I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Tel Aviv is a sprawling modern city, more European than Middle Eastern. The shops sell many of the same labels that can be found around the world, and most of the cafés boast free Wi-Fi. Wandering along Dizengoff, the main street, is just like any other busy shopping area, except that it’s probably much hotter. An hour or two of this was enough and we made our way to Jaffa , a suburb of Tel Aviv.
Jaffa, by contrast, still retains many of its Arab origins. Its age is reinforced by the shops selling antiques or second hand goods. We wandered and browsed until it was time for lunch, an Israeli delicacy called Shakshuka in a restaurant called Dr Shakshuka. This is a delicious vegetarian stew of onions, peppers and tomatoes, topped with a couple of lightly poached eggs. All we needed was some bread for mopping up the juices, and a plate of local couscous. Yummy and healthy. If only the drive out of Tel Aviv and back to the main highway had been equally enjoyable. How on earth can rush hour start around 2.30 in the afternoon, and how can the car ownership of such a small country be so extensive? Do all Israelis learn to drive in Italy, Paris or Athens, or do the instructors come from those places to teach them?