T like traveling... and Tel Aviv
Updated: Nov 18, 2018
It will be my second time in Tel Aviv this year. I wish I could say I am going there to enjoy beautiful weather. Unfortunately, I am traveling due to the work- related duties. So, it hasn’t been my own choice to travel twice to the same place within 3 months. Actually, I don’t like traveling too many times to the same places. There are few reason for it. The first one, very understandable – there are too many beautiful places I would like to see, so I cannot afford coming back to the same places all over again. Not when I have only 5 weeks of holidays a year!
The second reason is my photographic memory. I remember almost everything what I have seen in every place! I discovered this when I flew to London the second time, after ten years. I was 16 back then and of course, I fall in love in London. I was so excited about all these cool double-decker buses and red telephone booths, beautiful museums and London Eye! I was even lucky to see how Motörhead was making a video for ‘’God Save The Queen’’ on London’s streets! If anyone is curious to see it, here is the link
The second time I went to London in 2009. I discovered very quickly that everything there looked like I had been there a week ago! I know it sounds almost impossible, because so many new buildings have been built and so many streets have been renovated during these 10 years. But still, everything looked so familiar to me that I was quite disappointed. Ok, I discovered new areas as well. This time I stayed in Camden, so that was new experience for me. But nothing to compare with the kick of adrenaline when I am somewhere for the first time! It looks like traveling it’s all about excitement and adrenaline of me :)
So, while siting now on the plane and writing this text, I have the feeling that my excitement has been partially gone. At least for Tel Aviv itself, although I haven’t seen a lot the first time. But the spirit of the city wouldn’t be any different this time, I guess.
City which never sleeps
The first thing I learned about Tel Aviv was horrible traffic culture on the roads. Every time I needed to take a taxi, I was I afraid it’s my last ride ever. And one thing I can say for sure- there know how to use horn in their cars here! The second lesson was that city never sleeps. Sound cool, he? That’s what I thought the first time as well. But now my enthusiasm is on the boarder of tolerance. It’s 0:30 while I am writing this post, not because I am so eager by nature. It’s just because outside of my hotel’s window there is a roundabout under construction. And it looks like here, something like silence after 22:00 doesn’t exist! At this moment, there are few excavators outside, driving back and forth, making a lot of noise. So, I cannot sleep and I am not looking forward to being woken up by the alarm at 6:30. I could avoid this kind of situation by looking for a hotel in more quiet area. However, I chose the hotel in city center, close by busy Dizengoff Street, the same hotel where I stayed first time. Center Chic Hotel itself is nice and cozy, and it has a small roof top terrace, which I found very relaxing place. I still would recommend staying here, because of the walking distance to the restaurants, beaches, shopping areas and one of the most popular among tourists Rothschild Boulevard. Just make sure you request a quiet room in advance while booking your stay here.
I didn’t know what to expect the first time when I arrived here. Tel Aviv surprised me by the contrast between old and new architecture. Since beginning, I had the feeling that some of the old buildings look like are going to collapse soon. On the other hand, in the background of all these small, sometimes ugly houses, there are newly built, expenses penthouses. Someone could say that this description matches to any other city. This could be true. However, this contrast attracted my attention. Sometimes, I just have the feeling that some elements of city don’t match others. But maybe this is kind of specific charm of this places, which is barely 100 years old city.
TLV is known as city which lives 24h. There is a lot of true in saying that TVL never sleeps. Shops are open here till 20-22 pm, supermarkets even longer. Bars and restaurant seem to be open till the last customer. Because of the heat and temperature that in summer reaches usually 27- 30 Celcius degrees active life starts here as soon as the air cools down. The view of night runners on the beach doesn’t surprised anyone. Even marathons in Tel Aviv take places at night.
If anyone prefer a beach during the day, Tel Aviv, with its wide, white sandy beaches, is a perfect place to be! Most popular beaches are situated 15 min walk form the city centre. Almost everyone can find something for himself- there are beaches suitable for disabled people, fans of volleyball and beaches where even dogs are allowed. Facilities are well developed here, so it’s easy to find nice restaurants or bars at the beach, almost for each pocket. Although, I need to say, Tel Aviv is not a cheap place to live or to stay. I’ve noticed this myself, I’ve heard this form locals traveling to Europe and enjoying good standard of living or hospitality for reasonable price. In Tel Aviv, in very average restaurant for glass of wine we might pay between 30-50 shekels (1 euro it's around 4.2 shekels, so the calculation is easy). For lunch in the restaurant we might pay around 60-100 shekels. At least food is usually worth of the many we pay for it. Almost everything I ate here so far, tasted very good. Including Israeli wine, which is must to try for all wine lovers!
Taxis usually have similar fare, and compare to the rest of expenses, I found them relatively affordable. So, for the taxi from the airport Ben Guarion to city centre, we will pay between 150- 170 shekels on the weekdays, and around 250 shekels on the weekends. It’s important to remember that weekends in Israel start on Fridays, not Saturdays. Sundays are normal working days, with all the banks and offices open.
People and nightlife
I like people in Tel Aviv. They seem to be friendly and helpful, especially as soon as they can speak English. Or Russian, as this seems to be language no.2 in TLV. I like night life here and the way how people spent their free time. Life seems taking place outside of the houses, in open gardens of bars and resaurants. I really appreciate how girls dressing up for evenings out. Maybe it’s a weather itself, or a mentality, I am not sure. It can be both. It’s always easier looking good in summer dress and high heels than fury winter jacket that cause you look like a snowman. To see some of the night light chic, it’s enough to go out at evening to Rothschild Boulevard. Vibe of this street reminds me a little of New York. Apparently, I am not the only one, because TVL is called sometimes NY of Middle East.
TLV surprised me in very positive way by the open-minded people on the streets. Tattoos studios, colorful LTDB flags in windows, gay couples openly showing their feelings in public. All of these things make me feel like in Amsterdam.
However, besides the night life, beaches and all these modern elements typical for big cities nowadays, Tel Aviv- Jaffa it’s still a cultural and historical crossroad for Jewish and Muslim. Israel is multicultural society and over decades relationship between these two the biggest religious wasn't easy. Fortunately, nowadays Israel seems ti be safe place than a decade ago.