I am frequently asked what there is to do on Saturday in Tel Aviv. The majority of you of course will want to chill out (or heat up) on the alluring beach, but please remember crispy skin is only attractive on oven roasted duck.
There will be a small minority that cannot suffer the beach or weekend crowds and aim for something a little more cultural and If this is the case, I would highly recommend a walk along the open promenade all the way to Old Jaffa. (Local pronunciation ‘ Japho’) This ancient port city is the oldest in Tel Aviv.
On a Saturday, most of the quaint artisan shops and museums are closed ( you get to hold on to your money for one day longer), so there are few distractions as you meander through the cobbled narrow streets, with buildings connected above your head by arched domes. There is a smell of ancient past, that kind of musky scent that attacks the nostrils and clings to your clothes. Outside the narrow walkways where the space is vast and these old grand structures seem ginormous, the odor is mingled with the pretty smells of flora, fresh new leaves and petals swaying against the long established old.
The buildings are as impressive as they once were. Heavy stones used in each construction, layer upon layer achieving solid thick walls that would inevitably last longer than human lifetimes. You can almost imagine workers dragging makeshift carts and barrows along uneven floors, feel the weight, sweat and blood that created this amazing city whilst recalling the biblical stories of Solomon.
On each of the street walls you will see a turquoise ceramic plaque depicting a star sign (Taurus, Sagittarius etc) which makes it easier to follow the trail with the walled street maps. The street numbers are of the same material which is a tasteful and thoughtful example of how Jaffa has been respected and cherished.
After your fill of ancient past you can pop down to the Tourist center square to grab an ice cream, freshly squeezed pomegranate or orange juice, drink a frothy coffee or, as I usually do, eat a leisurely lunch (Kalamata restaurant -see future post ) whilst people watching. Should you be desperate to spend a few shekels, beyond the square down a few steps there is a little market selling items you don’t need but may want to have as souvenirs. By the way, do take a few minutes at the stall where the owner produces hand blown glass animals in front of your eyes. Lastly, do not forget to stand at the elevated point where you can see a breathtaking panoramic view of Sweet Tel Aviv, the ocean, the beach, the buildings. A must for super photos and super sweet memories!
♥ Old Jaffa