I put this list first because when I open a blog related to traveling with a baby all I search for are helpful tips, places to go, IE playgrounds!
The best baby friendly parks in TLV:
I spend almost as much time looking for good playgrounds as I do with good coffee. Peep below for a list of our top 5 cafe/bakeries here in Tel Aviv. (tho, there are many!)
You never realize how much u depend on coffee until:
-the best kinds surround u (this applies to most of the recent places we’ve been to)
-perfect shapes appear in ur morning cappucino
-kosher pastries come beside this delicous coffee
-baby starts to wake a little earlier in TA, so espresso es so good.
I have lots of goals but am SO thankful and also a bit shocked that we rly made it back here by Pesach. This is the time where I need not take a moment to feel down about something or a situation my brain exists.
I turn to Yoga to help with my inner pre pesach cleanse.
Here’s the scene:
Languages around me on the corner of Ben Yehuda/Jabotinsky. A cafe, Java, with a close to full crowd on 9pm on a Tues night. My arms are sore from the yoga class last night, which means I could be on a good route to mental freedom now if i wanted.
The time I learned about slavery in the mind
It reminded me that there is an inner me, one that wants to feel and be kind
We get where we want to go by thinking, doing, and seeing
None but ourselves can free our minds, now I’m Bob Marleying
Out in this cafe,
Whether at night or the day
The energy of the people it is so alive
Kinda like a giant Jewish bee hive
Creating an essence in the air
Everyone is so so different, yet about the people around they care
I feel safe in this land that our ancestors taught us to call home
While of course wondering how long it would take for us to get to Rome
Nothing is like the streets of an Israeli city
Tel aviv right now got me feeling my artsy side so im Witty
X to the O
Laila tov, vi-BO!
Cafes we love to sit at:
1.NOLA American Bakery: this one has to be first, because. (not kosher food but great pastries for babe+coffee+drinks+vibe)
2.Ruchela: best kosher brunch place
3.Java: streaming live from
4.Roladin bakery: yum yum yum
5. Cafe Dizengoff: great corner of ppl watching w good couches to sit at w babe
The outside of our @airbnb in #DBV!
Wont you ride along with me?
When we walk out of the apartment in the morning taking in the nature around us I can’t help but sing the Daniel Tiger theme song, and I know that Levi agrees.
(a great tv show geared towards kids, by the same writers as Mr Rogers)
We head out of our apartment and now that it is getting warmer out head to a playground. The nearest and bestest places can be 15 minutes walk, but when Levi walks on his own – more often nowadays- it can take up to an hour!
We pass some beautiful sites that I don’t get enough of.
Here are some of my must-do’s in Dubrovnik: with a strong emphasis on seeking Playgrounds and the best Coffee:
-Walking tour of the old city. I always like to get a good intro by a local. I used from airbnb!
-The playground beside the left by the entrance to the old city
-Nisht: vegeterian restaurant in the old city
-The Synagogue: a must visit, with a remarkable Jewish souvenir store next door
-Cafes in the old city
-Lapad area. Cafes, restaurants, markets, and playgrounds.
Highly recommend: Antika. Cafe with playground next door so can have coffee while Levi plays! Especially loved this playground as it is old school plastic/Little tikes type of play area which is rare for DBV
-If you make a right rather than a left by Sunset beach and continue down the road you will reach it.
-The playground by sunset beach and its surrounding area
-The playground on the walk to sunset beach, by the cafe “with the swings”
-Gruz market – port with markets, shops, a bit of cafes – & this is where many of the local boat tours depart from
As most of my posts, thoughts, or conversations start: My life is ruled by Levi’s sleep schedule. I am proud to be a slave to my baby’s sleep because it is the means of survival when living as a nomad!
So we had to plan smartly when taking day trips.
