Dec 6, 2010

Discovering HaYarkon Park

By Laura Goldstein

My Lovely Urban Hike to HaYarkon Park
     This Saturday on a whim I decided to make the trek from my place on King George all the way down  to HaYarkon Park on the Northern edge of Tel Aviv, Israel. I had been wanting to check it out since I arrived in the city but finally, after three months I made the trip. 

     I set out with a book and my NPR podcasts on the hour walk down Dizengoff determined to find the park. Almost all of the many shops were closed but the Tel Aviv restaurants were packed with Israelis enjoying their day off. As I went further up Dizengoff there were fewer and fewer Israelis on the street and instead of people watching I admired the many bridal shops with beautiful dresses in the windows.

      When I arrived at the intersection of Dizengoff and Jabotinsky, right before the police station,  my path was diverted by a guard. He said that I could not continue on Dizengoff Street for the vague and ominous reason that there was a “dangerous situation” ahead. I did not push it any further and turned left on Jabotinsky and started walking towards the Sea. 

      I was pleasantly surprised at what I found at the end of the street. There was the lush and well-groomed Independence Park, a nice change from the dusty Meir Park on King George. 
My Vanilla Yogurt with Gummy Bears and Mini Meringues
     I walked up the hill through the park and found a stunning view of the Mediterranean and a pretty beach below. Despite the fact that it was December, the water was clear and inviting and the sun was showing. I envied the people on the beach with swim wear and wished I could take a dip as well. 
     I looked to my right and I was surprised to see the Namal (port) and continued down the path towards it, pleased with myself for what I had stumbled upon by accident. The port was overflowing with people, and it was a challenge to navigate through the crowds shopping, eating ice cream, and heading to the ports swanky restaurants. I saw Yogurt Bar on the pier and decided to stop and cool down with a frozen treat. 

In the Park: the bank of HaYarkon
     Finally, at the end of the port, I was out of bustle and I could relax again. Then I found what I had set out on my little journey to find,  HaYarkon River! I knew at that point I was basically in the park. Heading away from the sea I followed the river over several very steep but pretty bridges and I saw what I knew to be the park. 

 HaYarkon Park is basically a green space on both sides of HaYarkon River. On Saturday it was full of families and groups of friends picnicking, playing sports, and relaxing on the grass. It looked like the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon. Content with myself for finally reaching the park after several hours of wandering,  I started heading home. Now that I figured out how to get to the park I plan on returning to run and bike on the path along the river and picnic with friends on the lovely grass.

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