Sunday, August 18, 2013

Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv...

Ha Carmel Market, Tel Aviv
After a hardy breakfast in a nearby restaurant, we decided to find and explore the Ha Camel Market (Shuk, Ha Camel). After asking a question or two, we jumped the #18 bus and were on our way. As was the case at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, the Hal Camel Market is an open and enclosed series of narrow streets and alleys winding through a part of downtown Tel Aviv. Except for Shabbat, the market is open every day. It is a never-ending parade of foods, clothing, gadgets and arts. While we were there on a Sunday, I'm told that Tuesday and Fridays are the days that artisans and other vendors sell unique items. We wandered through the streets for a couple of hours looking for "goodies" to take home.

As we circled back through the market to our starting point, we took a break in a square with chairs and tables for the shoppers (no shade, though!). I looked at the map and recalled an email from my friend Steve Manning who suggested Old Jaffa as an interesting destination. Old Jaffa is the oldest part of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality and is an "ancient sea port". I learned there is archaeological evidence to show that Old Jaffa was inhabited 7,500 B.C.E.  An ancient city indeed!

Custom Chair in Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv.
As we entered the area, we noticed a Tourist Information Office -- the first we've seen in Tel Aviv -- and asked about this part of the city. We were told about the "flea market" to one side of the city and the "old city" itself. The flea market is about 10 square blocks of vendors selling everything one can think of. There were old watches, tools and crafts of all kinds. But it was a "real flea market" -- with most goods brought from home to sell to the passerby.

Along the nooks and crannies of the many streets, vendors occupied more permanent store fronts. I noticed a "machine shop" shaping metal into useful tools. One shop, a woodworker was of interest to me, and the owner spent 20 minutes or so talking about his craft. His chair, which sells for $1000, was particularly unique. Our mutual interest in wood working made for an enjoyable discussion. We found a cool little cafe called "Gibberish" and enjoyed a cool drink in the shade.

We finished up Old Jaffa by exploring the Old City for awhile. The shops are newer, the merchandise is newer and more expensive -- but it's an enjoyable place to wander and see a different part of this beautiful city called Tel Aviv. We made our way back to our lodgings by City Bus and will spend another hour or two enjoying the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. As stated in an earlier post, Tel Aviv is a warm and humid place, so enjoying a swim is just what the "doctor ordered"!

And I always follow "doctor's orders".....