Good morning Tel Aviv!
We woke up to the smell of the sea and the feel of the Tel Aviv sun streaming into our rooms. Our last day in Israel and the weather was perfect.
We checked out of our hotel and began our day at Shuk HaCarmel and the Nachalat Binyamin arts & crafts market where we picked up presents for our friends and family back home. The shuk was an explosion of color, taste, sound, smell and even touch- what felt like thousands of people in a very small place.
We left the busy Shuk and headed over to Independence Hall on beautiful Rothschild Blvd, the place where the State of Israel was declared on May 14th, 1948. We learned about the period leading up to the declaration and how the nascent state had to defend itself when attacked as it came into existence. Our guide was very excited that we were a Jewish group from Poland and they told us how many of the leaders of the state in her early days were Poles. (as if we didn't know!)
After Independence Hall we said something that was in short supply during our week in Israel-free time. Some of us went for walks, others did some shopping or saw family members living in Israel and one of us even went to visit her former nanny whom she hadn't seen since 1964!
Our final activity in Israel was a walk along the beach by the port, an area that has become a popular destination for Tel Avivians and we could see why-cafes, shops, restaurants and a beautiful boardwalk.
As we watched the sun set and felt the last of its warmth on our faces, we thought about our week in Israel and saw her history reflected in our own lives. A story of survival against the odds, a story of hope, and a story of the resilience of a land and of a people.
Whether or not we visit Israel again, she will always be with us. And we with her.