Friday, July 22, 2011

Country 69 - Israel

I went to breakfast relatively early, because I wanted to get out and about exploring Tel Aviv before the heat of the day set in. Apart from the usual fruit, cereal and breads there was a local breakfast staple - the name of which I can't find in my guide book right now, but I do remember reading about it. A sort of mince and vegetable fried dish with an egg cracked into it and hard poached. Very nice. I also picked up what looked like a carton of yoghurt. Not a word of English on the packaging. It turned out to be custard.

I walked south along Ben Yehuda Street, stopped to change some money and to buy an Israeli sim card (no drama or proof of identity requirements like in some countries), then turned onto Allenby Street. The roads are pretty quiet, and anyone who is out and about is taking it slowly. Pavement cafes are plentiful. After a while, I reached the junction where you have Sheinken Street (fashionable boutique shopping) to the left and Carmel Market to the right. I love Middle Eastern markets where you get a waft of spices, fresh herbs, or fresh meats as you wander past. Lots of t-shirts and trinkets on sale too. How refreshing not to be pestered by the stall holders !

I continued my loop so I could get onto Dizengoff Street. There's a big shopping mall there, which is handy for air-conditioning. Security guards are stationed at the entrance to every shop, checking bags and waving metal detector wands over people who want to go inside. I was asked "have you got any weapons ?" and said I didn't. That satisfied the guard at the Dizengoff Centre.

A while further on I cut across to the coast and walked back towards my hotel along the waterfront. It has been necessary to stop for gelato twice already since I arrived in Israel. Halva and pistachio is one of my favourite flavours. 1pm and it's time to surrender to the heat and humidity. I've come back to the hotel for an afternoon rest.

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