I only went to Tel Aviv because I wanted to get to Caesarea and discovered a day trip from Tel Aviv that stopped in Caesarea. Strange how these things work.
From the train stop and around the government buildings, I felt surrounded by a gray and gritty city. But by the ocean, it was always pleasant. I got lost en route to my lodging and stumbled upon a colorful outdoor food market. Silver linings.
Tel Aviv was very nationalistic. If you don’t speak and read Hebrew, it can be tough going. The idea of Israel as a nation was introduced by journalist Theodore Hertzl, after covering the Dreyfus Affaire in Paris. In 1897, he presented this idea at the first World Zionist Congress in Switzerland. He wanted a modern advanced society with equality of people and thought the nation would speak German. Fast forward – the modern city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909.
In Tel Aviv, on the cheap-ER, serves cold coffee like my father used to make (strong with milk added). There were bits and pieces of interesting art if you looked. I recommend the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
You pay in shekels here. Getting an ice cream, all the flavors were in Hebrew letters so I sampled the two flavors that looked like what I wanted. They turned out to be pistachio and mango. That worked. I walked along the boardwalk, admiring the waves and observing the bending fishing rods. You want to walk from Friday evening through Saturday because the public transportation takes the Jewish Sabbath seriously.
The number of semi-automatic rifles on the streets was obscene. At breakfast, I watched trios of police(all in uniform with caps) patrol the sidewalk. One was in a navy blue uniform with short sleeves and the other two were in light green uniforms with long sleeves. The two in green carried semi-automatic rifles. The trio seemed to go up and down the same three blocks. The waves went on, undaunted.
Walking the beach in the wave zone, I watched kite surfers fly up in the air and come down without missing a beat.
In the Old City – Jaffa Port – the site for Jonah and the whale story, I walked through the narrow stone alleys that were winding, covered passages. After fifteen minutes, I was experiencing waves of claustrophobia so I veered upstairs and to my delight, entered a big open area.
My claustrophobic sensations gone, I started humming the 1944 song, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.” (The song references Jonah and the whale.)
The ocean front of Tel Aviv made for a great contemplative place for the end of my stay. In the evening, I sat on the rocks and looked out at the waves. In Tel Aviv and staring out at the Mediterranean Ocean, I thought of my family and felt so lucky to have such a sense of being grounded in my being and so fortunate to have such opportunities to travel and explore.
“Ask about your neighbors, then buy the house.” – an Israeli Proverb that I found ironic.
Other posts on Israel are: Caesarea and Calvary, and Bethlehem’s Wall.
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