Hello beautiful people,



Not long ago I returned from a little getaway of 8 days in my favorite country, Israel, and it made me fell so much better and energized. I went there for something very important for me and my soul.
Today tho’ , let’s talk about Tel Aviv!
Tel Aviv, with it’s many and divers memories, is a city that lies on the Mediterranean seashore (the 3rd in size in Israel). A very different kind of city. I am sure you can not find the same vibe anywhere else in this world. I wonder what is that fascinating thing about it that makes me return here every time with so much enthusiasm: The memories, the sea, the people, the intelligence, the history, the culture, the never ending discovery of new places I end up loving ?! Or maybe all of this.
This time we were planing to stay only for a day and to return to Askelon the same night. We left the house late, after 1 pm. It should have take us about 50 minutes till there, following the route, the hidden cameras, the police, the traffic jam and all else on Waze. Our friends from Israel are wonderful people. They borrowed us their car for the day. I mean- I have no words. As usually, on Israel’s soil, we encounter blessing after blessing, one surprise after another.
We wanted to get to Jaffa- so I could show my sister the narrow streets of the old port and the special jewelry boutiques. After a 1h 30 min trip, coming down one of the streets full of hotels on both sides, we could now see the -a bit heavy- sea and the beach that ends close to the port. Finally! There were about 16 degrees celsius out and a cold wind; I was just starting to remember why I always come back here:

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The people and the vibe.

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Tel Aviv is a new city, in a very old part of the world; Not that the world is made on portions but, for example, Jaffa, to where we will get later, is the well known port Yoppe. Striving to keep and to give value to the historical inheritance of the place, the Israelis created in this city such fascinating contrast of skyscrapers, business buildings, the cranes that are always on the move as proof that the city is in continuous development, and then the palm trees, the stretch of beaches, the all kind of restaurants, the museums and the diversity of hotels.
Being the business and cultural center of Israel, the city is alive and noisy, but once you go down to the sea, the noise gradually ceases and it transforms slowly in another kind of song: the sound of the waves, the sound of the ball of Matkot hitting the racquets, of people walking on the seashore, or doing barbecues on the green spaces, of the conversations that 2 strangers are having for the first time, a very often encountered and normal thing on Tel Aviv Beaches.
Altho, probably the most modern city in the Middle-Est, I don’t see here the antisocial, too independent, untouchable person that our, so called, modern societies create. All the contrary> few hours there and you have the opportunity to meet new people, some with very good education, high positions and You can have conversations on many interesting subjects, all this mixed with the tamed wildness of middle-esterns

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The sunset

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Please watch the video!

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The old port: Jaffa

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March 2018- I was in Tel Aviv with Anca- We planed to sleep here for the night so we can see the port when it gets dark. We took the train from Askelon and walked from the train station searching for… the sea.
Following the indications of locals, at some point we got to a place where I started recognizing the streets. So we kept walking straight and eventually arrived at Carmel Market: Yeey. We were supposed to buy some stuff that I always get here, and from this place I knew how to get to the port. After shopping and eating pasta, we went down the street heading to the sea, and then we went left on the seaside strait to Jaffa.

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We checked in at „Old Jaffa”- that’s how the hostel was called. And then we went out to explore the narrow streets.
When you arrive in Jaffa on the seaside part, at the intersection that climbs up to the old city, if you continue in the same direction until you arrive right in the old port, on the left side, among doors of different workshops, restaurants, stores or homes, there is an entrance with some very old stares that has no door. Going up there you will find like a path that always turns, with little flat portions at times,old stares again, and again flat portion- more stairs tho- or at least that’s how it fells like. Together they form some king of labyrinth between the, since forever, walls, and it has a few exits up in the old city. Between thous walls you can find little workshops, homes, shops with unique stuff and art galleries… and a random tree that hangs from somewhere. Is like an old world in there.

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Old Jaffa Hostel

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The hostel is in a big old house, with paintings Israeli style on the walls, a worm welcome and tall rooms. Breakfast was very reach in choices and healthy, if you wanted it to be (you had the option for Nuttela as well, tho), and most important, served on the rooftop.
-But first coffee- The corner where you would go for coffee, tea, orange juice and cutlery was a bar surrounding the little kitchen, the only covered part of the roof. Right in front of it where were a few, very old, sofas and 2 tables in the middle. Breakfast is somehow a meeting place, where you find people from all over the world: backpackers, the simple tourist that makes out of socializing a purpose, or just the ones that like to travel low budget.
You don’t have to be the one starting the conversation often but sometimes it helps. You can meet people that „live” in hostels. People who make a living out of traveling or people who live to travel and they find jobs in the countries where they are when money run out, and they continue the journey when they made enough to take them to the next destination. The bar was also the only place with socket and wi-fi from the roof. The table that we choose was close to the edge of the flat roof, from where you could see the the streets whose tenants were wide awake, opened the stores and were already working.
To get to our room you had to go down a lot of stairs. It was on the same floor with the reception and the living-room. The wooden doors were tall and narrow. The rules of the hostel and other useful information were pined on a piece of paper on the door. In the opposite wall there was another door that would take you to the balcony where I found a little table with 2 chairs. I was spending there the few available moments I had in a day to read and to check the vibe of this interesting place.

