Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts

Monday, August 24, 2015

End of Summer Beach Goers: Fading Slowly Into The City

Everyone is taking part in a Tel Aviv tradition of going to the beach on Saturday, end of summer ritual, August 2015

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Quiet 61st Independence Day

If you were anywhere near the beach in Tel Aviv, yesterday's independence day may have seen strange. Compared to last year the beaches were practically deserted. There were some people taking in the early summer sun, but certainly not a busy day by any measure. Apparently everyone was out BBQ-ings... that's the latest Israeli past time during holidays. Well, here are a few photos from the beach:

Taking in the rays... the beaches are still a great place to relax, cool, and work on that famous Israeli summer sun.

A view from the end of Ben Gurion street down to the Tel Aviv marina. From the look of it very few sailors were out on the water.

Vanilla ice cream at one of the beach restaurants. If you were after a burger or a cold drink there were plenty of open tables. Early summer vacationers are starting to show up. You can certainly start to hear the English, French and other languages among the beach goers. Read More...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Does Wall Street care about Abu Mazen?

or Does The Marker Care About Terrorism?

I have been reading The Marker, Ha'Aretz's business paper for a month now. It comes to my door, and it is starting to drum into me the business vs. political schizophrenia in Israel. This is something that in the US and Europe is taken for granted. There is a strict separation of economic to political worlds. But in Israel, until a few years ago, this was not the case. Every time anything happened it was blamed on the "security situation" ~ a key term meaning: "the terrorist attack last night is scaring off investors... tourists... foreign companies..." Well, it seems that this is not the case any more. Maybe it's the fact that foreigners have been coming here for a long time and have shown Israeli business that some things are beyond their control so they need to do something else. At one time Israeli businesses compared terrorism in Israel to the drug trafficking in the US and South America. But they noticed that large US corporations never really talked about how drugs affect them. It may cause a robbery at some 7-11 stores or lower the Real Estate value in some neighbourhoods. But that is no reason to mix business and politics. It may be that Israelis have noticed that if you don't talk about "security issues" you start thinking more about what you can really do with what you have.
The Marker, Israel's #1 business paper, no mention of "security"
In some respects this shows the maturity of Israel business. But in other respect this is also a shift of Israeli business to more global standards. It seems to me that up to the early 1990's most of the influence in Israeli business came from the US. This was before the Russian immigration which brought a million people to Israel and the smaller and steady immigration of Jews from UK, Australia, Canada and France the last decade. These changes in the population and the acceptance of Israel in Europe has changed the business in Israel dramatically. Today, the influence from US companies and government is still strong, but business here is much more independent and connected to Europe and Asia. There are probably more Russian speaking professionals in position of power and influence than native English speakers ten years ago. Slowly this shift is starting to show up in the media. It is also showing up in the way Israeli companies think about doing business outside of the country. One excellent example is the building and architecture sector. For a long time, most of the building and design by Israeli firms was done exclusively in Israel and Africa. But the last few years, Israeli builders and architects are looking more to eastern Europe and central Asia. This is mostly because of the available architects and builders with culture and language skills relevant to these markets. There are even a few large companies owned or run by Russian immigrants who started out at the bottom and made it to upper management. For the most part this is good news for Israelis, dependence on a single country like the US has it's risks and this is something that Israel has gone through before. For the US it means less influence on Israeli business and indirectly on politics. This is a change, and it seems like Israelis and others are going along without too much difficulty. It is also good news to US companies with strong international influence. In Tel Aviv today you can find more culturally Russian workers than anywhere except Moscow. Which means, that American business can come to Tel Aviv and run or support business operations in Eastern Europe. Which is probably as good as running an operation in Prague, Warsaw, Bucharest, or Budapest. At least that is the opinion of most Israelis. Anyway, there are lots of interesting observations in how Israel is changing it's business stance. So keep your eyes open at companies which are building their markets in other places, specially to the north and the east of here. Read More...

Friday, October 5, 2007

A First Time Visitor's Impressions of Tel Aviv

Wallamberg Street tech area in north Tel Aviv
Editor's note: I am always amazed and excited about what some people say the first time in Tel Aviv. Specially with people who seem to be well travelled and informed. It goes back to my first observation about the huge amount of negative press about Israel, mostly related to nationalism, security and terrorism. So enough of that and let's get to the impression from Hank... (thanks!)


Shalom from Hudson, Massachusetts.

I've been enjoying your Tel Aviv blog since finding your comment on my blog. I wrote about an upcoming trip to Tel Aviv.

