Dave Tel Aviv

Country #62 - Israel Day 2

The Old City

After an incredibly weird night’s sleep (5:00pm to 10:00pm, 5:00am to 7:00am) I surprisingly felt rested and got up and ready for my day visiting Jerusalem! My hotel, Dave Tel Aviv, has breakfast partnerships with two nearby restaurants and I chose the one called Bread and Co. It was a great little spot with a nice outdoor patio. I had french toast and apple juice that was green and tasted like it was literally just an apple - both were so good! I then headed back to Dave Tel Aviv where I checked out and thanked them for an incredible stay. I took a taxi from Dave Tel Aviv to Tel Aviv 2000 Terminal.

The terminal is both a train and bus station which ended up being so helpful. There were luggage lockers inside of the train terminal where I stored my suitcase for the day. I then headed out to the busses and found bus 480 which heads straight to Jerusalem! The round trip ticket was cheap at around $10. The bus ride took a little under hour and the drive was so pretty. It seriously looks like exactly where you would imagine the Bible takes place (which I know makes sense, but it was still cool). The bus dropped off at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. From there I took the light rail (which I bought a day pass for and was incredibly easy to use) towards the Jaffa Gate.

I was immediately amazed by the walls surrounding the city - I entered the Old City through Jaffa Gate where I then walked to my first stop, Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The inside of the Old City is a bit difficult to describe but, basically, it is very old obviously, there are stalls along every walkway with lots of souvenirs and other items being sold, and then there are very historic spots throughout. There are four quarters that split the city into sections: the Armenian Quarter, Christian Quarter, Jewish Quarter, and Muslim Quarter.

It makes a lot of sense that my first stop was in the Christian Quarter, as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is home to what is supposedly the Tomb of Jesus. There are a few of these in the world so it’s not definite, but it was still quite interesting to see and the church itself was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There were multiple items that had some supposed relation to Jesus that people lined up to touch or pray at. The church was huge and there were many rooms to walk through. After walking through I waited in the thirty-minute line to go inside the tomb (it can be significantly longer during the summer). I was inside for maybe ten seconds but it was still very interesting!

From there I walked along Via Dolorosa which is the path that Jesus walked along on the way to his Crucifixion. My next stop was Mary’s birthplace where you just look in and see a room. Next I headed outside of the Old City to the foot of Mount Olive where Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations are located. The Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus prayed the night before his Crucifixion, and the Church of All Nations is supposedly built over the rock where Jesus prayed before he was betrayed by Judas. Across the street I went to the Tomb of the Virgin which is believed to be the burial place of Mary. Like I said - lots of history here!

My walk back into the Old City was very uphill. I headed to the Western Wall which I was told by police officers was closed. This made no sense since I knew that it wasn’t (because it doesn’t close), and after finding another entrance it was definitely open thank goodness! It was such a unique thing to see. The Western Wall is the last remnant of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is incredibly sacred and important to Jewish people and was so interesting to see in person. By far one of the most unique parts of my day was standing in front of the Western Wall, watching both Jews and Christians pray, and hearing the Muslim call to prayer. Jerusalem has it’s political difficulties but it was cool in that moment to see all three religions at once.

After the Western Wall I walked around the Jewish Quarter and made my way to quite the unique spot - the Alabama Heart of Dixie store located in the heart of the Old City! It was started by an Alabama alum and is currently run by his brother who I met and was really great. The store sells tons of Alabama merchandise in Hebrew and was honestly just hilarious to see in the center of Jerusalem. I bought lots of gifts and really enjoyed talking about Alabama Football with someone from Jerusalem!


This was my last stop in the Old City as I then made my way to Ben Yehuda Street, one of the main streets in town. I walked up it for a bit until I got to Jaffa Street which I walked for a bit as well. I ended up at Marzipan Bakery where I tried the rugulah and it was amazing! Shoutout again to my friend Jennifer for the amazing recommendations for my time in Israel! Marzipan Bakery was definitely one of them. My last stop in Jerusalem was then Mahane Yehuda Market. It was amazing! There were so many stalls and I really enjoyed walking through, especially as it wasn’t too large to see everything.