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The stores/workshops

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No matter if they are in the center of the old city or in the narrow streets that go up and down to the flea market or to the new market, or even in the so called (by me I guess) labyrinth from the old buildings of the port, most of the stores are little family businesses. Talented people bring to the world their creativity here. This place abounds of all kind of workshops, and in some of them people actually create the product wile selling.
I guess you could find any jewelry you would search for there; on the other hand, if you don’t wanna spend any money, you would probably find that piece that would convince you to reconsider.
Near the new market we discovered another place where I will gladly go back soon (let’s hope): a mini-bar for fruit fresh. You can find plenty of this in Israel but this one was special. The one selling was an aprox 18 years old kid- he seemed to be an expert tho’ in making a fresh; mixing MANGO with pineapple and some other fruit that I don’t remember, he created the best fresh I ever tasted. Well yes, Jaffa was just an old port, but the locals brought it to life.

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The port at night.

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As mentioned, the main reason why we stayed in Tel Aviv 2 days was to see the port at night. I’ve seen it before. My second time here I had some crazy adventures that are worth mentioned (some other time tho’).
Imagine this: is dark, the weather is nice, not very hot, nor cold, you can feel the wind blowing slow. I’ve got to a wooden deck and stopped. In the right side I have the sea; big waves hit the deck every few seconds and sometimes the water goes over the railing.
Thanks to the many street lights and to the moon I can clearly see the waves. far, coming my way is the noise of an army helicopter. I look closely to the wide sea and I spot a man on a little boat trying to get somewhere, and at a distance that sims to me not more that 20m another one is on a surfing board. What on earth?- I would say.
I don’t know what captivates you but I could watch the waves forever. still, I turn on the right and now I see the amazing Tel Aviv, with most lights of the skyscrapers on. It looks like a city from the future from the old port of Jaffa. Well, it is a city of the future. I turn right again, and now I can spot the center of the old port that lures me with all the cozy places where you can eat or drink or have Ice-Cream and with a very tasty pastry shop with traditional dishes.
All around are the locals. They have probably seen this place countless times, but just as me, they come here on a regular bases, because this place is not about what you see, but about how it makes you fell.

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Old train station of Tel-Aviv/

HaTachana

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In June-July 2017 we were volunteers in the Israeli army and we just visited the army museum (a must see). We had to wait for the bus so one of our Madrihot (giude), Clara,  took us to the old train stations of Tel-Aviv. It was the first train station built in the Middle-Est ( 1894) and it was used until the rebuilding of the state of Israel (1948).
Today tho, as the custom in israel is to do something beautiful in a historical place, you can find here art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, family activities and other interesting stores. I loved this place and the unique stuff I’ve found in here and their idea of giving live to an old train station.
I see this as one of the main principles of Israel today: rehabilitation, reconstruction, and this mix in balance between history and innovation, love of art and nature.
I didn’t even have enough time for a coffee, but this is a place that stays with me as something representative of Israel today.

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Pasta Basta

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Next to Carmel Market there is this place where we go for pasta. One of my favorite places to eat: Pasta Basta.
The concept is simple: You choose what kind kind of pasta you want, the sauce, and what you want to add on. It is a vegetarian restaurant so beside all kinds of vegetables and cheese they only have fish (salmon and tuna probably). „Hmmm…” you’ll say,„you just said it is a vegetarian restaurant!” well it basically is; In Israel fish is not considered meat; long story…
The chaser, considerate as usual, takes our order smiling in their typical way of sharing that felling of freedom for everybody who wants some, and I confess to him that I’ve been waiting for an entire week for this gorgeous pasta with gorgonzola sauce, broccoli and mushrooms that I’ve just order, and I like the pasta here a lot…
„Really? He answers breezy „in this case, the desert is on the house” ! -and it was.

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House of Ben Gurion

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In another weekend as part of the army program we visited the house of David Ben Gurion (first prime-minister of Israel- the founder of the state). I only knew a few surface things about this men who is actually so important for Israel. His house in Tel Aviv was transformed in a little museum, but still, most thinks are just as he had them wile living here.
So I didn’t go there expecting much. Our guide, an about 25 year old, very pretty girl, explained room by room every exhibit and the life of the family that lived here.
We arrived in this room that had only one window, that was covered by a brick wall, a bed, a table and some chairs, who’s story we were about to hear. Ben Gurion was sick; Naser tho (the president of Egypt) was not about to wait until he got better to invade and provoke war, so he can take the best decisions for the state. Because he could not go to work, the Israeli army transformed that room into a bunker. this room become the place from where the most important decisions for the Sinai war were taken.
Then we went up-stairs and I could not believe my eyes: 4 rooms that were all the personal library of this man. On all walls there were books, books, books. The guide told us that Ben Gurion read most, if not all of them, and that many times when he would try to win an argument he would send somebody in the library for a certain book. he would tell the person the room, the wall the shelf, the book, and the page where to find that one quote that he needs.
Even more, when reading, he considered that read it in it’s original language any book would be better understood. So first he would learn the language, and then he would read the book.
All I wanted in that moment was to remain there for a week, a month, an year- and read.

(I’ve lost all the videos from here)

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Tel-Aviv has so much to offer. What I presented to you is just a little part of the experiences that I had in this wonderful city. And there are soooo many other things to see, to experience, to repeat; i just fell like buying a ticket again.
Until then tho, I hope I made you dream yourself in the narrow streets of the old port Jaffa, with a fresh made of your favorite fruits in your hand.
Please join the conversation and tell me about places that stay with you, or if you visited Tel-Aviv and what were your impressions.

PS: I have some very good news: (that you don’t care about if you are not Romanian, or a guide, or don’t organize trips, or you don’t have a travel agency) If you plan to visit Jerusalem soon, from now one the Temple Institute has a Romanian tour guide as well- You have to see this place tho’ at least once in you life! It’a a must!

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With love,

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