Friday, February 19, 2016

Israel Day 8: Tel Aviv

It was so nice to wake up and not have to pack everything up!  Don't get me wrong, I've loved all that we've done and seen since arriving a little over a week ago, but these last three mornings where we had to be packed and out of the hotel by 9am at the latest has been tough. Since we are spending our last two nights in Tel Aviv, it was a relaxing wake up and go kinda morning!
This morning when we were all up and functioning, which was 9:30, we met up in the lobby and walked along the boardwalk to Old Jaffa for breakfast. We also wanted to check out the flea market and antique market there. Old Jaffa is the "old" part of Tel Aviv and had those beautiful old stone worked buildings and an incredible square with old shops and restaurants. 
After our (so not short) walk along the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean, we checked out the different options for breakfast. There were quite a few choices tucked away into these old stone buildings. After checking out all the menus, we settled on a place called Cassiopea, partially cause of the incredible view, partially cause of the menu. Considering we have been eating hotel breakfasts (read: identical) for the entire trip so far, it was a nice treat to eat elsewhere. And let me tell you, it was the best food yet!  Well, aside from the Shwarma. Everyone was thrilled with breakfast, so much in fact, that we made dinner reservations for the same place!
From there, we headed to the flea market. It was a bust. Ironically, it was filled with all sorts of American tzatchskies which none of us were interested in. So we headed to the antiques section. It wasn't anything to really write home about, and by that time, time was drawing short of we wanted to get to the artist market before it closed, so we took our first Israeli can and headed back toward the hotel area to check it out. 
That was an awesome market!  There were so many unique items, from prints and jewelry, to wire work and plush, it was really nice to spend time enjoying all the different artists. We even caught a bit of an accapella group singing!  Since the hotel was so close to the market, we walked back and readied to hit the beach. I mean, it's February and back home it's in the 40's and gross.  Even if it was only 60 and sunny we still would have beached it, just because!  Thankfully, it was actually quite nice and we enjoyed hanging out in the sand and chatting. 
At that point we were all pretty tired, so we headed back to the hotel to rest, change, and ready for dinner. My sister came in for the night, and the group had a nice little Shabbat in the lobby.  When our cabs arrived to take us back to Old Jaffa, we were ready!  Funny thing is, one cab got us straight there, while the other cab, which left before the one I was in, got there a good few minutes after we did!
Dinner was delish. Some very unique items on the menu, including a Dream Loaf, which was basically an entire loaf of challah stuffed with meat balls. From there we walked a bit and saw what used to be an old church, but now is basically home to bats. It was creepy to hear the, all and watch the, flying around, nut neat at the same time. It seems that in Israel, if an old building is empty, it isn't torn down, it waits to be repurposed. So different than back home. 

At this point the group split up, some of us (including me) headed back to the hotel, while others continued exploring the city under my sister's guidance. It has been a long and overstuffed week of amazing experiences!  Not sure what we will do in our final 24 hours to cap it all off!

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