I then made my way back to the Central Bus Station where I took bus 480 back into Tel Aviv! There was a little more traffic on the way back as it was rush hour, but the ride still took about an hour. When I arrived back at Tel Aviv 2000 terminal I retrieved my luggage from the locker and then took the train back to the airport. It was a good thing I was unintentionally almost four hours early because the airport turned into a bit of an ordeal. I had to go through special security screening (likely because of my passport and its growing wealth of weird stamps if I had to guess), and this would have been fine if it didn’t take over twenty times as long to go through as regular security. I had to take every single electronic item out of my bags (every USB cord, hair straightener, adapters, everything) and the people in charge made this an incredibly slow process.

Once I finally cleared security my passport, of course, wouldn’t work with their biometric systems so I had to wait in another long line. Increasingly fading due to sleep deprivation this was not ideal as I also hadn’t eaten a full meal since breakfast. After over an hour of lines (though there were almost no people in front of me, just inefficiency) I finally made it through and to the boarding gates. I had a great grilled chicken and hummus sandwich (I made sure I tried something at least a little local instead of the Pizza Hut) and then headed to my gate. I was working on emails when the two guys next to me got into a pretty scary screaming match in Russian. I immediately got up and moved away but it went from silence to screaming in like two seconds which was just bizarre. I couldn’t understand them, obviously, but I thought they were about to actually fight and eventually the police showed up. I have no idea what it was about but it was quite the ordeal.

For unrelated reasons the flight was delayed for an hour which was annoying due to how late it was already scheduled to arrive. I slept the whole flight as I had now reached the point of exhaustion where this is actually possible which doesn’t happen too often. When I landed in Tbilisi, Georgia, immigration and customs were a breeze and I was greeted by Tigran, the owner of the hotel where I was staying, Du Vin Rouge! He was so kind to pick me up and I definitely appreciate it. I really enjoyed talking with him on the drive into the city - he’s from Armenia but actually lived in NYC for four years which was cool!

By the time I finally got to my room and went to sleep it was past 4:00am. I don’t have a ton of time in Tbilisi tomorrow so I’m going to have to wake up relatively early, unfortunately, but at least I didn’t have a problem getting to sleep. It was a great (but busy) day and I thoroughly enjoyed all of my time in Israel and am looking forward to exploring Georgia tomorrow!

62 countries down, 134 to go.

Read about my first day in Israel here.

To learn more about Dave Tel Aviv click here.

To learn more about Du Vin Rouge click here.

Country #62 - Israel Day 1

The Walking

I had to wake up painfully early this morning (around 4:00am) but it was definitely worth it - I was flying to Israel! I had to take another expensive taxi back to the Larnaca airport which was a pretty nice medium sized airport. My plane was a tiny bit delayed but nothing too bad. The flight was so short at about forty minutes and it was so cool to fly in right over Tel Aviv and be able to see the city!

Before I go any further I want to give special thanks to my good friend Jennifer for all of her recommendations for both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - they were fantastic and made the trip amazing! Literally, she recommended everything that I did it was so incredibly helpful and made my life so much easier for two days.

When I landed and went through passport control I learned that Israel no longer gives passport stamps - I had heard this but now saw it for myself. I had brought both of my passports just in case but it ended up being a non-issue. For those that don’t know having an Israel stamp causes major issues with entry into a few countries so that’s why I was extra cautious. You do get a little slip of paper that you can keep both upon entry and exit so at least there was something! Entry into the country was almost surprisingly easy (just considering where I was) and I then made my way to the train to take into the city. It is significantly cheaper than taking a taxi and was really quick and easy.

