If you were in Israel for the 64th edition of Eurovision, there was some serious fun to be had. But you probably know that if you follow our Instagram or YouTube channel.
The Expo was hopping, but so too was was the rest of Tel Aviv. The fifth-most-visited city in the Middle East definitely had it going on: beach, eats and musical feats. (See what we did there?)
As part of our musical journey, we wandered off the beaten path of Eurovision fans and found five other things you may want to consider for your next visit. Be still your heart… you might just fall for them, too!
1. Ethiopian talents
Israelis sometimes describe their country not as a melting pot but as a salad bowl. It’s all mixed together but you can still identify its constituent parts.
There are plenty of good examples in this country of immigrants — especially in terms of musicians. Among them is Aveva Dasa, the daughter of Ethiopian Jews. Her parents were persecuted in Ethiopia so moved to Israel when she was a child. Her sound is difficult to place geographically, perhaps reflecting her vast experience at home and abroad.
Ester Rada is another name we encountered. Born in a religious family of Ethiopian Jews, her family arrived in Israel via a refugee camp in Sudan in the mid 1980s. She kicked off her career in musical theater, performing in Habima (where the Eurovision orange carpet took place), and later opened for Alicia Keys in Israel. You may recognise her from her music video “Life Happens”, which was been played on MTV networks around the world.
2. Land of milk and honey
If “milk and honey” is the catch-all phrase for yummy eats, then Israel gives new definition to these two biblical blessings. Yes, Israeli dairy products like yogurt and cheese are perpetual favs. You can pick those up at nearly every corner market. And the local raw honey is worth risking the cavities. You’ll find all this and more at every Israeli breakfast, which is worth hitting up especially when crashing at a lux Israeli hotel where the first meal of the day is included, like Tel Aviv’s beachside Carlton, where, yes, please, cappuccinos to go are included. Gratis.
Eurovision Trivia: Milk and Honey was the name of the band that won the 1979 Eurovision with their hit, “Hallelujah”. It sure was a lot of fun at the interval mash-up during this year’s grand final. You’ll notice that on Friday afternoons some radio stations have a habit of playing old school favourites like this one.
3. Carmel Market street eats
Tel Aviv is also a capital of street eats a-plenty to make your taste buds buzz. To fuel more fun, hit the Carmel Market. It’s an easy 15-minute walk from Charles Clore Park, which you’ll remember as the home of Eurovision Village. Packed with shops and stands, the market offers a wide array of local dishes, smoothies, fresh produce, and much more. Sure you’ve had falafel, but what about halva, lafa and hilbe? And how about as many as 10 different plates of hummous at one joint? This is the place for the delectable sesame seed based dessert, a delicious flatbread and an earthy condiment made of fenugreek. Shakshuka is a tomato stew with eggs, pesto, and feta cheese. May sound bizarre. Tastes divine.
4. Yemenite Sisters with Voices
An Israeli act with serious bravado is the female trio, A-Wa. To say the songs of Yemenite sisters Liron, Tagel, and Tair Haim don’t exactly show women as submissive is an understatement. An abusive father meets his end in their 2016 debut album, “Habib Galbi.” The eponymous single, which is sung in their great-grandmother’s Judeo-Arabic, has garnered more than 12 million views. Their single, “Mudbira (Unlucky)”, which debuted in January, reveals a similar moral when the sisters’ flocks of four-legged grazers are pilfered by a dishonest dude. Partial to Adidas and other hip threads, the sisters find inspiration in hip-hop fashion, which resonates with their highly percussive sound and electronic beats.
5. The Tel Aviv Beach Promenade
Listen, the sand and sun will meet all of your expectations for a Mediterranean beach getaway. This well-paved strip with soft sandy swim areas also features exercise equipment, shops and eats. Charles Clore Park is a gorgeous public beachfront that usually hosts Tel Aviv’s Pride Parade main event. We caught a gorgeous glimpse of it when visiting Sergey Lazarev at the Dan Hotel. It’s the same joint where Madonna stayed. This is the view she would have had from her balcony.
And as Gal Gadot said during her cameo in the Eurovision final, it only takes three minutes to get a nice tan under that Israeli hot sun. Yum yum!
What were some of your favourite moments outside of the Eurovision bubble in Tel Aviv? Let us know down below!
With over 40 degrees celcius today i can’t enjoy anything in Tel -Aviv…..
Thanks so much!
“By Lisa Klug”? A new writer from Germany? (Or Austria or Switzerland?). Welcome to the big family <3
So funny, ESC has been created to bring all people toghether, it seems like during Eurovision people get prider of their own country, own etchnicity etc. ,ore then ever…
Big family??? So what if a writer is a German speaker. .. Who cares where she’s from. It’s about the articles she writes..
LOL. I meant the “big family” of both bloggers and regular readers/commentators here on wiwibloggs. One “Eurovision family”. And the country is not THAT important, but as a German myself I recognized the name and I am always happy when there are new members from the country. Of course I “like all wiwibloggers the same” and do NOT prefer Florian over Kristin for example. It was just meant for fun, like “yeey a new blogger”. Come on! 🙂
okay 🙂 I think I am just getting brainwashed by reading all those comments saying things like it’s unfair their song didn’t win etc. and accusing other countries’ jurors. Sometimes it seems like people get more patriotic during ESC, the opposite of the meaning of Eurovision.
Thank you for the warm welcome… Actually, I’m American!
I thought Ester Rada would have made a good host for ESC. She’s cool, experienced, well spoken and beautiful. Not that I mind the hosts we got eventually.
I really liked watchin: European Song Contest fans walking arround the street of Tel Aviv feeling scured, and enjoying the freindly warm temper if the Israelies
This article is so unfair against hatari. You guys simply ignored all of their suffering and messages…
Is it their fault Icelanders can’t get a tan?
Those Hatari guys have very dark long winters up there. They just can’t handle the light.
Tfw even the Irish are getting better tans than you
Best ESC in history!
nooooo. recently sweden and portugal were way better
Read the recent post by Ola Melzig on FB. And that’s the guy who did 15 Eurovisions already.
Speaking of Ethiopian talents, I really recommend Gili Yalo. He came to Israel as a young child from Ethiopia, and sings in Amharic, but has many international influences. His latest album was recorded in the US and has some americana vibe to it.
Ester Rada is wonderful. Don’t even get me started on great Israeli music – I bought six different CD compilations before I left and I plan to give myself an education. In any case, from my time in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, here’s what I can recommend: – Yafo is a gorgeous little city with great art (including a beautiful exhibit inspired by this year’s entries) and cool buildings, including its signature clock tower. There’s a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean and lots of cute little cafes. – If you want authentic Israeli food, go to Machenei Yehuda in Jerusalem… Read more »
Sounds like you had a fabulous adventure! Yafo is cool… And yes! Love love love Mahane Yehuda.
You guys went off the beaten track here- would you have ever considered visiting Tel Aviv before Betta’s win? Or even outside the contest? I’ve never been myself
Pride week is next week there. Plenty come to visit for that regardless of an event such the Eurovision…