In Summary
  • Two flights adding up to nine hours, including a stop in Addis Ababa, took me from Nairobi to Tel Aviv.
  • It is a fascinating port city, merging tradition with modernity.

I am a yoga practitioner and a yoga teacher, so an announcement about a training in the Arava Desert caught my eye. What better place than a desert could there be for meditation?

There are many stories of the sages who, throughout known time, took themselves off into the desert to be still and to reflect.

And so, after some research on logistics, the weather and current affairs, I booked — my destination, Israel.

Two flights adding up to nine hours, including a stop in Addis Ababa, took me from Nairobi to Tel Aviv.

It is a fascinating port city, merging tradition with modernity. It consists of the ancient town of Jaffa, or Yafo, new skyscrapers, and many technology businesses. For thousands of years, this port played a crucial role in bringing in materials to build and support Middle Eastern towns — the most famous of them, Jerusalem, 60km to the east.

To the north of Tel Aviv there is nothing but sand dunes, and the trails of camels carrying the ancient city’s famous oranges to far away markets.

TRANSFORMED THE DUNES

In the past decades, water has transformed these dunes into a landscape covered by greenhouses and fields, growing a huge variety of fruits and vegetables.

Lovers of Middle Eastern food can indulge in hummus (chickpea paste) and tahini (sesame paste), with olives, tomatoes and cucumbers for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Old Jaffa Hostel, in the heart of old Yafo, near the flea market, turned out to be the perfect starting point for exploring the city. Bunking in the dorm (15 dollars — with breakfast!) brought back memories of my young self, travelling through various continents and quickly making new friends.

I teamed up with Joanna, and we walked for hours admiring the old houses, many now converted to craft shops or art galleries, such as the Ilana Goor Museum.

ABSORBED THE SMELLS

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