Here’s how we did it:
SPLIT: The northern coast of Croatia! We woke up sunday morning and took our time in getting the rental car from Sixt, and packing our bags to head to the north. A beautiful drive with lots of twists and turns… Thankfully my husband grew up driving in puerto rico otherwise these European streets would be difficult! He is the best and is the first person other than my dad that I feel 10000% comfortable as being the passenger and not even paying attention to the road. Which means – YEY! – I get to focus on Levi and make sure he eats and sleeps well even whilst a 3.5 hour drive. We play and “talk” for the first hour, then I put some Sesame street on my phone (anti-iPad yet you do what you gotta do)… then I sing him the usual pre nap songs and he sleeps! for 1 hour 15 minutes! Not his usual nap time, but it still counts, so we are relieved that now the day will be good.
We arrive to the quaint hotel.. “Balatura hotel Luxury suites”. We are pleased to learn it is a family run hotel offering spacious and stunning rooms, of course with crib, so we set up, drop our bags off, and hit the streets!
Split is an old city located on a promenade. It is a long bay with palm tree streets and loads of cafes and restaurants. Josh lets me sit and order a coffee while he takes Levi on a walk around, they come back with popcorn (for the pa) and a balloon (for the babe) and we soak up our new surroundings.
It is completely different than Dubrovnik. It is filled with diversity, buildings, busy people walking fast, and has much more of a city feel. I love learning yet another Croatian town. I REALLY love it, maybe a little too much because my thirst to learn leads me to wanting to stay out late. However nowadays Levi won’t really fall asleep in his stroller for bedtime because he is so curious about the new place, just as we are!
When he was an infant it was easy to stay out late because he would sleep in the stroller and we could hang at a restaurant. But now he is so alert and fun! Meaning that by 830pm we need to get back in order for him to get his full nights sleep. So it works out being Kosher! and thankfully we are on the same page! Plus we love our hotel and are excited to be in the quiet old city. Occasionally on trips like this I would go out at night while josh works on his computer and the baby sleeps, but there was something about the hotel and the balcony in utter silence that I wanted to get back to – plus we had walked a good 11 miles already.
(perhaps last year when we traveled I felt more of a need to get out in the evenings for alone time because I was still a “new mom” and wanted to feel independent. Now I thankfully have other means of that independent feeling such as sitting at a cafe typing on my blog while my baby naps during the day)
So we picked up some bread, kosher cheese, and some other random snacks and fruits of our choice, along with Croatian made Liquour. We head to the room and thankfully Levi is happy to go in his crib. After bedtime Josh sets us up for a romantic evening on the balcony! we love it! It is nice to be here.
The next morning we have the hotel breakfast along with some Germans that are visiting.
The cool part of being in Croatia in the spring is that there are 0 Americans there. The only tourists during the off season are from local countries, so we get to shock people when we tell them our story.
We continue to do a tour of the palace part of the old city. Lots of cool shops and it feels more modernized than what we have seen in Dubrovnik. The key now is to ensure Levi gets his steps in so he is not unhappy for the 3.5 car ride back.
It is a bit colder than anticipated (the usual theme of our travels HA sorry mom!!) but we walk, get some coffee, and slowly make our way to the car.
The drive is breathtaking! I am constantly with my jaw dropped because it is just beautiful to drive through the country, especially on the coast.
I’ve always loved to write – whether it be a diary for myself, a made up rap, poetry, or typing mindlessly after a glass of wine — so it is a wonder that I let so much of Levi’s life go by without expressing what’s up within through my words. I guess it is true that being a new mother is a full time job, as this past year has proven!
And, just as the old tale would say, motherhood really changes you. So here i am trying to reconnect with the part of me that loves to use words and the art of typing as a means of expression.
Deepak Chopra says: “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you”
He also says that research proves that the best way to be happy is to make each day happy.
My husband and I are leaving our comfort zone of NYC and are taking our 1 year old son, Levi, to the other side of the Atlantic. Here will be a diary mixed with some yoga thoughts on the days we are spending on a journey outside of the comfort zone…
We arrived to Israel on Monday May 14th and I just want to jot down a little bit of what each day has been like. Moving forward i want to update this every day, or the days that allow me too, (#controlledbybaby) so the thoughts can be live, therefore real.
