26th November, Arriving in Tel Aviv
Wetskills in Israel officially started this evening in the city of Tel Aviv. This is the 11th trip Wetskills has organized and I am ecstatic to be a part of it!
First, a little history about Tel Aviv for those who have never been. Tel Aviv was founded on the outskirts of the ancient port of Jaffa (Yafo) by the Jewish community in 1909. Jaffa has been a port, according to some sources, for at least 4,000 years and is mentioned several times in the Bible. The two merged together into one municipality in 1950 and is now the second most populous city in Israel with a population of 414,600. It is the country’s economic hub with the second-largest economy in the Middle East after Dubai and is also known for its nightlife and performing arts.
As everyone arrived at different times and days, we all were set to meet up at the well-recommended Florentine Hostel in the evening. Most members of our group arrived yesterday or this morning and were able to walk around Old Jaffa and along the beach to enjoy the warm sunny weather, which is such a welcome after the cold, rainy days of the Netherlands. I personally arrived early Monday morning and stayed with a friend in Tel Aviv and had lots of time to roam around all the neighborhoods of the city and take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. Let’s just say, it is only day two and my feet are so sore and I have only just started the two weeks here!
A funny event of the afternoon was when two members of the group were sitting at the Jaffa port observing two seemingly idiotic people swimming out to Andromeda’s rocks. Unbeknownst to them, the two said people were actually part of our group and they had no clue that they were swimming out to an infamous set of rocks. (Backstory: this rock outcrop is associated with the Greek mythological story of Andromeda, who was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster that was ravaging the coast as a result of her mother, the queen, boasting of her beauty.) Eventually when we met up at the hostel, the story came out, giving us all a good laugh.