by Heather Hammerling, MITF Netanya

Over Hanukkah break, I had the amazing opportunity to show my mom around Israel! She flew in for 10 days, even though it went by quickly-she had a great time and I loved having her here.
We started in Netanya, and stayed at Hotel Margoa. It’s a great hotel right near the beach and the city center. The price was great and you get a free breakfast buffet with your stay, so we were pretty happy! During our time in Netanya, she got to meet my roommates and my host teacher. We spent our two days walking along the beautiful promenade, relaxing at the beach and enjoying the gorgeous December weather in Israel.
After our time in Netanya, we went to Tel Aviv. We rented an Air BnB in an amazing location, and made that our home base for the rest of her visit. We were located on Nahalat Binyamin Street- right near the Carmel Market, great restaurants and the beach. Staying in Tel Aviv with my mom was so much fun! During our time in Tel Aviv we went to the Carmel Market, Old Jaffa, and Sarona Market. My mom and I both love to walk and eat, and Tel Aviv is a great city to do both. We spent a lot of time exploring the city by foot, admiring the street art and checking out the different flea markets and street vendors in the area. We did not have one bad meal, some of our favorite dining experiences were the following:
The Old Man and the Sea- we went to the Old Jaffa Port location. As soon as you sit down they serve you 22 different types of salads on small plates. They also serve you house made lemonade and refill your salads unless you tell them not to. We ordered the catch of the day as our main course, which came out as a whole fish served over vegetables. The service, the view and the food were just perfect. I would recommend going there with more than just one person, since it is SO much food.
Manta Ray- this is a beautiful beach front restaurant. We had a later lunch and saw the sunset as we were finishing. The food and atmosphere are amazing. It is a bit fancier/pricier-but well worth it!
Hummus- I am not sure if this is the real name of the restaurant, but we called it had a sign on the front that said hummus-so we just decided to call it that. This was located on the same street as our apartment and was a Persian/Israeli styled restaurant. They served tons of different hummus dishes, kebabs, and other Persian inspired dishes that were delicious.
Aside from exploring Tel Aviv-we did a day trip to Masada/Dead Sea with TouristIsrael and spent another day in Jerusalem. Our Masada and the Dead Sea trip was so much fun, and the tour group we went with did a great job. Our Jerusalem trip was also amazing, we signed up for a free 2 hour walking tour with Sandemans and got a great lunch and dinner while in Jerusalem (of course).
Even though I didn’t leave Israel for my Hanukkah break, having my mom come visit made it feel like a vacation. I felt like a tourist all over again, and her appreciation for the beauty of this country made me fall in love with it all over again. Sometimes you just need family time!
School is back in full swing and our next long break won’t come until Passover at the end of March! I am looking forward to celebrating Christmas and New Years in Israel this year, and continuing to explore this amazing country!
Below are some pictures of my adventures with mom 🙂
Read More in Heather’s blog Sunshine In The City 
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