It is official. I have FINALLY left Jerusalem. A few friends needed to get away for Shabbat, so we went to Tel Aviv. Overall it was fun.
If you have been following then you know what Shabbat is all about; there is food, family, and whatnot, and more importantly a day of rest. It is fun to just wind down with friends, but all of us being from America are used to different things on our days off. We like to go to malls, if only to just look at things to get away from our home. We were feeling really cooped up and we needed to breathe a little a bit. Jerusalem is different than Tel Aviv. There is a much higher population of secular Jews in Tel Aviv, so Shabbat is very different there. As some people here say, “When you are in Tel Aviv, you kind of aren’t in Israel.”
We got to Tel Aviv at about 2pm and we walked to our hostel. It was a very nice hostel. There was a very large living room, kitchen, and backyard area. It was about $25 for the night. The room that we slept in had about 9 sets of bunk beds, and they were all full that night. It was a good experience to run into people from different places that are all in Israel for different reasons. Some were stopping through for vacation and some had just stepped on the plane and were hoping to pursue a dance career at a company there. After we dropped of our belongings, and pocketed the items that we didn’t want to risk being stolen we headed out.
It was extremely windy the day we went to Tel Aviv. The beach was a very cool sight, but the waves were huge. We didn’t go swimming or anything, but we stood on the shore and felt the sea mist on our faces. We walked along the boardwalk and just soaked up a different pace of life in Israel. Despite the wind and chill we still had a good time. Anywhere can be an awesome place with the right people. We found kept walking and went to a gelataria. Yep, on such a cold day we still had gelato. The gelataria was attached to a larger shopping area and we could see all the things that were up for sale. None of us bought anything, because everything is much cheaper at the Shuk (when it comes to food) and the Old City (when it comes to everything else).
A friend and I went to a sushi place for dinner. We got a couple plates of sushi and just relaxed and soaked in the atmosphere. It was about 9pm, so everything back in Jerusalem was a closed and the city was still. This was not the case in Tel Aviv. People were all over the streets going out for their evenings. The statement was really true: “When you are in Tel Aviv, you kind of aren’t in Israel.” In a land where East meets West I felt like I was right back at home on a Friday evening. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Do I need that every weekend? No. We were talking that even when we are home we don’t always do something on the weekends, so we kind of observe a Shabbat of sorts, but everything is open on weekends in case we want to do something. Having a weekend where almost everything was open was a nice feeling.
We went back to the hostel and slept and slept in the next morning. We finished our time in Tel Aviv with a much-needed breakfast. Yes, I found some bacon in Jerusalem. Real bacon, none of this beef that tries to disguise itself as bacon. Yes, I love bacon, and yes, I was missing the option of having bacon. After we were sufficiently coffee-d up and fed we made our way back to the central bus station in Tel Aviv. We asked a couple of guys how to get there and then two blocks later they offered to take us, since it was about 2 kilometers away. It was a very interesting time trying to stuff 4 grown people into the back of a compact car, bags and all. We caught the cab back to Jerusalem, and even jammed out to some American top 40 with the driver. We got home and did a little bit of studying, because school was the next day.
The one-day excursion was just enough to stretch our limbs and feel back at home. Another thing that was nice was the release of the stress of living in Jerusalem. The city itself has a tense atmosphere, and sometimes you just need to get away from it all and breathe. We needed to take a nice breath. Overall, Tel Aviv was a success.