Becoming a new mom includes a lot of new things to learn, but during the while of studying my sons sleep, eat, and being habits, I was also planning our getaway. I do feel like a travel agent, and I love it.
“Change your location and you just may change yourself…”
Our plan begins Sunday May 13th, a mothers day we never forget. We land in Jerusalem..
130pm departure from Newark airport, El al, great snacks and service. Levi was all set and we were even shocked that right before departure a flight attendant had seen an empty space behind us and asked the girl next to us to move. She of course happily did (gotta love Jewish airlines) and Levi was pleased to find his very own seat! The fresh pita and chummus came around and Levi was quite into it… i may have noticed how much he is eating, in addition to the squeezies and snacks i brought him, but I know how much my sabrala boy loves chummus so I couldnt take it away. It got me hours of quiet having him eat that chummus while watching hebrew cartoons 3 inches from his face. What followed that was that he threw up! 🙁 he cried a bit , we were able to calm him down change and be all clean quickly. Thanks for the moms and sisters and bloggers that gave us the tips to pack extra!
After that we decided we can not control the flight, the flight controls us.
We made a whole bed for Levi to get his nighttime bottle and paci and go to sleep, but Mr Lev did not want to sleep. How can he sleep with exciting screens, new faces, pretty flight attendents, and ma&da right next to him?!
PEEP THAT PUNIM!
so , we went with it. and had Levi in his comfortable seat/bed snoozing for 1 hour, with entertainment for the remaining 10 hours. We did great. I wore him and we walked up and down the aisles for 2 hours so dada could have some time to rest. And then dada hung with levi, let him watch TV, so mama can close her eyes for 2 hours. we laughed, we loved every minute, and we did it, we landed and left our heavenly 77th street home.
FIND YOUR COMFORt ZONE,
THEN LEAVE IT~~~~
and so… we did just that..
MONDAY MAY 14
Arrive at Ben Gurion, greeted by Eli who drove us to our home at 17 Sokolov. Learning that this area is Talbia, right near Rechavia, a town filled with gardens and buildings of Jerusalem stone.
We arrived to our new home, greeted by colored rose bushes, palm trees, and all sorts of trees that perhaps I will learn the name of. #treegoals
The trees around our apartment remind me of a yoga quote a teacher used to repeat:
“If you don’t like how things are, change it!, You’re not a tree.”
While I did (do) love every part of our upper east side life, I still applaud myself for making the trip here with my boys. I have never been good at bringing change into my life, so as I sit here listening to the birds chirp louder than my typing sounds, I wonder what part of me allowed myself to pack up and leave my dream NYC life.
truth be told: It probably was sharing a 1 bedroom with our 1 year old and a constant leaking shower, that was unfixable…
Day 1-4 has been dedicated to helping LML learn to sleep in his new home. Us parents also got affected by jetlag so we allowed it to take over… and actually took great advantage.
Night 1 he woke up from his nap at 9pm so we headed into town for some pizza…
Night 2 he woke from his nap at 830pm so we headed down the block for some schwarma…
Night 3 my cousin Estee came over with her baby and we sat outside at a cafe in the 80 degree weather, while i constantly had to remind myself that we are here and not just in SoHo.
SHABBAT FRIDAY NIGHT:
The 3 of us (Dada Levi and I) enjoying take out from “Yizkiyahu”.. amazing in the Shuk. We got “3 of everything”, per dada… and ALL the salads and different versions of dips, per mama.
Levi was thankfully starting to adjust more to the time, and become back to my “predictable” babe, so I was relieved he napped well at 530-8pm. When we realized he was going to be up for a little, we took full advantage; finished our wines, made the blessing after a night filled with Challah and shuk-extravangzas, and made our way to the kotel. I wore Levi facing in so he had the chance to fall asleep whenever needed.
