Day 1: Arrival
We left Edinburgh on a 6.30am flight to Berlin and from there we got to Tel Aviv by the early afternoon. We went through a ton of security in between as well.
We got a taxi to the hotel and because I didn’t get much sleep the night before konked out by 7.30 pm. I think we had room service for dinner.
Day 2: Old Jaffa and Carmel Markets.
We had breakfast and then went walking along the beach until we got to the Old Jaffa area near a landmark called The Clock Tower. We walked around the area a lot and got lost for a while. I noticed that the entire area (not just Jaffa) is in a state of transition. There were a lot of old buildings that looked like it needed to be condemned, but people were using them. But at the same time, there was a ton of construction going on.
We then made our way to the Carmel Markets. There were food, flowers, clothes and a lot of trinkets for tourists. After that, we wandered through the nearby areas and had lunch. Note, Tel Aviv is an expensive city and for me, the numbering of the shekel currency threw me off a little.
Day 3 and 4: Jersulam
We got the train to Jerusalem (only an hour long) and then the light rail to the Old City. We wandered through the different quarters and saw the Western Wall. We then had lunch before going on a tour under the wall and under the city. That was my favourite part 🙂 We then wandered around for a bit more, found the Tower of David and then left the area and found a bar where we stayed for a few hours. We definitely did not have enough time in the day for that place. In fact, it might have been better to have stayed in Jersulam and take a day trip to Tel Aviv instead.
We went back to the train station and found that it was closed. It was nine at night and we were stuck. There were a few people manning the gate and they said to stay in a hotel (there were quite a few in the area). We found a place in a low budget hotel for 350 shekels and it was low budget. The TV had power to it, but there were no channels, the toilet bowl lid had been broken and glued back to together (worked fine), there was a large squeegee in the shower to clean up the water because it spilled out. But we got a complimentary breakfast included in the price 🙂
Then since we were still here we went to the Yad Vashem Museum. That place was depressing, but it’s a good museum. We weren’t allowed to take photos, but I had taken some before been told not too. Then after that, we went back to the train station it was still closed! But we found the city bus station across the road and got a bus back.
Day 5: Lazy Day
This day was really sunny and I went and walked along the beach the opposite way towards the power station. I then walked along Ha-Banim Garden, I underestimated how big it was and at midday decided to go back. I managed to get semi-lost in the streets but found my way back to the beach. The area was really nice and it would be a lovely place to live. I also saw so many gum trees. I didn’t know they were here, it reminded me of home.
Day 6: Weizmann Institute of Science
We took the train out to Rehovot and visited two of Chris’ friends from his early PhD days and had lunch with them. Then we took the train back to Tel Aviv and then headed out to the airport. The flight home was in two stages as well. We had a five-hour stopover in Poznan, Poland and like the first day in Tel Aviv, my sleep was all messed up and I sleep most of the day back and then after a few hours awake went back to sleep again.
Take Away Notes:
There were a ton of Israeli Defense Forces everywhere. I wasn’t at all phased by the guns they had. They were walking the streets, riding the trains etc. And OMG Cats! There were so many cats and dogs everywhere! The cats roam free and you can easily count 20 – 30 cats as you walk around the place. Dogs, on the other hand, are always accompanied by a human.
Tel Aviv reminded me of Australia a lot. Maybe it was the weather, which was really nice. It only rained once (but it poured cats and dogs), all the other times it was really nice and sunny 🙂 It’s a nice place and I could live there, but being so close to the Middle East, means probably not.