Well, except for the 12 hour plan ride from Newark, NJ, the trip was great. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the beach. Its a very scenic beach surrounded by activity - volley ball, coffee shops, pubs, etc. Unfortunately I was on a business trip and we didn't a lot of spare time. I was able to take a swim and the water was perfect. There was only had one day for sight seeing which was spent in Jerusalem.

Azrielli Towers, triangle on the left

Our work week began on Sunday morning, which was a small adjustment. The company I work for has its offices on three of the floors of one of the Azrieli Towers- the triangular one. Great views! We could see all of Tel Aviv, the sea, and the military complex below it. We spend a couple of our lunches in the mall below it. On two of the days we traveled to Migdal Haemek to visit a contract manufacturer. This gave us a chance to see some of the area North of Tel Aviv.

We spent the nights walking along the Ocean Walk finding a restaurant for dinner, then walking back. (The best were the Boya and the Mantaray.)

Observations and surprises:

--> The similarities in the engineering staff in Tel Aviv to that in the US office. Same dress code, same mannerisms, same gripes, etc.
--> The number of US companies that have operations in Israel.
--> How well all of the people we came in contact with spoke English (all except the cab drivers.)
--> The modern architecture in the commercial buildings in Tel Aviv.
-->The soldiers walking around the mall carrying weapons.
--> There's some pretty good Israeli music.
--> The high income and automobile tax rate.
--> The smallness of Israel.
--> The large relative size of the West Bank
--> The number of Muslim Arabs in Israel - about 18% of the population.
--> Excellent food.
--> All of our Israeli coworkers were good natured and love to good debate. (The meetings were very spirited.)
--> Some of the traffic would give Route 128 in the Boston area a run for the money.
--> Political discussions: none.

Because we made the trip, we are now in daily contact with the people in the Tel Aviv office. We also feel like we know a little bit about about Tel Aviv. We may have to make another trip or two to learn more.

That's my experience. The posts about the Tel Aviv / Israel trip can be found at

Hank

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Staying in the City: Tal Hotel in the Port and Beach Area

Tal Hotel Dining Room

Welcome to the Tal Hotel. The Tal is next to the Beach and only a two minute walk to the Tel Aviv Port area. The port is loaded with fine restaurants serving a wide variety of menus. There is also great nightlife when the sun goes down, bars, clubs and a great walkway on the water.
Your stay at the Tat will include a modern appointed guest room. The rooms include cable TV, safe and a small kitchenette with a refrigerator and cofee maker. The hotel's dining room and bar is designed in a modern motif. There is also complementary wireless Internet service through the premises.
Night run near Tal Hotel

Breakfast is included in the room rate. The Tal is a medium size hotel with 120 guest rooms. Rates in the off season range between $126 and $146. The Tal is located at 287 Ha'yarkon street, Tel Aviv. Phone +972-3-542-5500.
While you enjoy sea, sun and fun in Tel Aviv, come stay at the Tal Hotel //sam-d-man Read More...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The French are Coming, Coming, Coming :: they are HERE !

A sizeable French-Jewish population is making a quiet immigration to Israel. These are not beaten refugees, but middle to upper-middle class people. Most are professionals and business people. Some are younger couples and young families in their 20's, sent by the older patriarchs. Some are complete extended families - 3 and even 4 generations. Like people afraid of any social change, but with the means, they are essentially "hedging their bets". So what's the news here for Tel Aviv? Ah, they are buying, investing, opening businesses and mostly -- COOKING! Yes, cooking, like in restaurants, bakeries, wine and cheese stores... you get the idea. FRENCH, REAL French food in Tel Aviv. OK, so you are not as excited about this as me, too bad.
These young immigrants first came to "take a look". But like many "visitors", it didn't take them long to figure out that life in Tel Aviv (with a little cache of Euros) is a wonderful thing. So with energy, enthusiasm, hard work, curiosity and lots of experience they started making their mark on Tel Aviv. The good news is they like to live well, so they have taken hold in all the nice areas in Tel Aviv, specially anywhere within sight of the beach. Up and down Ha'yarkon street they have rented and bought everything available. So the real estate sector in Tel Aviv has taken notice and you see renovation on a scale not seen in years here. The BAD NEWS? Property prices are going up, estimated 30% the last quarter. Some say the 10% a month rise is a little scary... are we heading for a bubble? Not likely, real estate in Israel has not kept up with the general economy.
THE GOOD NEWS: people with real estate knowledge, are coming to invest. In the US the real estate market is going through a correction not seen in decades. So real estate investors are puring money into Israel. So are Europeans and south Americans.