We made it to the kotel around 11pm on Friday night – our first time there since we landed– and it was warm enough to feel warm, with a breeze, and I wore Levi as we walked towards the Kotel and together kissed and touch the wall. We said some tehilim, prayed and meditated a bit, wishing for health and blessings for our families and close ones.
I remember spending times at this same spot, alone, so the feeling of watching the hands of my Lev angel on this special Friday night of Erev Shavuout.. will stick with me always.
We met back and walked back through the old city to our apartment, had some desserts and went to sleep.
We woke up when hearing Levi around 1030am (late for this babe, but getting closer to his “regular” time day by day). We excitingly had our pre bought iced coffee and got ready for shul. We noticed on our walk to shul everyone was walking back so we made it to Yeshurun (located down the block from the Great Synagogue) just in time to grab a coffee from the Kiddush. It was still nice to be in the atmosphere and watch all the people walking to/from the various shuls, lots and lots of strollers, and well dressed “young moms” making their way to other friends to share in Shabbat lunch.
We walked towards home and stopped at one of the (many) parks on the “derech” (route). Levi got some swing time, we walked and played, and made it home for his afternoon nap.
The day was spent resting and soaking up the Jerusalem sun – with our son– and then came prep for a Shavuout dinner with cousin Shimmy who arrived around 7pm.
We feasted on all the goodies we bought from the Shuk (Yizkiyahu)… spent time talking about Shavuout, its holiness, and how magical it feels to be celebrating the Holiday of receiving the Torah in jerusalem.
Levi woke at 8pm from his nap and by 10pm we hit the streets to find roads filled with all types of Jews walking to Shavuout parties! The streets were busy and Levi was dancing on me in excitement for being out so late!! Lots of strollers, all in the spirit of the joyous holiday.
I wlaked with Joshua and Shimmy to their first stop — located in Nachlaot– which Josh described as similar to the “Soho of Israel” mixed with an Amsterdam feel of small streets… definitely wouldnt fit an Uppababy.
In general, we are very glad we cold the Uppababy and came prepared with a Yoyo stroller. the lightweightness is necessary for the times my husband has to shlep Levi ni hsi stroller up and down the stairs to the Old city! (*this is why #babywearing is A+ in a city like Jerusalem)
Dada stayed out all night learning, praying, meditating, and feeling the magic of thousands of other people at the Kotel until sunrise.
Pretty cool of him… while Levi and I ate cookies and went to sleep, while reading a bit too.
Levi and I woke up at around 1030… we had to let dada sleep after his full night out! So, i popped on some shabbat attire and walked to shul with my little boy. It was another 90 degree beautiful day, with tons of young and older couples walking the streets to and from and from and to. We went to the Great Synogogue and got to hear choirs of 10-15 men singing all the zmirot of the Shavuout prayers.
Made it home by 12pm, so prepare for lunch. At 1pm Dani and Brian K. came over and began our feast of wine and cheese. Cousins Erica and Daniel K. came over closer to 2, right when Levi woke from his nap, and we all feasted to sooo much fresh cheese, dips, olives, crackers, and wine from Machane Yehuda. Lots of berries, melons, veggies, and all types of freshness were enjoyed while we sat and soaked up this Jerusalem feeling Shavuout.
Our apartment is surrounded by a garden which makes it an extra favorite spot of mine. This Airbnb thing is great so far… served us well for a feastful Shavuout that we wanted to hold on to….
Pre-yom tov we decided to keep one day, but when Sunday night came around we werent ready to leave the magic that that holiday brought. So we kept Shavuout by not having phones, and the 3 of us explored parts of Jerusalem that felt new, finding a sweet cafe to have some ice coffe`e and sandwiches. (fresh mango orange juice with bits and pieces of our sandwiches, and some fresh pastries, for the little guy) we sat there.
My baby daddy let me enjoy and take it all in, thankful that he always encourages me to do the things that lead me closer to a feeling of zen, that I try so hard to achieve in this crazy world. Jerusalem and the smell of it helps. #basiltrees