I am technically still on holiday as I am writing this post, however now that we passed the halfway mark I feel it’s about time to share some photos of the amazing time we’ve had so far. Mind you I don’t use the term “amazing” quite often but I feel like this summer in particular will truly leave a mark as it’s been one of the best to date.
We kicked off our summer with two and half weeks in sunny Israel, where my husband is from. This wasn’t the first time for me in the country of course but it was the first time we spent our entire time in Tel Aviv since my parents in law recently moved there. I had the opportunity to visit the city before but I never got to spend such a long time there and I must say it was eye opening.Tel Aviv is such a vibrant place. It’s warm,fascinating, mysterious , relaxed and crazy paced all at the same time. Its hedonism the lively cultural and artistic scene as well as a strong food culture will appeal to even the most skeptical traveller and it’s almost impossible to resist its charm. It’s a city of contrasts, a melting pot of cultures, races and culinary treats , it’s a place where in spite of everything life is celebrated, and shouted out loud every single day, bravely.
It is also a photographer’s paradise because it’s so full of contrasts and there is so much quirkiness around that photos opportunities are at every corner. Israel is an extremely children friendly country with countless playgrounds with intricate structures that offer great opportunities to climb (I did it myself too and it was a lot of fun) .And there is the sea. Tel Aviv itself has an amazing seafront and beach that is probably one of the most lively areas in the city. I loved spending time there,the kids had tons of fun riding the waves and playing in the sand. The beach belongs to everybody,it is probably the most “democratic”place in Israel. When sun went down it was lovely to watch Arab families gather on the seafront for barbecues after a day of fast for Ramadan, kids playing against the sun and all along the seafront was still busy with bicycles, skateboards and rollerbladers.
If you ever find yourself visiting this gorgeous, sun kissed city here are a few recommendations:
Visit Jaffa: Jaffa is the Arab part of Tel Aviv and now becoming more and more hip among the locals.It is a really charming neighbourhood where you can really experience the mix of cultures that is the real soul of the city (in spite of what some people might think). The Jaffa flea market and surrounding area is a paradise for design and vintage lovers and also has a plethora of small coffee shops, ice cream parlors ,cool design shops and restaurants.
I recommend having a breakfast at the Market House hotel,or if you want to experience a true Israeli breakfast head to one of the many small restaurants in Jaffa port.
For ice cream I found this little place called Capitolina that had the most amazing pistachio ice cream.
For local treats go no further than Aboulafia bakery ,which is a sort of Israeli institution when it comes to baklavas or sambusak.
One of my favorite restaurant in Tel Aviv is Manta Ray where you can be treated with wonderful mezze platters and excellent seafood, and for Schwarma the place we kept going again and again was Hakosem, in Tel Aviv.If you fancy Shakshuka instead then you will love the legendary Dr Shackshuka. I loved in particular the Aubergine version of this very popular dish.
I realize all my tips are food related, I really wanted to compile a more stylish “design friendly” list but one, sorry people, food is always high on my list of priorities even if you might have heard me saying I am committed to lose weight and secondly the truth is exploring designers stores with kids on tow has proven to be too much of a challenge. Tel Aviv design scene is booming and the city really is a design (AND food!) lovers paradise. I especially love discovering new jewellery, shoes and bags, and speaking of bags I can recommend a visit to Mikanmor a small shop/design studio and workshop in Tel Aviv ‘s Neve Tzedek area where superb quality leather bags and accessories are handcrafted. Israel might not be a very common travel destination yet I keep hearing from so many people how much they would love to visit.So if you ever thought about going , just do it. It is a beautiful country with very warm people and a complicated and fascinating history and culture. Behind the rough surface it’s a little gem, definitely worth a visit.