After wasting a few hours watching bad movies in the hotel room, we were ready to head out for our last night on the town and to celebrate Purim. For our closing banquet we headed to Messa to sample the best of Tel Aviv haute cuisine. The room was beautiful but the menu lacked focus as did the execution and service.
After, we hopped a cab to the Port, a neighborhood of converted warehouses that is now home to shopping, restaurants, bars and clubs. The area was teeming with revelers, but we were running out of steam right as the night was just beginning to heat up. We briefly stopped by a Purim Party and then opted for a seat on the pier where we could watch the evening unfold with a cappuccino and a few cookies. Jamie drinks the cappuccino, I watch and try to hog the cookies.
We returned to our hotel to find a loud party in full swing next door and laughed as the music invaded the tranquility of our room. We were so zonked by that point in the evening that we were quickly sleeping anyhow.
We skipped the free hotel breakfast and found a coffee shop nearby that was about to pull the days fresh pastry out of the oven. Stuffed croissant makes for decadent breakfast, but hot from the oven takes the experience to a new level of perfection. Second only to France in my humble opinion, Israel’s baked goods really are worth indulging.
It took some time to pack our bags to accommodate our clothes and purchases. I’m not one for souvenirs, but a few items did make it into bag. Jamie arrived with three pairs of footwear, threw one pair out and is going home with four. I still can’t reconcile the math on that one…
There was a Purim festival in Zymenhoff Square today. We sat in the makeshift synagogue, which was really more of a glorified ez-up, and listened to the reading of the Megillah. Every time we heard “Haman,” the crowd roared and rang their gragers. [noisemakers] Great fun.
After a stroll around the local shops, we repeated lunch at the Fallafel spot from Friday. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Once the car was packed, we said Shalom to our hotel and headed North to visit the Eretz Israel Museum near the university. Not to be confused with the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, of which we’ve heard legends, the Eretz Israel museum is overdue for a renovation and was a little boring. A few of the exhibits were interesting but they all smelled kind of moldy. The place was almost vacant, save for a security guard in each room, most of whom listened to talk radio at obscenely high volumes, no doubt to keep them awake in the face of such monotony.
Our last stop was one more visit to the Port neighborhood, this time by day. Hip shops were open and the cafes were overflowing. I finally found the Israel soccer jersey I’d been looking for all week. Jamie found the most overpriced cup of Cappuccino of the week, albeit in a cool location with great service.
And on that note, we headed to the airport…five hours early. I’m not saying who, but one of us likes to get the airport very early. The other one is too cheap to keep the hotel for an extra night, even though we are flying out at 23:05. We can agree on one thing, sitting in Ben Gourion Internation Airport. This trip has been a dream come true, exceeding each our of expectations. It’ll be fun to wrap up and review on the long plane ride[s] home.