As I have never been before to the Middle East and the reactions of people knowing that I´m going to Israel were mixed, I have to confess that I had some mixed feelings. But as always I became a victim of my curiosity and headed to Israel last month.
Israel is a wonderful country. I loved the country with its people and culture right after touching the Holly Land´s ground. We stayed in Tel Aviv which was founded in 1909 by Jewish settlers. Now it is the financial capital of Israel and best known for the high-tech concentration. Some people call it even „Silicon Wadi“.
Before I went to Tel Aviv I new little about Israel besides its political conflict which is often part of the news brought cast. Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa showed me that the conflict isn´t neither white nor black as people from all over the world muslims, christians and jews are living side by side in this amazing city.
You should definitely read something about Israel before you visit the country. The history of this place is huge and it can be difficult to understand the constant conflict without any background.
I assumed that the conflict will be present in the daily life of Tel Aviv but I felt really save through the whole trip. It is true that you will find more police and military on the streets but this did not bothered me during my trip. I would even say that it made me feel even safer.
Tel Aviv is the second most populous city in Israel. It´s a really young and hip city at the Mediterranean Sea with all pleasures and highlights of a metropol. Sushi 24/7, hip and stylish fashion stores, street art and so on and so on… But you will also find culture, history and traditional food as Hummus, Falafel and Shakshuka.
What most people don´t know about Tel Aviv is that it´s a really divers and openminded city with a big LGBT community. Tel Aviv is often referred to as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Moreover Tel Aviv is famous for its annual Pride Parade and Film Festival.
Our hotel was located in Old Jaffa or „Yafo“ as a taxi driver corrected our pronunciation. Yafo is the oldest part of Tel Aviv with its mediterranean harbor and located in the southend of Tel Aviv. It is best known for its oranges and the biblical stories of Jonah and the Whale.
There is a free walking tours through Old Jaffa which I can highly recommend. Our guide showed us a lot of the city with really interesting background information on the history and political situation of Israel. The tour started at the old clock tower and was operated by SANDEMANs NEW Europe.
Nowadays Jaffa is one of Tel Aviv´s vibrating hotspots with its flew market in the daytime and the various restaurants and bars in the night. The hipster audience is young and reminds me of Berlin in the summer. All kind of people and all kind of styles are part of the scene. I totally fell in love with the amazing vibe of this part of the city. You can wander trough the narrow streets or just relax in one of the amazing cafes. Grabe a pomegranate juice and explore the city!