I am Ernesto, a former expat in Israel, and in my five years of staying there, I was always thankful about having been given such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was in a situation enviable to many, which is being able to live in the Holy Land.
And since I knew that only a few have the chance to work and live in Israel, I resolved to make my stay the most prolific and memorable possible.
Thru my Tel Aviv Israel Tours blog, I proudly share my experience of living in Tel Aviv.
I stayed at Yafo, specifically at 3 Ibn Shoshan; it was my home from October 2005 to November 2010. It was there where I had my ups and downs (mostly ups). I was lucky to have had great neighbors (both Jewish and Arabs), a few of which even happily joined us during parties and get-togethers. Israelis are a friendly lot, indeed.
My place was near Yerushalayim, which meant that I had access to autobuses of most available numbers. Buses numbered 25, 40, and 42 were important, since they were rides to HaCarmel Market at Allenby, Ibn Gverol, and Tachana Merkazit.
I developed a serious liking for shawarma and felafel. I couldn’t stop myself from devouring these delicious fares at food joints along Yefet. A few special occasions meant dinner at Dr. Shakshuka, where I enjoyed my fill of great-tasting kebab and – what else – Shakshuka. Also, most breads at Abulaefia were a delight to my taste buds.
Many times, I wandered at the alleys of Jaffa Hill, checking out the quaint galleries and boutiques, or just looking over the Mediterranean Sea, far beyond the Andromeda rock. Once, I spoke of an earnest dream at the Wishing Bridge atop the hill. I touched the Libra sign, looked at the sea as I thought of my wish intently. In no time at all, it came true.
I know a number of Hebrew words. Ken, lo, nachon, makara, bemeit. They’re but a sparse sprinkling actually; maybe fifty, thirty, or even less. Why? Everybody speaks English, that’s why. I was busy with work, which is why imbibing a new language was the farthest thing in my mind back then. Now, I rue not attempting to learn and speak one of the sweetest languages on Earth.
Weekends were a time for me (and friends) to wander outside Jaffa. I had a few visits and swim (read: float) at the Dead Sea. I was thrilled to no end when I finally walked the ruins of Masada since this meant taking in the same air that was breathed by the bravest bunch of Jewish fighters ever known.
Where else did I go? Mount Hermon, Temptation Mountain, Cana, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Galilee – it’s an endless list, really.
One of the most special places is Jerusalem, where I went for a number of reasons. During my first ever visit, all I wanted was to soak in its solemnity, believing that this city is the holiest spot in the world. I’d like to think that I was a pilgrim above all. Reasons for subsequent visits were to see friends based there, buy Judaica souvenirs for folks back home, and savor the uniquely tasty roast chicken at a food shop inside the Old city.
From time to time, I ask myself: Will I Visit Israel again? My answer to this is an affirmative one. Yes, I will do so in a heartbeat, if given the chance.
Thank you for checking out my blog; it’s a mix of anything and everything about Tel Aviv and Israel in general. If you have any queries, please write firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to give the best response based on my humble experience and knowledge of this most wonderful place.