My first trip to Israel was in 1966. That trip remains fixed in my memory, with parts of it as vivid as if it was yesterday, not 52 years ago. There is so much here that seems to have not changed, which is of course shocking after all, so much time has passed. But like any other wonderful city, the old is balanced by the new, the new doesn’t completely replace what was. Many of the places I visited on the first trip, I have gone back to time after time, but there are still places I haven’t revisited since then. This morning took me back in time as I had the opportunity to walk on streets I haven’t seen in decades.
Our good friends, Rony and Edna took us on a trip (for me) back in time. Tel Aviv over the last 50 years has become a booming metropolis, and when looking at the huge hotes on the street and the glass and metal office buildings, it’s easy to forget the streets with spices, fabrics, fresh pastries and more that were a central focus of the vibrancy of the city long ago.
I’m well aware that the fabrics gently stirred by an almost non-existent breeze were not part of my long ago memories, although they did speak to the history and future, and make some political statements as well. This was part of an art installation which could be seen on the old streets. It brought us into the Levinsky market area in south Tel Aviv, and our walk through the streets of this area, followed by a quick ride to the Shapira area was terrific.
My only regret was that before we left the hotel, we’d eaten a large breakfast and couldn’t sample any of these delicious pastries or some of the other gems we looked at. Of course these weren’t the only shops. We commented not only on the decorations remaining from Sukkot which was over several weeks ago, but dreidels on the shelves for Hanukka which isn’t for another 6 weeks.
The morning was a great lead in to the rest of the day (BTW, the total excursion of the day resulted in a total step count that was over 23,000 steps!!! From the market, we went back to the beach and wandered down to the seaport in Jaffa. I know that the large number of tourists has to be a delight for the economy, but is sure did make walking the narrow streets a little hazardous. Unlike in years past, walkers on the tayellet now share the area with runners, bicycles, scooters, skate boards and more!Of course this is typical of many cities today. The beach was crowded with beach volleyball and other games.
The weather is exquisite – mid 80’s, a little overcast, and although humid, perfect for being at the beach.
The crowning touch of the day was meeting one of my sisters’ friends from high school and her now grown-up son. He’s 21 now and the last time I saw him and his mom, he was 2 years old, and we met at the zoo in Jerusalem on a Shabbat. This time we went to a wonderful vegetarian restaurant and sampled some wonderful food with incredible ingredients.