By Veronica Holmgren
I've been given the pleasure of writing a guest post here on Sarah’s fabulous blog, about my friend Beata's and my New Years long weekend in Israel. Who are we? You might ask. We are two 24 year old's from Stockholm, Sweden. My Friend Beata is working in insurance and accounting and I’ve just finished a Masters in economics. That might seem dull but if I quote Sarah here: “DO YOU LIKE TO PARTY?” the easy answer is "YES." Actually, the more complex answer is "OH YES!"
A quick recap as to how we ended up in Tel Aviv for New Year. I have family in Israel and have been coming here from time to time over the years. I've started to consider it as a sort of safe haven, to indulge myself. This winter was to be my first time bringing a friend with me and my excitement could not be contained! 72 hours in Israel...
Our first 24 hours consisted of walking and biking along the entire beach promenade, from the Old north to Jaffa, with the promise of a really good hummus lunch with wine.
Back at Sarah’s flat, she showed us a bunch of the most exquisite bars for drinks so, armed with an amazing list, we set out for a night on trendy Dizengoff street! We went bar-hoppping until we both were tired and tipsy and the great thing about it was that, in addition to my lovely friend, people in Tel Aviv are so social.
Now, for someone from Stockholm, this Swede is very refreshing. Back home you can only talk to another person whilst waiting in a queue for the bathroom. Here, though, the vibe is completely different - easy going and loving through conversation, drinks and no bathroom queues. And so we had a splendid night. Not going in too hard though, because tomorrow would be New Year's Eve, and we had a fully-planned day.
The following morning, we left for Jerusalem by yellow taxi (very cheap) to explore the Old City and meet up with my aunt. Of course we went to all the big attractions - The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall, the Via Dolorosa, and the Muslim Quarter. As one should, we had an amazing kebab lunch then took a detour to Mount Scopus, for a panoramic view of the city, As we turned around, we then had a glimpse of the Dead Sea. Spectacular!
Back in Tel Aviv, we decided to have a pre-party with Sarah, as we knew it would be raining until at least 11pm and, anyway, no-one goes out early in Tel Aviv. Beata and I tried to explain to Sarah that there’s more to Sweden than thriller series and, to prove our point, we played her only Swedish-produced music all evening...
I'm not sure if we convinced her that Zara Larsson was better than ABBA but it provided for good conversation amongst friends and together with wine it was one of the most fun New Years Eve pre-party‘s I’ve had in a long while. So good that we even forgot about the time and a quarter to twelve we realized the urgency!
A force as strong as two Swedish girls out to get their New Year's kisses is a sight to behold. It had just stopped raining and we hailed a cab and told the driver to take us to Rothschild Boulevard. The traffic was awful so I gave the driver a pep talk - after all, we were on a mission. I informed him that we we were entirely in his hands and here I must add that one should never tell an Israeli cab driver this unless you are REALLY in a hurry. You have been warned!
He put his foot on the gas and drove like a madman, and we arrived at the club just before the New Year. Inside, the music was pounding, everyone was out for a good time and the drink just kept on coming. Beata found herself in a very handsome company of a tall, flattering man; I met up with two Israelis playing truth or dare. We all danced and laughed all night - well until the club closed. The true sign of it being so great was that we forgot to take pictures - the one below was the first of 2017.
At about 4am, we realised we needed burgers. This was our break before we headed onto the next place, which looked like an apartment. Beata ended up coming home with a bright purple sparkly costume mask - and I don't know how! At 6am, I sent her home in a cab, since she was almost asleep, but I stayed out a little longer, so I could fulfil my delayed mission - a passionate New Year's kiss. I was not disappointed, but more than that I will not disclose!
The next afternoon, nursing our hangovers, we headed back to snowy Stockholm. 72 hours in Israel was just enough to make me realise that I love this place. I'll sum up my New Year's mini-break with the best review I can give - "We're Coming Back!"