Editor's note: This phenomenon is not restricted to Tel Aviv! Building all over Israel, specially up and down the cost, from Ashkelon to Cesarea is seeing a boost not seen here in 15 to 20 years.

Back to the French! The other good outcome of the French immigration is culture. There are more movies, books, cooks and cloths in much higher caliber than Tel Aviv has ever seen. Most people do not make the connection, but I see this as the competitive spirit of people, specially Israelis. A wedding dress shop in north Dizengoff street imports a dress from Paris. She sells it to a young French woman who is getting married with the family coming for the big event. The owner of the dress shop 3 doors down can't exactly ignore this. First of all she may lose business, but most of all she does NOT want to be seen as the "out of fashion" neighbour! This is what will happen if all the soon-to-be young bride's friends walk up and down the street asking for a French wedding dress!
The same holds for French cheese, baked goods, cloths, furniture, kitchen ware, wines... you name it. In essence, the last few years, Tel Aviv reflected the general economic slowdown of the DOT-COM crash, which made us sleepy for a while. Now we are back, with the push of the FRENCH. All I got to say is "viva la differance" and pass over the Hebrew-French dictionary ppplllleeeaaassseeee ! Read More...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The beaches: relax and get excited

Beaches looking toward Yaffo (south)

Tel Aviv has one unique feature that pretty much defines the city. The beaches! Not just any place to go and sit by the water, but truly one of the nice places to relax, exercise, watch people and eat.

The beaches run along the western side of the city. Along the beaches are some of the bigger hotels and tourist attractions. Before the Palestinian Intifadas and suicide bombings, there was a very strong tourist presence here. (Editor's note: today Tel Aviv beaches are the best guarded areas in Israel. They are probably safer than any beach in Europe or Asia, specially if you take account of non-political crime.) This has slowly shifted to more of an Israeli crowd. Which is actually nicer for tourists that complained of not seeing "Israel" - just other people from all over the world. Today the tourists are just a small part of the crowd you see on and off the beach. The beaches change in character during the day and during the year. Now, during the summer vacation, the day crowd is families with kids and teenagers. High school kids from all over the center region of Israel flock to the beach. It's a place to hang out, meet other kids and get away from the heat of the inland towns. So get ready to see lots of skimpy bikinis. Families also come to give kids a place to run and swim. For the most part, Tel Aviv beaches are watched by lifeguards and are safe. There are breakers about 1/2 a mile along most of the coast. This makes for a calm place to swim which attracts families with small children.
Tourist love the closeness of the beaches to the city. You can be at a restaurant, hotel or shop just a block away from the beach. You can walk down and be in a different type of beaches; from families to singles in a few minutes. You can be in a separate religious beach, where men and women take daily turns on who is on the beach. You can be in a bar right on the beach and read a book or have a drink and watch the parade of people pass you by. And all of this within the city borders.

Surfing and Kayaking in Tel Aviv

There are a few places to rent wind surfers, kayaks and small sail boats. But Tel Aviv beaches are no longer water sport fan attraction. If you go a little north to Hertzeliya or south to the smaller towns, and beaches between the towns, you will find more surfers and the boaters. (Editor's note: ask your hotel concierge for a good place to rent a surf board or a kayak, this is one activity that is lots of fun here). You will find other sports on the beach, specially the uniquely Israeli "matkot". These are wooden paddles and a hard rubber ball hit from one person to another. If you are not familiar with this, don't worry, very few people are hit in the head by the fast moving ball. If you are in shape and want to test your hand-eye coordination, give this game a try.
The beaches are not always filled with people. In the winter they turn stormy and dark... but that is a whole other story, come again in January.

Stormy Beach - keep cool until January

In the mean time, enjoy the summer, if it's hot, take a dip and cool off. And don't forget your swim short and bikini, Israeli's are not shy about showing skin on the beach. If you are not staying nearby, pack a nice shirt and a pair of pants. And stay for the evening, the beach area turns into one giant cafe-bar with the walkway just a place to move from table to table. Great drinks, good food and lots of fun people. This makes the beaches of Tel Aviv a great place to come... and stay... Read More...

