Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tel Aviv.....

Our "driver" Haytham and self.
We were up early again this morning and had a final breakfast at the Christ-Church House next to our hostel. We gave our hosts a container of cookies and sweets we bought at a bakery the night before and thanked them for their hospitality. Among other things, they were helpful when we were in the process of retrieving Linda's luggage.

We walked to the Tower of David at 9:50 a.m. and a few minutes later our driver arrived in his white Mercedes "taxi". Since it is Shabbat today, the roads were virtually empty, so we made the drive to Tel Aviv in about 40 minutes.  Haytham, our driver, and I chatted along the way. I discovered he has 3 children -- an 11-year old and 9-year old boys and a 5-year-old girl.

Our lodgings, the Beachfront Hotel, is next to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv it was easy to find (as I understand it, the U.S. Embassy is in Tel Aviv because it would be "political sensitive" for the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city).

The Beachfront Hotel, Tel Aviv.
As we arrived at the Beachfront Hotel, we were greeted with a wonderful view of the beach directly across the street. The white sands of the beach and blue waters of the Mediterranean were gleaming brightly in the hot sun. As a contrast to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is considerably more humid and feels quite a bit warmer.

It was 3 hours before we could check in, so the three of us picked up a map and started walking into the city. We found a variety of delightful shops and neighborhoods along the way. Since it is still Shabbat, most of the shops were closed. They'll open at about 8 p.m. -- at sunset for Shabbat ends.

Tel Aviv Beach in front of our Hotel.
We noticed on the map what appeared to be a shopping center about 15 blocks away from the beach. So, determined to find it, we set out in search of "Dizengoff Center".  We'll return there later this evening when Shabbat is at an end.

So, for now, we've settled into our room with the thought of -- maybe -- walking across to the beach and going for a swim.

It's a tough life -- but somebody's got to do it!!

4:30 p.m. -- We donned our bathing suits and walked across the street to the beach. Wow!! First, the sand is so fine it feels like silk. It's an amazing feeling to remove your shoes and walk in this wonderful sand. We found a spot close to the water and spread out towels onto the sand. It's interesting that we saw a sign that said "no swimming" -- yet the water was full of people enjoying the warm and sunny afternoon.

Linda and I walked into the water. It is WARM and soothing! The waters of the Mediterranean feel almost "therapeutic". As we walked into the water, we found it continued to be "shallow", even 20 yards from the water line.  Every now and then a wave would come by and the water level would reach our chins. Add the fact that the bottom-sand is smooth and easy to walk  and stand on. There were no stones, rocks or even sea-weed to impede us. It was a wonderful experience.

Tel Aviv Sunset from our hotel roof garden.
We stayed just before sunset and decided it was time to call it a day. We'll get some dinner and take a stroll along the Mediterranean for a little while. Tomorrow?? Who knows! But I'm sure we'll find just the right combination of activities to fill our day with adventure.

So, as always, stay tuned.......