Israel, a spiritual place in the Holy Land? A country to relax, get yourself together and experience some biblical epiphany? Yeah right. Maybe in Jerusalem, but surely not in Tel-Aviv, the white city that just doesn’t stop clubbing, dining and dancing (for Element Moscow)
No matter what time of the year you’ll fly, you’ll always will be surprised by the intense heat that slaps you in your face as soon as you set a step outside of the airport. Better put sunglasses on, as Tel-Aviv is a bright- shiny and foremost white city. Even at night the city’s lights shine. You’ll sense there is a party going on, and probably you’re right.
Those who fear the harsh sounds of Hebrew shall not worry, Russian is widely spoken through the city. Taxi drivers, travel-agency’s, businessmen and even police-officers speak fluent Russian. If they or their parents didn’t migrate to Israel from the Soviet-Union they’ve learned it in school. And if your Russian isn’t all that: English will get you everywhere.
Tel-Aviv is famous for it’s sparkling nightlife and most of it’s clubs and bars are all found around the marina in the northern part of town. TLV is the biggest of them all, and it’s bigger then you can imagine, their fantastic sound-system will blow you away. Not in the mood yet? Head out for some fresh oysters in the nearby seafood restaurant Mol-Yam. Bored with oysters? Do as the author did several times and try the grilled langoustine. When ready to go again, just hop in and out of all the little bars, pubs and discotheques in the port-area.
After a couple of days you’ll discover that boulevard Rothschild is the central place of all activity in Tel-Aviv. It’s got amazing trees on each side and a couple of nice fountains, small parks and kiosks circled around the city. Now with ‘kiosks’ you’ll probably think of the Muscovite cabins in which angry women sell you cigarettes and beer. In Tel-Aviv, it’s amazing little espresso-bars and even whops a full-blown technicolor sushi-bar. In case you’re fond of chocolate, make sure to get a hold of a little box of Max Brenners chocolate.
Rothschild boulevard crosses Allenby-street, which heads straight for the beach. The complete coastline of the city is one big beach which, apart from when the sun is at it’s peak, is packed. You thought Israel was a conservative country? Think again. Ladies, bring the best bikini you have and men, or fear being laughed at by handsome Israeli’s. When the sun goes down, have a stroll towards Jaffo, the old Arabic port just half an hour away by foot. There’s a small harbour, a little market square and hundreds of nice little eateries.
One a lost night, head for Scotts Pub on Allenby Street and try your hand on the cracked and cripple pool table where locals and foreigners alike hang around, watch football-games and drink pints. The place gets pretty rough towards the morning, so make sure to get out before things get out of hand. On quiet moments, it’s the best place in town to find Israeli soldiers, foreign volunteers and airforce-pilots amoung your news friends. Scott’s army of pretty barmaids will happily serve you burgers while drinking.
To fight early morning hangovers, we recommend 0,7 liters of freshly squeezed and mixed fruits. Go to Sheinkin-street and you’ll find loads of them. Although they all look a like and all have the same owner, we’ve got the best drinks at the last of them down the road from Allenby. It’s all fresh and for the equivalent of 100 roubles you’ll have enough vitamins to last for another 24 hours in Tel-Aviv.
TIPS FOR TRAVELERS:
“Where to stay” If you want to stay in style, consider ‘Hotel Montefiore‘, which hosts elegant rooms, wonderful terraces and comes with a personal library. Yes. A personal library. Otherwise, head down to the boulevard and check in one of the many Hiltons, Sheraton’s or Holiday Inn’s
“Visas” Earlier this year, Israel cancelled visa’s for Russian nationals. It does however pose a set of different rules and conditions, one of them includes having a return ticket back to where you came from. Whatever passport you have, it’s always good to check up on the lastest rules with your local Israeli embassy.
“Money” They call them shekels and they are made out of plastic. Don’t bother changing your rubles into dollars in Moscow as in Tel-Aviv they’ve got better exchange rates. ATM’s are everywhere, credit-cards are accepted and here and they you can pay in dollars.
“Getting there” Nearly every international Russian airline has a direct connection to Tel-Aviv. El-Al departs from Domodedovo, and has the record of the worlds safest airline. It also has the toughest security check you’ll ever experience. On a budget? Consider a stopover in Kiev with Aerosvit that has good deal to Israel.
“Getting around” Tel-Aviv has a network of marshrutka’s around the city. They’re cheap and fast. You left Russia exactly because of marshrutka’s? Just flag down on of the many white cabs. The ‘non-labeled’ ones are private taxi’s, the ones that carry a flag are owned by bigger companies, the latter of which is the cheaper and safer choice.