|Tel Aviv definitely has a good vibe to it. It seems as everybody knows each other (even if it's the biggest city all over Israel), you can walk all (or say mostly all) of it, people are very open minded and intelligent. You can meet friends with writing an SMS just a couple of hours ahead (unlike Switzerland where you have to fix an "appointment" about 2-3 weeks beforehead!!!) and not to forget the long, clean whitesanded beach all along town. I felt comfortable, at home and could probably even imagine living there for a while (once I speak Hebrew ;)).
I met up with friends I met in India, Bolivia or Guatemala and felt very welcomed. It was a quiet and realxed stay and I enjoyed seeing the sun for five days in a row in the middle fo winter. People there told me that they have never been as cold as that, but I was totally satified with the 5 degrees at night and 15 at daytime. As long as the sun is shining onto my pale face, Karin is happy!
First day I obviously had to spend along the beach. Even though warmly dressed because it was pretty chilly windy. Next day Yonatan (Guatemala) showed me around University of Tel Aviv (with me being in master pain because of wearing tiny summer shoes). On Friday Ofir (Bolivia) took me to Ave. Rothschild the fancy part of town, Neve Zedek the oldest part of town, where we had a quick stop over at his uncles' house and the pedestrian strip with the Friday artisanal market. Later on, Yonatan (India), who pretty much let me take over his appartement for my stay in Israel (thanks so much for that again), brought me to Old Yafo (Jaffa) by scooter, where we walked the very pretty, deserterd, limestoned historic town. Saturday (in Israel that's like our Sunday) we (Yonatan and Mor (India)) spent a couple of hours at the beach. Sooooo great to sit on a beach in "winter"! They had lunch at a sandwich booth (Subway style buth fresh :)), and then we went to Mor's appartement to have Tea. Tea time everyone!!!
Sunday was excursion day to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (see the next entry).
In the evening meeting up for a goodbye drink and Monday was sleeping in and the trip back home already again.
I totally underestimated the recommended check in time. I got to the airport 1.5 hours before my flight (they suggested 3 hours) which in Europe would be plenty early enough. But not in Israel!!!
When I was standing in the queue for the check in and the supervisor "passport checker" found out that I'm there to catch the Swiss flight to Zurich, he informed me that I'm very, very, very much too late and that he will try his best but that I'll most likely gonna miss my flight. I acted like the poor cheated one, who lost loads of time at the bus and train station (which I actually did, but not as much as I acted I would have). And luckily, as I look so young and innocent (after they have asked me 5 times why I was in Dubai (Arabic country, and if I know anybody there) they pulled me to the front of every line, especially the one where they check ALL your luggage, I'm serious ALL, ALL, ALL your luggage for explosives. After they did the "body check" in a private room I was able to walk thru all the security checks together with my security escort in no time. I was at the gate even before the boarding has started.
There I met this Swiss guy who regularly travels to Israel, who asked me if I was stupid enough to get an Israely stamp into my passport at the entry to the country. Blue eyed enough, I was! Now I cant't travel to certain islamic countries like U.A.E or Malaysia anymore with my passport which is still valid for another 5 years. What a bummer, stupid little girl! I could have asked for the stamp on a separate paper when I arrived. But even perfectly organised Karin didn't think about that. Nevertheless, Israel was great!