Viva La Tel-Aviv

Shalom from Israel! It is my third day in this vibrant, beautiful city and I could not be happier to finally be on my own schedule. I have been to Israel twice, but on programs that I had a strict schedule to follow. After 18 months, I am back and have two weeks of free time to do anything I please, before I begin an advocacy program for another two weeks.

If you did your math correctly, I am here for exactly four weeks!! How will I keep my self entertained in such a tiny country? So far every day I have been here I have discovered a new street, and something I love about Israeli culture. After the surprisingly easy ten hour flight from New York, I was ready for bed! My friend and I had one day together and decided Hayarkon 48, two minutes away from the beach, was our meeting point. After a nice four hour nap, it was time to explore. Not having a set place in mind, we walked aimlessly to find some where for dinner. We didn’t want falafel, so that ruled out many options. We decided to meet his friend at the Dizengoff Center, a massive mall and shopping area. After my friend asked people in Hebrew how to get there, we quickly realized we couldn’t understand their responses because they spoke so fast. Hence, why I don’t speak Hebrew 😉 After wandering around, we found our way and found his friend. We walked around every level of the mall before deciding to go to another side of town. I’m happy we did-there was a whole street of hip restaurants, and many different options! I decided to go with Mikomi, a Japanese fusion “fast food” similar to Rolls ‘n Bowls in Gainsville.  It soon got cold, much colder than I expected Tel-Aviv to be, and decided to head back. We got onto the bus and got back, just in time to go to sleep yet again-the seven hour time difference really gets to you! Yesterday, I met up with another friend and he took me to Herzliya, one of the nicest cities in Israel. We went for lunch at Sebastian and I decided I would go for the chicken schnitzel upon his recommendation. It came with a side salad that was so crisp and flavorful, it was just as good as the schnitzel. One of my favorite parts of Israel is the way they grow all of their own food and everything is so natural. Two points for the cherry tomatoes, which by the way, did you know were invented in Israel? After lunch he drove me around to the biggest houses in the country, and even where some of the “Real Housewives of Israel” live; of course I was loving it. We trekked over to the mall which was comparable to the Town Center Mall with very upscale stores. Outside of the mall is the marina where residents keep their sailboats and yachts. Oh the life of luxury! Later in the evening I met up with a friend who is doing a five month program, that I am interested in doing in the fall. He is located right in the center of Tel-Aviv and everything is easy to get to. We went for sushi, and apparently these “sushi sandwiches” are all the rage. After my cousin had me try one in New York, I thought it was so cute, why has no one else started to do this. Alas, the Israelis have. Hopefully these make their way everywhere! Today we have no big plans, but hope to go out clubbing tonight. Tel-Aviv is one of the top ten best nightlife cities, and I’m excited to experience it without having to wakeup for a hike at 5 am the next day!

Herzliya Marina

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