Postcard from Israel: Jaffa and the Ottoman Train Station

 A guest post by AKUS

After spending a morning at Shuk HaCarmel, it was time to head to the mother of all shuks in Israel – the flea market in Jaffa. As usual, it was a beautiful day, with Jaffa beckoning in the distance over Tel Aviv’s golden beaches.


Old Jaffa still has not been completely taken over by various development efforts and retains a typically Mediterranean flavor:



The flea market has something for everyone, and a great deal that seems to have been collected at random and often whose purpose or use can only be guessed at:



Tucked away in the tiny store of a Persian Jew, I spotted the magnificent tray shown below. After some serious haggling, much talk about how hard times are and how bad business is to gain my sympathy, we shook hands on a deal for half the initial asking price, and it now occupies pride of place at home:



Exhausted by our shopping and the constant negotiations, it was time to repair to the restaurant owned by the well-known Abulafia family, tucked into one of the old buildings near Jaffa’s clock tower, for a wonderful lunch of fish caught that morning before heading back to the hotel for a siesta:



In the evening, what better place for a meal than the restored Ottoman Railway Station near Jaffa:


There are a variety of restaurants at this location – this one was being used for a bridal party: 



After a meal, there is a bar serving drinks out doors in the cooling evening air:



We ended the evening looking for souvenirs in the gift shop, ending another active day in one of the best cities in the world to visit – Tel Aviv-Jaffa.



9 replies »

  1. Britain’s new ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, a Jew, has finally taken to heart the accusation of dual loyalty leveled at him in November 2011 when Paul Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport West, said ambassadors to Israel had not previously been Jewish “to avoid the accusation that they have gone native”.

    Mathew Gould is another Jew has now undertaken the dirty work of the anti-Semites at the Foreign Office

    Hey Mathew – What took you so long?

    • Let us not forget that Jaffa is a Palestinian city and that many of its inhabitants were forced to flee in 1948.

      They have become refugees and many of them now live in appalling conditions in the Gaza strip, as Israel never allowed them to return home, even after the cessation of hostilities,

      • Hummm… about 800K+ Jews from Arab and North African countries wish you shared the same sympathy for the them, as you do for the Pals.
        Now here’s a pickle really, “Nat”: How do you decide to unleash either “Ben” or “Nat”…?
        Is it some bifurcation based on the days of the week? Odds vs. Even days…
        I am rather curious :D!

  2. Oops! – What happened?

    Last comment dropped into the wrong story – Should have been for the British ambassador to Israel

  3. Is the Caravan club still there . Late 70s cabaret included such diverse acts as female wrestlers followed by an appallingly bad ventriloquist and some very quaint simulated sex acts . The Kit Kat club it was not but a wonderful introduction to the delights of Israeli girls who were fascinated by the faux extra plummy English accent .

    • The station has become very upscale now – I saw nothing but extremely elegant restaurants and stores. And, interestingly, a special bird house high in a tree for an owl, which is being used to keep the area clear of rodents. This has became a major means of controlling rodents throughout Israel, rather than using poisons or other means.

  4. Nice reminder AKUS, thanks.

    We were taken to the Tachanat Rekevet – railway station – after a pleasant evening with friends at Suzanah’s in Neve Tzedek. Hadn’t seen the station before and were really surprised to come across it.

    It’s a bit like Covent Garden in London – an old commercial district, gentrified very nicely to become a very busy tourist area. They have a military museum at one end that I wanted to visit but ran out of time – maybe later in the year when I go back.

    • We ate at Suzanne’s a couple of years ago – wonderful to sit under the huge tree outside on a not-too-warm TA evening. Next time …

  5. Old Jaffa still has not been completely taken over by various development efforts

    That concern is the same the world over, ain’t it?