29 December 2011

Tel Aviv: The Flea Market

Shalom, Israel! Ah, yes...we now arrive to my most favorite country/trip! As much as I absolutely fell in love with Ireland and Paris (and later, New Zealand!), Israel holds a special place in my heart - it's so unlike any other place you are likely to experience! There is an excitement in the air in this place where the major religions of the world find their most holy sites. The cities vary from the hip, party scene in Tel Aviv, to the ultra-religious and conflicted Jerusalem. Whereas most places are fascinating because of what has happened there in the past, Israel was fascinating not only because of the past, but also because of what will take place there in the future.  Finding myself in Israel was so exciting and thrilling - I had no idea what to expect...and a lot of times, it's better that way!

Before leaving for Israel, I had so many different reactions from people that I told about my trip. Many were excited - especially fellow Christians who have been before or at least know the significance of Israel. But most were surprised and were curious if it was safe or if I was worried I would be put in harm's way. First of all, I really felt led to go...I was meant to go! And as much as I'm very aware of safety, I also feel like if it's my time to go, it doesn't matter if I'm in the heart of Jerusalem or driving to work in California. As my stepdad has said - "I'm invincible until it's my time to go!" Second of all, I felt completely safe the entire time in Israel (although it completely depends on the current situation when you go and things can change in an instant), but I never felt worried in Israel. If anything, I was a bit nervous in Cairo.

But, alas - Tel Aviv! Our first taste of Israel, and if you're new to my blog, meet my fellow (immediate) travelers: (I say immediate because we traveled with a massive church group of around 400!)

That's me, Jade, on the left and travel partner-in-crime Christy

This is my stepdad, Ricky


Our first day in Tel Aviv was a bit wasted as we were..ahem, wasted, from jetlag. (Christy and I have gotten a little better at this, though!) So, we spent our afternoon sleeping away while the Mediterranean Sea kept beckoning us to its shores.  And after waking up around 1am (and staying up for the remainder of the morning), we decided to head to Tel Aviv's flea market a few blocks away (at a decent hour of course!).


Mediterranean Sea, seen from our hotel


Some of the yummiest pomegranates in the world!

One thing you should know about Tel Aviv (and Israel in general), they have some of the biggest fruits and vegetables (compared to California anyway) and some of the best food I've tasted. Just because it's kosher, doesn't mean it's not good. This food will make you forget that you're not eating pork or mixing meat and dairy. The chicken was always fresh and delicious, the potatoes seasoned to perfection...and always a supply of fresh, warm pita!

Christy and some REALLY big fish!



We had a lot of fun wandering the market stalls and down various residential streets. This was a completely different culture that I had never experienced before. I've always been fascinated by Israel and all things Jewish, so this was exciting for me. And it's really easy and safe to walk along the streets of Tel Aviv - especially by the beach. There's a laid-back atmosphere, the streets aren't too crowded and I found the people very nice. And in February - the weather was pretty much perfect...comparable to Southern California.







Now, here is part 2 of the Israel 2010 video. (You can find the first part, starting in Egypt, here. )



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