Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Brides and Beaches
Leaving cool gray Paris for a wedding in sunny Tel Aviv was not hard. We settled into the hotel across from the beach and went out to discover what has been called the Barcelona of the Middle East.
The bride, my cousin Maya, knows everything and everyone in town. She steered us to Tapas 1 on Ahad Ha'am Street for our first evening, where we perched at the bar and fell in love with the bartender. Eric brought us complimentary drinks and desserts, recommended the most interesting items on the menu and generally made us feel happy to have come.
We were even happier the next day when we hit the beach for an hour or so and then got ready for Maya and Omer's incredible wedding. It was held in a nightclub and we partied until early morning. Who says weddings have to be serious?
And the next day we took a walking tour of Tel Aviv's architectural history, from Ottoman style buildings in the early decades of the 20th century to the important Bauhaus neighborhood built by German and Austrian architects fleeing the Nazis.
Much of Tel Aviv has been allowed to run down while newer and ever bigger buildings went up, but a recent law requiring restoration has begun to show effects.
One of the earliest areas, Neve Tsedek, has become the hippest area to live, full of little shops, cafés and restaurants. This house apparently belongs to someone with a whimsical sense of humor.
I noticed a lot of stenciling on the building walls, much prettier and more interesting than graffiti.
After another day or two at the beach we went to Jaffa for a drink and found ourselves in yet another version of the Mediterranean. The pretty little bar called Kalamata might have been lifted off a Greek island and set on the top of this Israeli hill.
With the sunset we walked back to yet another great meal at Cantina, a place so good we ate there twice. That Maya knows her food.