My second day in Tel Aviv was spent doing one of my favourite things: hunting for Miro’s paintings. While I love being able to spend time with my parents, I also value my solo wandering time, so while they wandered the beach, I took myself to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. First built in 1932, it became the site for the signing of the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.
The museum did not disappoint. It had a good collection of some of my favourite artists, including Joan Miro.
After my culture shot, I spent some more time by the pool with my mom and then we met the tour group. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing when we first met Rafi our guide. I was the youngest, but unlike previous trips, not the only one travelling solo. Usually, the Insight Tours are full of couples and families, so it was a nice change of pace to have some other solo travellers…..or so I thought (but more on that later, because it gets really interesting).
The first official day of the tour started with a drive around Tel Aviv and a trip back to Carmel Market, although it was more of a quick walk-through. We then ventured down the seaside to the old city of Jaffa to see the famous clock tower and the harbour. Jaffa is most known for its biblical stories of St Peter, Jonah and Solomon, and is also known for its oranges (for those of you in the UK, think Jafa cakes, which are made with Jafa oranges).
As we wandered the old city we got to see the suspended orange tree, an art installation constructed in 1993 by artist Ran Morin. According to Atlas Obscura:
The roots are enclosed in a large earthenware container and the trunk emanates from a large crack near the top. It’s as if the tree is breaking free of its confines into the warm courtyard air outside. Morin intended for the tree to draw parallels with society’s relationship with nature.https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/suspended-orange-tree
What I quickly learned on day 1 of the tour was that Rafi, our tour guide was an amazing man who really knew his history. He had degrees in Sociology, Theology, biology and had been a tour guide for many years. He is a nationalist and grew up as a conservative Jew. He served in the military and especially loves meeting Jewish people who are in Israel for the first time. When he learned that my mom and I were Jewish, he made sure to point things out to us and sit with us at lunch. He also had the patience of a saint to deal with some of the questions that people asked. I have a hard time dealing with the ignorance of others, but some of these people took it to a whole new level. Thank goodness my parents are not always interested in making friends with the people on the bus and we were able to have dinner on our own in an Irish pub….because where else would we take a crusty old Irishman?
Rafi had also been a tank man in the Israeli army. He and Dad talked tanks.
He is a man of many talents