About the owner of Hilska B&B

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Helsinki, Finland
Non-typical Finn, owning a non-typical B&B. Prices are very flexible and availabilities even more so..

3 Jan 2011

End of the year under the Israeli Sun

שלום
That's "hi" in hebrew.. Shalom.. As you all know, I spent the New Year's in Tel Aviv visiting Ofir, whom I had met while I was in Paris. The thought of escaping the Finnish freezing coldness for a few days was indeed intriquing and when my boss told me our Helsinki office would be closed as well for the holidays, I jumped to the occasion. Throughout my stay, it was pretty warm. During the day we saw temperatures of around +20 and I think during the night time the temperatures plunged to something still above +10. I was therefore able to wear shorts and t-shirts during the day and only like jeans and a longer shirt during the evenings. Perfect.

We didn't have much time to go outside of Tel Aviv, even if we had planned to visit such places like Jerusalem or Cesaria or others. Those will have to wait till the next visit. Luckily there was plenty to see in Tel Aviv so those 5 days I spent there went by really fast, sadly. I can still feel the amounts of walking on my feet, I have huge blisters and the shoes I had with me are going to the trash can as soon as I have the energy to throw them in there. The washing machine is also going to run almost day and night for me to be able to wash all of my dirty laundry from these past few weeks of almost non-stop traveling.

Hmmm, I think the pics will tell more than my words about the nice things I saw there. Tel Aviv really reminded me of Juan les Pins: about the same climate, same type of buildings, palm trees everywhere.. The only major difference is the language, as I can't really say I was ably to understand what was going around me. I can read the aleph beyts as they are called in hebrew, but I don't know any words. Luckily I had a guide with me all the time.

One thing what made this trip unforgettable was the airport security. Not on my way in, but on my way out. I thought I was too early at the airport when I was there around 10pm Sunday evening and my flight left at 1am on Monday morning. So I had 3 hours prior to my flight. It took 2hours to get pass all that security. First they inspected my passport and asked many questions about the reason of my stay etc. Then my check-in luggage went through a big machine. Then they told me that it needed to be hand-checked, so they thought I was a terrorist. Waiting in queue for this took about 30mins, and I was getting increasingly nervous when I saw them tooking people to the backrooms for some deeper inspection or something. Luckily when it came down to my turn, they just asked a few questions and I was pleasentfully chatting with the lady. They did inspect my whole suitcase, but found nothing and eventually I got forward. To the next bottleneck which was hand luggage security check. And again, due to my earlier note as being a potential terrorist, I got stuck with the thoroughful check-up. And to make matters worse, their big expensive machine broke down while I was on queue so we had to wait for that one to be fixed as well. And then after some 30 mins again, there was the passport check. This was quite rapid however, so I was glad. But at this time I had almost no time but to run to my gate and wait for the boarding, no time for easy chilling at a café or peaceful strolling around the shops. This all was way new to someone used to traveling only within the EU..

Other than that, I don't think there's many big stories to tell. As I said, the pics showcase my trip in a nutshell and in case you want to know more, please ask. I can now highly recommend Tel Aviv for others to visit, it's a nice city. And even the hostel we were staying in was nice, though a bit dirty and related to that, expensive.. it was however located in a very good location in the central area of the city, close to everything so..

My first breakfast in Tel Aviv

Beautiful flower

Water Lily at the Rabin Square in Tel Aviv

Pool by the sea

Late Christmas Party with Nina and Ofir

Playing Ofir's new favorite game: Guillotine

Nice building in Tel Aviv

The beach, or one of the many in fact..

By a fountain close to the university of Tel Aviv

We found the Finnish embassy

View from "our" balcony during the night

View from "our" balcony during the day

Carmet Market

More nice buildings

Tel Aviv had some stunningly beautiful houses

By the beach on a sunny, but slightly windy day

People were paddling in the sea

View of the skyline of Tel Aviv

The Old Clocktower in Jaffa

Flea market, Jaffa style.. meaning basically ANYTHING could be found on sale

The biggest church in Jaffa, and also their landmark viewed from Tel Aviv

view of Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is the city of cats, stranded and wild cats were EVERYWHERE

and dogs were moving around freely at cafés..

One of the last days

These cats were almost as good at begging as Mikki.. and that's saying a lot!

The biggest (and only?) synagogue of Tel Aviv

More of these nice buildings

More of the same..

Saturday we got a huge rainstorm all of a sudden upon us..

The streets, or at least some of them, were flooding with water.. like this one, looking more like a river than a road.

The last day! :(

The synagogue of Tel Aviv University

The date garden in Tel Aviv University

There was only a thin glass surface between us and a fall of about 20 meters...

Yes, the sign for pharmacy in Israel is not cross.. it's the star of David!

Azrieli Towers, stunningly beautiful at night time.

Arriving to the airport

Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv is massive

The first of many security queues..

Map of the terminal 3

Fountain where the water falls from the roof.