We woke up at 7:00 am, no need for alarm clock. After a shower in our crazy bathroom (outside the apartment and shared with who know who), we went walking to Jaffa, which took us around 30 minutes. The weirdest thing happen to us while walking…out of nowhere a jet of liquid shit fell just in front of us, 3 seconds later and we would have that on our heads, thanks God we only got some splashes and we had wipes with us. WELCOME TO TEL AVIV!
2 days before we book through internet the free walking tour, which I always try to do in the cities I go, because is the best contact you can get with locals, and if you don´t like the tour you don´t have to leave any tips, which it has never happen to me, I´m usually very satisfied with these tours and leave a proper tip.
Once in Jaffa, we had an exquisite breakfast at Cafe Bistro Rosette, next to the HaShaon Square (Lebanese breakfast for 2, 146 ILS).
Is Jaffa Tel Aviv?
Jaffa is the older city of Tel Aviv although Tel aviv is more talked about, and is much more popular than Jaffa. Tel Aviv is a younger sister ,vibrant and youthful built-in 1908-1909 grabbing all flashlights which has recently celebrated 106 years where Jaffa is there for around 5000 years. In 1951, Tel Aviv and Jaffa was connected together forming Tel Aviv Jaffa or Tel Aviv Yafo. (from http://www.ankionthemove.com).
Our meeting point for the free tour was the Clock Tower at 11:00am, very easy to find, and our tour started right on time.
Some of the things that the guide said or that we visited, that caught my attention, were:
- The meaning of Tel Aviv. It was first founded in 1909 as “Ahuzat Baiet”(Housing Property), by a group of 60 families. A year later, inspired by Theodor Herzel’s book “Altneuland” (Old-New Land), and its utopian vision for the state of Israel, this little neighborhood was renamed “Tel Aviv” (Spring Hill). In Hebrew, “Tel” does not simply mean “hill”, but a man made hill covering the remains of an ancient settlement or a hill in an archeological excavation. And the word “aviv” means spring. Thereby, the name “Tel Aviv” stands for a link between old and new; antiquity rejuvenated. This is the concept on which the city of Tel Aviv was first founded. (from http://www.telavivguide.net)
- We stopped in front of the “Please Touch” or Nalaga´at Center in hebrew, which is a unique, nonprofit center of culture and arts, that offers unique employment opportunities that assist deaf, blind and deaf-blind. Among others,the center is home for the Nalaga’at Theater, that aims to integrate deaf-blind people in the society, and the “Blackout” dark restaurant, where you will be served various dishes, escorted by blind waiters, in total darkness, that will make you sense and feel like you’ve never did before. I didn´t know about this place before, and it is one of the reasons I want to go back to Israel
- Next station was St. Peter Church, which is one of the few churches in the world that face West. Most of the churches in the world face East (towards Jerusalem), but here the orientation was reversed, probably to face the house of Simon the tanner where Peter was staying. Click here if you want to read more about Saint Peter´s vision and why Christians don´t eat kosher food
- The Egyptian Gate of Rameses II (replica) at Jaffa
- We tried Za´atar, a condiment made from the dried herbs, mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices
- We passed through some of the local markets, but sadly everything was closed because it was Shabbat
- 100 Clock Towers were erected throughout the Ottoman Empire in honor of the Sultan, seven of which were built in the Holy Land. The Jaffa Clock Tower is one of them
The tour finished at 13:00, and we decided to eat a shawarma (48 ILS ≈ 13 €) in front of the beach while waiting for our afternoon tour.
We are not the kind of people who visit the cities with guided tours, but this was with the same guide that gave us the free tour in the morning, which was amazing. Always trying to solve mine thousands of doubts about the city, the religions, etc. Plus, it was the best we can do with our 24 hours in Tel Aviv (17 € per the tour).
The Tour started at 14:00, also from the Clock Tower of Jaffa, and it covered:
- The American – German Colony, that dates back to 1886 when a group of over 150 Christian Americans decided to follow their faith and vision and settle in Palestine. They brought with them the wood and materials to resurrect their homes in the New England style, and when they were granted permission from the Ottomans, settled in what has come to be called “The American Colony.”. After a few years, the families became very ill and many dispersed to Europe or returned to Maine. New, German settlers purchased much of the land and buildings which the Americans had constructed.During WWI and WWII, the British authorities deported many of the Germans or put them under police supervision, and much of the area was deemed enemy alien property. (from www.touristisrael.com)
- Florentine Neighborhood, the artist´s town or Tel Aviv´s Soho. Where you can find braille graffiti or signs like “if I forget you Jerusalem is because of Tel Aviv”. Also, we stopped at a Night Club where once a month there is a clandestine party for gays Arab muslims from the West Bank and one for gays Orthodox Jews
- Neve Tzedek, the posh neighborhood
- Suzanne Dellal Dance Center
- The white city (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site). Refers to a collection of over 4,000 buildings built in a unique form of the Bauhaus or International Style in Tel Aviv from the 1930s by German Jewish architects who immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine after the rise of the Nazis
- Independence Hall, where the signing of Israel’s Declaration of Independence took place (on the historic Rothschild Boulevard)
My expectations with Tel Aviv were very low, I actually thought about not spending any time there, but after this amazing hours in Tel Aviv all I can say is that I need to go back to Tel Aviv….also to Israel, to Jordan, to Palestine…
Also, I was so glad I have a friend living in Tel Aviv that I contacted a couple of days before arriving, and we met today for dinner. She took me to “The Old Man and the Sea” restaurant in Jaffa harbor. The restaurant’s special deal includes 18 different kinds of salads, warm oven baked pita breads, a lemonade jug, main course (fish / seafood / meat), and coffee or tea and Awame for dessert – all for 100 ILS.
We went back to our apartment, tried to get some sleep (without success), and went to the airport (by UBER, 130 ILS ≈ 34 €) at 1:00am, since our flight was at 6:00am and the airlines recommend you to get at least 4 hours before your flight.
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