Bam! Pow! Shabat!

Tel Aviv Travel Blog

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The sun worshippers are out in full force.
Anyone planning a three-day trip to Israel would do well to ensure none of those days fall over the Shabat. Unfortunately for us, our travels took us here over a Saturday --- the “day of rest.” We weren’t quite sure of what this meant until today when we explored the city on foot. EVERYTHING was closed!

We started the morning at the hotel’s breakfast buffet to enjoy a “delicious Jewish breakfast.” The food was just odd to me -- canned fruit, smoked fish, and sweets galore, but NO BAGELS?! Not even a single bialy? Nope. I had really looked forward to a bagel with cream cheese and tomato (lox for Steve of course), but settled for a bowl of cereal and a cheese blintz, which I regretted. Too rich. Ick.

Then we set off on foot from the hotel. We followed the promenade along the beach, where thousands of sun worshipers were already crowding the sands at 9:30am.
Happy beach dog.
We walked from our hotel (in the north) all the way down to the city of Jaffa, which is south of Tel Aviv. It was sunny, hot and humid, but the breeze off the water helped us out. I think every city with a waterfront should consider installing one of these promenades. I like it because it makes for a nice beach walk, and Steve likes it because he doesn’t have to get sand on his feet. It’s the best of both worlds!

Along the way we commented on how Tel Aviv must have had a real building boom in the late 70s and early 80s, as evidenced by the architecture. It all seems to be from that unfortunate era. Maybe they could benefit from a lesson from Dubai on how to pull down some of the old stuff and freshen things up a bit.

In Jaffa, we could see cute shops and cafés all around, but everything was closed save for a couple food stalls.
Old Jaffa alleyway.
Kind of desolate. We wandered around the old town a bit, then headed north again, but this time we cut in from the beach to walk through Tel Aviv. Our destination was the sprawling Carmel Market. We found it without a problem, but all the stalls there were shuttered, too. Sigh. We started to use the word Shabat as a verb, as in "Dang, shabatted again!"

Next we walked up to Dizengof Centre, which is a shopping complex and restaurants. All closed! Shabat! The neighborhood around the centre seemed like it might be a hip residential area, and there were a couple cafes that were open. We found lunch at a place called Amelia’s, where we enjoyed a seat in the shade and were served excellent salads.
Steve's chicken salad at Amelia's.
We relaxed there for quite some time, as the service was on the slow side.

Next we found a cute little grocery store on Frishman street, where we stocked up on snacks. It had tilting wood floors and was jam-packed and disorganized, covering three floors. The jumble and displays reminded me a little bit of Zabar’s in New York.

Back to the hotel for some emails (me) and a nap (Steve). Then we made the mistake of going into the hotel’s Club Room again for the free snacks and drinks. The room is cramped and overly AC’d, and the lady at the front watches you like a hawk lest you take too much food. They put out the beers just two or three at a time, which are immediately snapped up by the thirsty Russians in the room, so that if you want one you have to ask for it.
Steve at a grocery store on Frishman street.
This really annoys the parsimonious lady in the front, who then has to go into her secret closet to get out the dusty drinks, which she very begrudgingly hands over. We watched some old people fight over the TV remote (an older English couple was trying to watch a tennis match, and some younger folks kept switching it to MTV). We ate too many snacks and ruined our dinner, so we just ended the day with another walk along the promenade. It was evening, and things were looking lively and the restaurants and bars were finally opening up for what looked like a long night. The end of Shabat.   

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The sun worshippers are out in ful…
The sun worshippers are out in fu…
Happy beach dog.
Happy beach dog.
Old Jaffa alleyway.
Old Jaffa alleyway.
Steves chicken salad at Amelias.
Steve's chicken salad at Amelia's.
Steve at a grocery store on Frishm…
Steve at a grocery store on Frish…
Breakfast buffet. No bagels to be …
Breakfast buffet. No bagels to be…
Kids at the beach.
Kids at the beach.
Recharging with a Red Bull.
Recharging with a Red Bull.
Hung out to dry.
Hung out to dry.
Retored building in Old Jaffa.
Retored building in Old Jaffa.
Pretty window box in Old Jaffa.
Pretty window box in Old Jaffa.
View of Tel Aviv. We walked from t…
View of Tel Aviv. We walked from …
Self portrait with Tel Aviv.
Self portrait with Tel Aviv.
St. Peters Church in Old Jaffa.
St. Peter's Church in Old Jaffa.
Jaffa Museum. Closed of course.
Jaffa Museum. Closed of course.
Old Jaffa window.
Old Jaffa window.
Steve peeps into a shuttered music…
Steve peeps into a shuttered musi…
Check out their furry passenger.
Check out their furry passenger.
A very quiet Carmel Market.
A very quiet Carmel Market.
Frosty deliciousness.
Frosty deliciousness.
Feta cheese on my salad.
Feta cheese on my salad.
Grocery shopping.
Grocery shopping.
Chocolate for sale.
Chocolate for sale.
Playing his harmonica on our balco…
Playing his harmonica on our balc…
Tel Aviv
photo by: JulieFrenchi