When you retire, weekends tend to take on less significance as every day is like a weekend but in Israel weekends are a little different as many businesses will close early on Friday afternoon in preparation for Shabbat which runs from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. Even though Tel Aviv is a largely secular city we are finding that many State run institutions such as museums do close quite early on Friday, mostly around 2pm. The largest bus companies also stop running for Shabbat and quite a few restaurants will also be closed. We had planned on visiting the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Friday as it was another intermittently rainy day, but by the time we had a break in the rain it was already closed so we had another down day at home. At dinner time it was still quite rainy so we visited the Italian restaurant on the ground floor of our building and ordered a vegan pizza of grilled vegetables, arugula and just a little cheese to take back upstairs. We rarely ever eat pizza as Sandy has never liked it. She absolutely loved this very thin crust pizza and will be back for more.
Saturday morning the rain had finally quit and the next two weeks are predicted to be much drier with no significant rain or storms in the forecast. We went out for a 5K run along the river and Mediterranean promenade boardwalk and then went out for our first Israeli breakfast. They take breakfasts quite seriously here. A typical Israeli breakfast includes fresh squeezed juice, coffee, a bottomless bread basket with butter & spreads, a salad, 2-3 eggs served any style with sides of tahini, sour cream with chives, avocado hummus and sour cream with tomato seeds. The breads here are soooooo good, soft warm pitas, multi grain rolls and brioches. We are so enjoying the delicious very healthy food here.
Unfortunately Sandy’s knee started giving her trouble and we had to scrap our walking activities for Saturday. On Sunday we walked the one mile to the Daniel Rowing Center for our first Sculling lesson.
Our instructor is Dror who is into windsurfing, rowing and skiing and is leaving for ten days in Aspen this week. He is quite brusque, typically Israeli, but very good. He gives us a few tips on the rowing machines and has us into the river and rowing within about 25 minutes.
We are both quite nervous as sculls are so narrow and easily cap-sizable and this river is so muddy.
Overall we had a very good first sculling lesson and received positive feedback from Dror so we left feeling pretty proud of ourselves and more confident.
After the lesson we took a walk along the river out to the point where it reaches the Mediterranean and came across a group of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) doing exercises. They certainly keep themselves in good shape.
We continued walking out to the Reading Power Station and the Sde Dov Airport which mainly handles flights within Israel. We enjoy watching the planes land and take off right over our heads. The power station cooling water is discharged back into the sea where the river also joins the sea causing a lot of turbulence and also the accumulation of a huge amount of trash. We were amused to find a feral cat sitting on top of all the detritus.
After the power station we crossed over the Yarkon river to the old port area where we found a wonderful playground which was deserted on this Sunday morning.
Since we were all alone we let our inner kids come out.
Our weekend finished with an enjoyable evening at the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. It was led by a 29 year old Israeli conductor and pianist by the name of Lahav Shani who in 2020 will be replacing Zubin Mehta as principle conductor of the IPO after fifty years in that position. The performance consisted of violin and flute solos of Bach and Bartok as well as Shostakovich Symphony No. 5.