The train stations are all along the east side of the city and my hotel was on the west side, so I just chose the closest station and then had to take a taxi. I used the Gett Taxi app while I was there as it is really common and very similar to Uber (except it is obviously for taxis only). My first trip went poorly as the driver never even showed up but from then on out it was smooth sailing. I took about a $10 taxi to my hotel, Dave Tel Aviv.

Dave Tel Aviv is located in the heart of the city and is a brand new hotel! Literally, there was fresh paint and construction being finished. It was so nice, though, and a very quirky little boutique hotel! The staff were so helpful throughout my stay, including helping to store my bags for the day as I had arrived so early that my room was not yet ready. After checking in and leaving my bags I then headed out for the day!

My first stop was to walk along Dizengoff street from near my hotel to my lunch spot. It was a really nice walk along one of the major streets in town. I walked through the Dizengoff shopping center just to see it along the way, and really enjoyed my first taste of the city. I took the street to Sarona Market where I was going to eat lunch! Sarona market was incredible. There were tons of outdoor shops and restaurants in a beautiful set up (it had a bit of an Italian feel), but my favorite part was the indoor market.

There were so many cool restaurant spots! I walked around basically drooling for a while before finally deciding to eat at Meat Bar Burger. And trust me, it was a hard decision. I could literally eat in just Sarona Market for months and still want to go back - literally, everything sounded so good! My burger was incredible - perfect flavor, tasty fries, and awesome sauce. It was a great decision but not kidding I would go back to Tel Aviv just for Sarona Market.

After Sarona Market, I walked along Rothschild Boulevard which was beautiful. The center of the street is bike and walking paths and the street is lined with trees. It was a really nice walk to my next stop, Rothschild Allenby Market. I was obviously too full to eat again but I just wanted to see this market, and it was another cool one! It was really new and filled with tons of great spots. From there I then made my way to Shuk Hacarmel Market (also known as Carmel Market). It was crazy but in a good way! There were so many people, stalls, and stuff everywhere. It was so fun to just walk through everything and I really enjoyed watching the craziness and seeing everything that was for sale.

After finishing walking through Shuk Hacarmel I made my way to some cute streets in town, known collectively as Neve Tzedek. My favorite was Shabazi Street which had tons of cool shops and I stopped to get some tasty gelato and rest for a bit before continuing my walking heavy day. My next stop was Jaffa Old City, and on the way, I had my first sight of the water! Tel Aviv sits along the Mediterranean Sea and it was stunning. My entire view for the rest of the day involved walking along the water it and I definitely wasn’t complaining.

The walk to Jaffa was a long one but totally worth it. It was such a unique part of the city and had a completely different feel. It was obviously more touristy but it was interesting as well! I didn’t spend a ton of time there but was glad that I went, especially as the views out over the city and the water were amazing. You could see everything from Jaffa! After taking another quick rest I started my long walk back. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have walked the entire hour back to my hotel for my feets’ sake but the walk along the water was just too pretty to care. I enjoyed the entire walk along the coastline. That is actually the only major downside to Tel Aviv that I saw - the lack of easy public transportation. There are busses and they are working on a light rail but it’s not there quite yet!

When I arrived back at Dave Tel Aviv I checked into my awesome room! It was perfect and very cozy as well. And then I made a huge mistake - I laid down. And fell asleep. For five hours. It wasn’t ideal, but after having walked over eleven miles on no real sleep it seemed pretty inevitable. I then was awake from about 10:00pm until 5:00am which I realize is the opposite of ideal, but there wasn’t too much that I could do. Luckily I fell back asleep for a few more hours before my day visiting Jerusalem tomorrow!


I had an incredible day in Tel Aviv and definitely recommend it! It’s a big city for sure but with a lot of great food, markets, history, and a beautiful coastline. I wish I had more time to see even more of the city but it was a great first visit!

62 countries down, 134 to go.

Read about my second day in Israel here.

To learn more about Dave Tel Aviv click here.