happy Jon made the connection. Roee and Maya welcomed us into their home during our entire stay in Tel Aviv and were the most amazing hosts. We all quickly became great friends and even though we only spent a few days together, we feel like we’ve known them so much longer. We talked a lot about differences between American and Israeli culture, music, Maya’s art, Kibbutz life and food. One of our favorite days in Israel was walking around the city with them, taking photographs and exploring the food and antique markets near Dizzengulf Square. We will never forget their kindness, hospitality and good conversation. We anxiously await the next time we all meet up again.
Old Jaffa City
One of our days in Tel Aviv, we set off on Roee and Maya’s bicycles to explore the city. We cycled all along the coast stopping to photograph and take in the stunning scenery of the Med. We eventually made our way to Old Jaffa City, a port city with over 4,000 years of history. Today, Old Jaffa is a main tourist destination filled with narrow alleys of artisan shops and galleries, Judaica souvenirs, jewelry, antiques and restaurants. Luckily we were there on a Friday and were able to visit Old Jaffa’s flea market. The streets were packed with old antique furniture dealers as well as piles of people’s junk you could sift through. We had lunch at a Greek Restaurant and sampled the Eggplant Shakshouka,a popular Israeli dish made from poached eggs and eggplant in a spiced tomato sauce.
We left Tel Aviv, knowing we’d be back again someday. It is definitely on our list of future vacation spots to visit with our family.
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Tel Aviv, Israel