Jill's Summary of Tel Aviv
I sort of instantly liked Tel Aviv. We plopped our stuff at the cool Rena's House hotel near the Florentin neighborhood and just started walking. We had limited time here so wanted to make the most of it. We knew we wanted to see some markets, the sea, Bauhaus buildings, Jaffa and street art. And we were able to do all this in the four days we were there.
This is a great city for walking though the sidewalks can be a bit rough and there's tons of construction everywhere. The first thing you'll notice is that the buildings seem run down and everything looks like it is perpetually in progress. Huge swathes of streets are under construction right now for light rail installation and the Dizengoff circle is all torn up as well.
The people of Tel Aviv are beautiful. We saw so many striking individuals in such a short period of time that we remarked that everyone in Israel must be gorgeous! There's a sort of cool charm that is exuded on the streets and everyone seems to be outside at some point or another. Juices and piletas are easy to come by to cool down, and there are tons of good food options around (if you're willing to shell out the shekels).
Of course the sea is beautiful and Tel Aviv makes the most of it with the promenade and various beaches. Hanging out at the water's edge is a great way to spend an afternoon and lends a relaxed air to an otherwise busy city.
We didn't find the service here to be as brusk as in other parts of Israel. In fact, we had some really good service and good interactions with people in general. Note though, people tend to speak very loudly here and I often thought a fight was going to break out. No one was angry though, it's just how they communicate. Oh and there's tons of smoking. Tons.
Zac's Summary of Tel Aviv
I had heard that Tel Aviv is the crown jewel of Israel, and that is without doubt true. As with anything though, you have to see things you don't like in order to appreciate and learn what you DO like. So while I liked Tel Aviv immediately, it took going to Jerusalem to truly appreciate how awesome TA is.
There is a ton of great restaurants, coffee shops, street art and all the things you would want in a city. Add to that the beautiful people and the Mediterranean Sea and you have a match made in heaven.
While we were ready to leave Israel after a month, we did enjoy coming back to Tel Aviv for a night before our flight to Georgia the next evening. It's always great to leave a country on a high note, and that note is Tel Aviv.