Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - the last instalment

On our return from the Negev Desert, we found ourselves with nothing much to do. To a certain extent, we needed a quiet day. In our last few days in Israel, we were more inclined to take it easy. We remembered Reuven, the taxi driver who had taken us around Jerusalem on our first day, and decided to contact him and ask him if he would take us to Tel Aviv, to see the daughter of local friends, here, and her family. Mobile phones were not too effective, with the exception of texts, but our hotel receptionist eventually managed to get through, both to our friend, to invite ourselves there, and to Reuven.

One of the places that Reuven took us to on our earlier trip around Jerusalem was the Protest Tent outside the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem. This was to remind people of the imprisonment of Gilad Shalit. You can read about it here: Since then, Gilad Shalit has been released from captivity.

There were three days left. We arranged with Reuven that he would take us to Tel Aviv on the following day and also that he would deliver us to the airport on Thursday, 24th June.

In the meantime, we strolled around Jerusalem, took a photo of the Irish pub, and had a meal in a kebab place, opposite, where the waiter was very keen to talk to us in English to practice his use of the language. We had been eating a lot of vegetarian or dairy meals and it made a change to have some meat.

On Tuesday, 21st, off we went to Tel Aviv. Looking back at my photos, I am disappointed to find that there are too many where we have intruded into the main picture. Reuven was very keen to take photos of us, unfortunately.

We drove alongside the promenade at Tel Aviv, seeing the rows and rows of people on the beach with their umbrellas or shades. We also went along the high streets, filled with expensive shops. The most interesting visit, though, was to the artists' quarter at Jaffa, which was fascinating. Here are a couple of websites, where you can find out about what we saw, in the absence of our own photos: or try

Reuven was insistent that we go into the Frank Meisler galleries, filled with unusual, or idiosyncratic sculptures, made from materials such as bronze, pewter, silver and gold plating, some of them very amusing. You can carry out a virtual tour here - - and be sure to read the separate pages about the Kindertransport and Frank Meisler's three major sculptures, commemorating this - the one at Liverpool Station, London, depicting the arrival to the safe haven of England.

I have one photo, which I think is also at the artists' quarter of Jaffa, and shows a bridge, which we later crossed. Reuven told us to make a wish - I wished that Tainted Tree would become a best-seller, but it hasn't worked yet.

We lunched at a café overlooking the sea, before going on to visit our friends, where Reuven left us. Later, he called for us to return us home.

Reuven wouldn't take our money then, having negotiated a fee for that day and the trip to the Airport. He told us he would also throw in a trip to the Israel Museum - - on the following day. Alas, this was not totally successful, as we found it difficult to navigate around the place and got lost, finding our way eventually to the modern art section. This made the OH very grumpy and unreceptive to the rest of the exhibition. I think if we had started out at the Jewish Art and Life section, which showed reconstructions of synagogues from India, Germany and Italy, and artefacts, such as menorahs, mezuzahs and candlesticks that would be found in a Jewish home, he would have enjoyed it much more.

Much of our time in the last couple of days was spent in Ben Yehuda Street, watching the world go by.

There were no problems with our journey home, and looking back now from the chill of an English winter, it seems far away. Soon though I'll be back to blogging about what's going on here.