Trendy and Chilled
How would you describe a trendy place? For me it’s often the combination of beautiful people, lively atmosphere, busy cafes or bars, nice architecture or interior design. There is plenty of that in Tel Aviv – no way you get bored in this nonstop city. Is it because of the tech community, that brings new talents, money and ideas in ? Or is it because, surprisingly, people in Tel Aviv don’t seem to be in a rush, or constantly on the phone, and instead take time to go out?
Whatever the reason, this city hardly sleeps.
I went running on the seashore early in the morning and met already quite a lot of joggers, people going for breakfast, tourists enjoying the outdoors. During the day, I saw locals going to markets, shops, schools, work, landmarks. In the evening, streets were lit up by restaurants and bars. If you like a lively place, then Tel Aviv is ideal.
Literally Beautiful: The Old City of Jaffa
Coming from cold Zurich, the first day I immediately went to visit Old Jaffa and its Port to enjoy the mild weather and sun. The name Jaffa comes from the Hebrew word yafah (הפי), meaning “beautiful” – when I saw its winding alleyways interspersed with art galleries, stone buildings, mosques, churches and stunning views from the hill, I could understand why.
Make a Wish – What’s Your Star Sign?
Another lovely spot in the old city is the magical bridge connecting the Peak Park to Kdumim Square.
The legend says that, if you hold your star sign and watch the sea while making a wish, your dream comes true – I looked at the sea and seized the moment: it was intense because the place is so beautiful and the people around me also did it and seemed to take it seriously.
A Day Trip To Jerusalem
Being a Catholic I have heard a lot of stories about Jerusalem (and seen movies, watched paintings etc – so I had a very vivid imagination about it) and always had this trip in my bucket list. It took me a long time to actually go, because I felt it’s such a serious thing to do, and would it be safe, I wondered?
Apart from the fact that Jerusalem is really well kept and renovated in many parts (its beige stones, palm trees, views and wide spaces make it very pretty), well…I am very empathic and felt the emotions of people surrounding me. So yes, it was definitely worth the trip, and I have hardly experienced something similar in my life.
Holiness Is All Around
At the Western Wall I could really sense how the women around me (who are separated from men to pray, so I could observe them well while I watched the men from a distance) concentrated and felt the importance of the ritual. At the Holy Sepulchre I also experienced a deep sense of sacredness. This is the place where, according to tradition, Jesus was crucified, and then buried (the tomb is empty because he then resurrected, the tradition says). I don’t think you can go there and not feel how people really respect the holiness of the location. Whatever your faith is, or isn’t, you’ll experience something intense.
The mix of different religions makes Jerusalem an incredible melting pot and gives you a lot of food for thought. Personally, I wondered where all the differences are – as I said, I could “connect” to people and almost share their deep emotions. I left the sites wondering why we are all fighting so much.
Back to Trending Tel Aviv
I stayed at Hotel Rotschild 22, a modern building (Facebook offices are also located there) in the middle of Rotschild Boulevard. The beautiful street is lined by big trees and is perfect for strolling, people watching and cafes hopping. The hotel is clearly one of the places to be and I loved it, but be warned: the rooms are really tiny.
What I Found Different
I found Tel Aviv quite different from any European city or big capital I knew. Instead of the usual line of globalised shops like Zara, H&M or Mc Donald’s, I saw an array of diverse places that give Tel Aviv a wonderful flair of its own.
The music you hear here is different, the clothes are different, the food is different: that’s why the city can offer such a unique experience.
The Perfect Break
Be it for a weekend or for a longer holiday, I recommend Tel Aviv warmly. Relaxing, romantic, intense, but also simply good for a short break, this city is a little gem in the middle of different cultures and will make you think about our differences. Hopefully, about what we all have in common too.