Thanks to my long nap, it seemed a magically short flight, followed by a very fast taxi ride with a typically speedy Israeli driver. He wanted me to know that his city, Tel Aviv, could offer more of modern life than I could find in New York or Toronto. His voluble ‘pride of place’ was easy to accept, accompanied as it was by his kindness – to me and to the pedestrian he almost hit.
In no time, we were in front of the stone apartment building where my friend’s late parents had lived for many years, and her warm welcome gathered me in.
The apartment, white-walled and angular, made me think of Greece. It was flooded with light from windows in every direction, and there were 2 large roof-top patios off ‘my’ bedroom from which I would view some everyday life in the city. But not for long, that day.
Within a couple of hours, we were off for the first of many long walks in this country that vibrates underfoot. My friend had listened well when I spoke about wanting to ‘walk the land’ as much as we could.
To get to our starting point, it was first a bone-jangling ride on a city bus driven by another speeder. I learned quickly to hold on.
This first evening found us hiking miles along the beach from Tel Aviv, with it’s high-rising bustle, to the adjoining ancient city of Jaffa, in the light of a glorious Mediterranean sunset. Wonderful that the entire stretch of beach has been preserved as public property.
Night had fallen as we walked into Jaffa, where by-laws prohibit building high or disrespecting the old-style architecture. Close to the water, some crumbling ancient walls awaiting renewal were adorned with the striking works of gifted graffiti artists, showing the beauty and the brokenness side by side. (If this blog site allows, I’ll post a couple of photos.)
Hungry and tired from the salty wind, we walked up the cobbled streets to the trendy Jaffa night life, buzzing even on a Monday night. Wine, exquisite salad, and as promised, the best hummus in the world.