south of the center of Tel Aviv is the old port city of Jaffa (aka the Yafo in Tel Aviv-Yafo). and when i say old, i mean old. according to wikipedia this area has been inhabited for nearly ten millennia. from the guidebook we have, i understood it to be a small ancient city that was recently turned into an artsy-fartsy neighborhood.
i’m not sure what i expected (i think something like Akko — mostly ruins), but i was wrong, and glad to be wrong. not that i have anything against ruins (you know i love me some), but after a week of them, i definitely needed what was here: an exceedingly vibrant, totally revitalized port and old town (the former sits below the latter) that previously had fallen into disuse. lots of places to eat and get your art on, a great view of the Mediterranean and the Tel Aviv skyline, and an old town that has been rehabbed but still retains its charm.
The view from the port with Tel Aviv in the distance and the old city on the right.
The narrow streets can be steep, but they’ve turned them into cool staircases!
Yes, there are still ruins, but not overwhelmingly so 😛
Here’s a kitty cat drinking out of a drain pipe. I don’t think I’ve seen a country with so many stray cats as I’ve seen in Israel. I get the impression they are being semi-tended to.
They love the zodiac in the old town, forming a leitmotif (*snort*, can’t believe I just used that word — WHO AM I?!) on all street signs and house numbers, and a fountain in the main square.
On the walls of the old town as viewed from the port.
One of the many shops in the converted port warehouses. Totally great place to get your noms.
There’s also a flea market that goes on down at the port.
You can still see fishermen at work — their boats pull in and out and you can see them attending to their daily tasks like mending nets. There is a store that sells freshly-caught fish and I wouldn’t be surprised if the restaurants in the area got their fish from these fishermen as well.
Someone’s front door in the old town
The view from the top
p.s. next to the store that had the dried fruit i took a picture of above is a place you can get malabi! (no, i did not know what it was until today, but there was a long line and it looked good!)
What is it? Malabi is a milk pudding. I have some sort of berry sauce, cookie crumbles, and halva on top. Mmm! (There are lots of options for toppings, but I definitely recommend the cookie crumbles for texture.)