The Land of Milk & Honey

Tel Aviv

Before meeting David Israel was never on my radar in terms of a place to visit.  I knew little of this beautiful country.  After having spent 2.5 weeks in my boyfriend’s homeland I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit!  Below I will include my favourite spots, recommendations and details about my trip.

The trip began with my longest flight ever (30 min longer than my flight to Istanbul).  David and I were lucky as we got a row to ourselves on Air Canada’s Dreamliner and I got to lie down to sleep!  Unfortunately, upon our arrival in Tel Aviv I learned that my luggage never made it on to the plane, my first time ever having my luggage lost.  Luckily it arrived the next day after a quick detour through Frankfurt.

Normally I am a huge planner when it comes to travel, it’s one of my favourite parts of the process, deciding all the places I want to see (upcoming blog post on how I plan my trips).  As this trip was last minute (we booked within a week of flying) I didn’t have as much time to plan every single detail.  Since we were going to David’s homeland this was not so much an issue as he knew a lot of stuff to see and do and I received some recommendations from his sister as well.

We were travelling over the high holidays, so I got to experience Yom Kippur and Sukkot in Tel Aviv, which was an incredibly unique experience.  Tel Aviv, normally a very vibrant and busy city completely closes down on Yom Kippur.  Those who observe the holiday may only use electricity which has been left on prior to sun down (i.e. leaving lights on).  No one is allowed to drive in the streets (save for emergency vehicles) and even if you were to turn your television on, there would be nothing airing!  We went for a walk on that night, where many people are out with their families and friends on walks and the children on bicycles as there isn’t much to do at home in the dark without electricity, these days at least.  The following day, same thing, it is a day of rest for the whole country, no businesses are open and the streets are vacant, open to pedestrians.

Tel Aviv

One of the main things that I noticed and immediately loved about Tel Aviv are the large boulevards dividing the traffic on several of the main streets.  They have large overhanging trees to shade from the sun during the day and and are such a lovely place to go for walks through the city.  Tel Aviv is one of those cities that never sleeps.  Even though their weekend falls on Friday & Saturday, making Saturday like a Sunday in North America, people still go out on Saturday like they would here.  There is always people in the streets and a liveliness to the city.  In fact upon arriving back in Toronto, I noticed from the car how vacant our streets look in comparison, where are all the Torontonians!?

Tel Aviv

On our first night we went to La Mer, a beach bar.  I loved the red chairs with the La Mer on the back.  Little bars like this are all over the beach in Tel Aviv, it’s a really nice way to spend the evening, with your feet in the sand, sea breeze in the air and the aroma of shisha wafting over the beach.

Tel Aviv

You must try one of these Israeli sodas from Café Levinsky if you are in Tel Aviv!  They are filled with fruits and herbs and they are delicious and beautiful.

Tel Aviv

The food in Israel is so good!  Hummus, tahini, falafel, shawarma, Israeli Salad is one of my favourites, very simple, just chopped cucumber, tomato and onion in oil, lemon and mint, which you can add tahini, but so good!  My favourite thing I had in Israel was actually from one of their chain restaurants, Arcaffé.  On our second day I had their Ballerina Salad, yes I chose it for it’s name, but this is actually all my favourite things included in a salad.  It is named for the noodles (ballerine noodles and these in particular were a beet noodle), it is comprised also of beets, caramelized onions, greens, goat cheese and tzatziki and topped with balsamic dressing.  I haven’t been able to find beet pasta in Toronto, but I have made it for myself with regular pasta and it is one of my favourite ever salads!

Tel Aviv

This is one of my most adored views ever!  I think it perfectly represents Tel Aviv, with the beautiful white sand beach juxtaposed against the glass buildings of Tel Aviv’s city.  This view is visible from the old city of Jaffa, just outside of Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv
The wishing bridge in Jaffa: you place your hands on your horoscope, look at the sea and make a wish!

Shuk Carmel is a market in Tel Aviv which is a fun experience.  I bought two bracelets there, one a beaded turquoise with Hamsa hands and the other gold with an evil eye.  Other than that I didn’t do too much shopping.  I did ask David for some of the local Israeli stores at the mall and got a top from Castro and a few items from Adika.

Tel Aviv

These jeans were purchased from Adika.  We took this photo in Bat Yam, where David was born.  He told me it translates to mermaid in English (daughter of the sea), which I just thought made it the most magical place!

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel AvivTel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

The highlight of Tel Aviv is definitely it’s beaches.  We spent most of our days on the beach.

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv
Hotel CUCU is covered in colourful balloons, so cute!
Tel Aviv
I so wanted a photo of the flamingos at Shampina and waited three days to walk by when they were out during daylight.  We actually happened upon them as they were being put out and David asked them to set them up on the stairs for me so I could get a shot with them!

 

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv
pink coffee cups!

 

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

I have two more Israel posts, from our day trips to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.  This has taken so long for me to get up, considering we came back over a month ago!  I am ready for my next trip!!

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