Monday, August 20, 2007

The (new) Port of Tel Aviv

Just south of the port

The old port area has been renovated into a great big "entertainment center". This is the best way to describe a collection of restaurants, clubs, cafes, stores and walking, skating and sitting areas. On the sea side is a long wooden boardwalk, except that this one has "hills and valleys" for skating (the wood planks are formed in interesting designs). Until you see and skate the "hills" you will think it's crazy. On the north side is a row of large restaurants, mostly open to the sea most of the time. Some specialize in breakfast or lunch, some in dinners and are open late. Further 'down' is an area with smaller restaurants with a great view of the water. This area has tables up to the small enclosed port. On busy days these are the first seats to be filled and walking by is a test of wills to a hungry stomach ;8~)

Renovated Port from the Air

If you go all the way to the circle on Yordey Ha'sirah street, this is the southern edge with more stores and restaurants. Ace hardware is the large store at the southern end.
The port area is much more than a collection of "things", at daytime hours it's a destination for families, teenagers and groups of cafe goers. At night the port changes shape and becomes a hub for bar and music goers. With a few bars open until the early morning hours and three live music venues (hangars 11 & 13, Reading 3) there is a nice combination of modern & Jazz live daily. Somehow this odd collection of places has transformed into a meeting place for middle class Tel Avivians. When people start coming to a place, it feels alive and hums with excitement. The port area is such a place, but it's also big enough not to feel crowded, so it keeps on humming and buzzing. Pick a good time to come, even on weekend mornings when the sun bakes the beach, and come for a drink or brunch. You won't regret it, and may even find something to buy...

The old renovated port, just north of Ha'yarkon St. and Beit-Gimel (B"G) Yordey Ha'sirah Street, right on the beach. Restaurants, Cafes, Shops, walking and sitting areas.

sam-d-man handed me his version of the T"A port story:

Life in the city (Tel Aviv) has a dynamic. There is a life that is rarely seen anywhere in the world. One of the dynamic in our great city is the water front know as the 'North Port' (Yaffo being the 'South Port').
    Seven days a week you may enjoy great food from 30 plus venues ranging from a good burger to complete lobster dinners and everything in between. After dining you may like to enjoy a short walk to the Max Brenner chocolate factory cafe.
    Finished eating there are many inside or outside bars to enjoy and while away the night enjoying the sea breeze and the relaxing sounds.
Want to shop? Enjoy the Castro store and the many other shops, selling everything from crocks (plastic beach shoes now in style) to high fashion. You will never find a better place to eat, drink, dance, play and shop than the beautiful Tel Aviv water front.

Come and enjoy the city -- sam-d-man

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A cute small hotel - Melody Hotel (Atlas Group)

Atlas Group's New Boutique: Melody Hotel

Overlooking the Mediterranean sea the Melody hotel at 220 Ha'yarkon is a boutique hotel. This 55 room boutique, is ready to serve your every need. It is located within walking idstance to the beach and many attractions of the Tel Aviv Port (a revitalized old port serving as a cafe and restaurant hub a the north end of the beach strip).

All the rooms are completely up to date (AC, Cable TV, coffee / refrigerator, Internet) and decorated in modern block motif. The hotel provides breakfast in the morning and there are lots of choices for restaurants a short walk away (a large choice of takeout is also available at this location). The lobby is a great place to pick up complementary snacks and drinks all day.

The Melody is part of the Atlas Group hotels. Its located at 220 Ha'yarkon, Tel Aviv. You may phone from outside Israel: +972-3-521-5300, in Israel: 03-521-5300. On the Internet: Melody Hotel.

The Melody will provide sweet music for your stay in Tel Aviv. Rates range from $176 B.B. low season for two, to $235 B.B. July / August for two. Read More...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Basel Street Commercial Hideout

Basel Street Looking South

Tel Aviv has a unique quality found in many cities. Hidden little areas that are tucked away and give the feel of a small village, not "the big city". Some cities like Paris and San Francisco prides themselves on living in a big city yet having negiborhoods which retain personal lifestyle. Where people know each other and care to say "hello" and "what's new". Where one can sip coffee in a small cafe and eat a good meal without breaking the bank.

Basel Street Commercial Hideout

Some cities have tried to do this artificially, but this never turns out to be as nice as an organic creation by the residents themselves. Intimate lifestyle has to come from people, from the small store and restaurant owner, from local residents. It comes from a need to see people on a personal level, I think it's the "personality" of a local community.

It turns out that Tel Aviv has a few of these small communities. One of these local neighbourhood gathering area is on Basel street in the old north. The location is on Basel street between Ha'selah and Ashrot Ha'parchi. This is a block size area surrounding an old ambulance depot (still in operation). The stores, restaurants and cafes occupy the ground floor of traditional residential buildings. The sidewalks have been enlarged to allow outdoor seating, on a warm August morning, this is a perfect place to drink a cold coffee. The area itself is surrounded by parks and large trees, giving the location an isolated feel. Sitting in a cafe its easy to forget the busy streets, Dizengoff and Arlozorov just a few blocks away.
Basel Street Store Fronts - August 2007

This area is definitely not on the tourist path. If you want to mingle among locals and get a feel of the area, make your way to Basel street and the commercial square area. You will find there a nice selection of restaurants, sushi, Israeli, Italian and two bars serving light menus. The stores are upscale with an original jewelry designer, a jewelry store with a wide selection of local and antique pieces and even a very nice vase store that will rival any tourist outlet on Ha'yarkon street. And if you have a few hours to sit and relax, give the four cafes a try, this area is truly unique and isolated from the hustle of the city streets. A perfect spot to catch up on reading or postcard writing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Burgers on Allemby (Agadir Burger Bar @ Nachalat Binyamin)

What do you do when you have a yen for a super good burger with great fries or French fried onion roll (onion loaf)? Tel Avivians head for the Agadir Burger Bar at 2 Nachalat Binyamin, next to the famous Carmel Market (shuk) on Allemby and King George.
The Burger Bar will top your burger at your request with a variety of cheeses, bacon and assorted other veggies and trimmings. The service is fast and polite as the pretty young ladies try very hard to please you (our server was the fast drink puring Hilla).

Hilla at the Burger Bar

The Agadir Burger Bar has inside or outside dining. Outside is the closed street where you can have the spectacle of Tuesday and Friday Carmel Shuk (outdoor market) craft fair. Seats and tables are comfortable, but this is strictly a "al fresco" deal. On a hot August lunch hour we found half of the tables occupied as people headed to the cover of the air conditioned bar inside. Inside you have all the atmosphere of a New York City hot spot (we like to call this a "joint"). Sensuous booths and a knock-out bar, where Hilla is there to give you super service with a smile.

Jerry's burger, almost gone!

The Agadir Berger Bar has other fine meals on the menu, but trust me, try the burger, as you like it topped, rare to medium. Remember Tel Aviv has great burgers, call ahead 03-510-4442. Dinner for two NIS 150 to 200. Agadir Burger Bar site is: , there are four other locations: Hertzelia, Eilat, Rishon Le'tzion and Agadir Hotel in Tel Aviv.

Come to Tel Aviv and enjoy your every taste. English Menu Read More...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Great Chinese Food on Allemby

Life in our city includes those of us who have a taste for good Chinese food. There are among others the Red Chinese on North Dizengoff and the Dim Sum on Allenby and Rothchild. But this week we tried a "new" place at the bottom of Allemby, just at the beginning of our Allemby walking tour (described a few days ago on the blog).
Today Ami and I are reviewing a quaint small Chinese restaurant, the Long Sang located at 15 Allemby - around the corner from the Opera Tower. You enter the main dining room - with real Chinese restaurant look you will find the world over. Off to the left is a plain, long narrow room that is OK, except a little claustrophobic.
A polite young man will take your order. Menu is in English and Hebrew. You will note that he writes down nothing, but don't worry you'll get what you order. This is a full menu of chicken, beef, shrimp and pork. Try the hot and sour or wanton soup as a starter.
We sampled the sweet and sour chicken and the pork in oyster sauce. The chicken was plain but tasty, and the pork was very good. What some good Chinese try the Long Sang. Dinner for two between 150 - 200 NIS. Call ahead 516-3769 Read More...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A residence hotel in north Tel Aviv Port and Beach

Looking for an apartment hotel at a reasonable rate? Give the Attereth Havakook a try. This hotel is located on a small street, Havakook #7, between Hayarkon and the beach. A very convenient location for sea and sun, only a few minutes walk to all the dining, shopping and party going at the hot Tel Aviv renovated old port area.

The rooms are a little on the old side and breakfast is served at a kosher eating area on the first floor. On a hot August morning most of the visitors were already out and about. The Havakook seem to attract religious families from Israel and abroad. The close beach location and proximity to north Tel Aviv was the mainattraction to them. Also, within walking distance is the large Ha'yarkong park which stretches along the Ha'yarkon stream for a few kilometers. Just south of Havakook is the beach promenade and the main beaches of Tel Aviv. This location is just a block away from the famous Tel Aviv Hilton, get the location at a fraction of the cost!
Habakook Residence Hotel

The Havakook offers you a studio and one bedroom apartment with a double sofa bed. You will find a fully equipped kitchen, cable T.V., phone, air conditioning and maid service. There is also free secured parking.

During low season, all year except July and August, the rates range between $107 and $137 depending on room size.

Phone the Havakook: (from outside Israel) +972-3-604-2222 in Israel 03-604-2222.

If you want a suite by the sea, see you at the Havakook.

(in the picture, Havakook hotel right from center, second highest building) Read More...