Baking · Cooking · Entertainment · General · History · Innovation · Israel · Jaffa · Kitchen · Lifestyle · Lilienblum Street · Nightlife · Photography · Restaurants · Tel Aviv · Tel Aviv & Antwerp · Tourism · Travel guide

15 hotspots in Tel Aviv for this summer (2017)

The Norman amazing boutique hotel in my favorite neighborhood right behind Rothschild Boulevard… my advice is to go there for breakfastOnza located in the hippest area in the Jaffa Fleamarket amazing Turkish food and vibe

Orna & Ella perfect for lunch on Shenkin Street 

Cafe Bucke perfect for breakfast and lunch, hip people only  🙂

Cafe Noir timeless! go for the chicken shnitzel.

HaSalon just google Eyal Shani. PS ideal for big groups and parties. need to make reservation ahead. this is the only restaurant I shared that is NOT walking distance from the heart of the city.

Nanuchka 100% VEGAN and then you just dance on the bar ok?Abraxas North as Jessica Biel tweeted: best burger ever
America Burgers my personal favorite burgers in town including an amazing vegetarian one!Delicatessen always good for breakfast and brunch and take away food and delicatessenBrasserie another classic of 24/7 amazing French foodManta Ray the only real gourmet food ON THE BEACH including amazing sea food and sea viewThe Old Man & The Sea real Meditteranean atmosphere and food at Jaffa Port

A few side notes:

  • yes life – and dining – in Israel is expensive
  • almost all restaurants stay open and are cool with menus at any hours (unlike Belgium)
  • another great Israeli invention is EatWith if you want a home dinner
  • contact me for more details or assistance during your trip:
Antwerp · Bauhaus · Cooking · Food · General · History · Israel · Jaffa · Judaism · Kitchen · Restaurants · Tel Aviv & Antwerp · Tourism

‘Belgian Culinary Week’ in Tel Aviv – special guest: chef Viki Geunes

Tel Aviv’s popularity is growing in the European media, finally! In the context of the Belgian Culinary Week in Tel Aviv, we had the pleasure of having chef Viki Geunes here, accompanied by a tv-crew for ATV – Antwerp Television and a reporter from the renowned cooking magazine ‘Culinaire Ambiance‘. In the videos below you’ll see their discoveries in the city…

Part one: Chef Viki Geunes from the renowned ‘t Zilte restaurant in Antwerp discovers the city of Tel Aviv and meets Yossi Shitrit, chef from Kitchen Market, as part of the “Belgian Culinary Week” held at the new Namal Tel Aviv. Viki visits the Carmel Market and enjoys local flavors…

Part two: Viki Geunes and Yossi Shitrit share their local knowledge and host a cooking demo for the Israeli chefs and press. Then Viki meets with Marilyn Ambach and while telling her story, she takes him to her favorite spots around Rothschild Boulevard.

Part three: Viki and Marilyn wander around Jaffa and its charm…

You can watch the ATV reruns here and wait for the May edition of Culinary Ambiance…

Thank you: Willem Asaert, Viviane & Viki, Raf de Mot, Walter Schrooten


General · History · Israel · Tel Aviv · Tourism · Travel guide

The Merrymakers – The Holy Land by Ruth Van Soom

TelAviv_1_SmallThere are those moments in life that go beyond expectations, a sequence of rare experiences that force you to live in the presence and to truly enjoy every second of it. My seven days journey to Israel was such a moment. For the short time being I forgot about the thoughts I was thinking, the plans I was making and the memories I was holding on to.

So I can already tell you this: my writings won’t give you any insights on historical, political or religious situations and nor will I give you a review of all the places-to-be in Tel Aviv. Just do a Google search and you’ll find all the information you want on these subjects. My goal is to describe you, the best I can, the little things that caught my eye and my senses in the Holy Land.

TelAviv_2TelAviv_3TelAviv_TheMerrymakers©_3TelAviv_TheMerrymakers©_15Before I start my story it’s important for you to know who the protagonists are. So let me introduce to you Marie-France Vodikulwakidi and Marilyn Ambach: two strong, intelligent and sweet women. MF is originally Congolese but has been living in Belgium the greatest part of her life, she’s not only my colleague but also a dear friend. Mar(k)ske was born in Antwerp but moved to Tel Aviv a few years ago. She’s doing a fantastic job in concert production for artists such as Leonard Cohen and Cyndi “Girls just wanna have fun” Lauper.


TheMerrymakers©_TelAviv_MarilynMy story starts on January 1st, 2014 when Marie-France and I finally landed on Israeli grounds around 11pm. First we dropped our stuff at Marilyn’s place and we immediately headed to Benedicts, my favorite breakfast place in Tel Aviv. This became the indication of one week full of play, no sleep and plenty of coffee. The energy floating through TLV is so full of magic that every moment you spend sleeping seems like an enormous waste of time.

Every morning we did our very best to get up early which isn’t our best feature to be very honest. What’s so beautiful about TLV around this time of year is the mystic, kind of winter’ish light. To enjoy that experience waking up before 10 am is required, because at 4.30 pm sunset is already there. During the day we tried to walk around as much as possible since it’s the preferred way to fully absorb all the impressions and discover the finest places.

One of those walks led us to the African part of the city thanks to friend and guide Jeremy Fogel. Here we discovered a different kind of Tel Aviv with hidden treasures such as the little garden from a local artist you can see on the first picture. Just being there and picking grapefruits from the tree made me think that the simple things in life actually are the ones that impress you the most. The three children we met there are Jeremy’s neighbors and compared to our ‘life standards’ they have nothing but a really small house and their family. When I saw the smiles on their faces when we brought them some bananas I realized how spoiled we all are and that most of the time we’re making a lot of fuss about things that aren’t essentially relevant.

To keep those simple things in mind, we went to a different greengrocer’s stall every day to cook our own meals instead of going to restaurants. Every evening we had our special “girls just wanna have fun” cosy moment in the kitchen. We laughed, talked and sang while cutting vegetables and making tahina. After dinner Marie-France and I went out most of the days to discover a small part of the TLV nightlife while Marilyn was occupied organizing the tour of her latest friend Cyndi Lauper. About our crazy nights out in town, the only thing I can say is: what happens in Tel Aviv, stays in Tel Aviv…

TelAviv_TheMerrymakers©_1TelAviv_TheMerrymakers©_3What I couldn’t do on my last visit to the Holy Land and definitely wanted to experience this time, was a trip to the Dead Sea and of course a visit to the place where it all started, Jerusalem. So we rented a car and with just some road indications from Marilyn, Marie-France and I headed to the lowest place on earth.

Driving through the Israeli landscape and seeing traffic signs to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho was definitely special. As you may already know or are finding out right now, my entire life I’ve been very interested in history with in particular everything that happened before the fall of the West Roman Empire. I can’t even express how fascinating it was to finally be driving through the country that still plays such an important role in many modern cultures.

Our first stop was the Dead Sea which is known for its large amount of salt and skin healing powers. Even though it wasn’t that warm, Marie-France and I went into the water, rubbed ourselves in with mud and enjoyed floating. This is a kind of unusual and funny experience I can definitely recommend. Afterwards we went wild in the souvenir shop buying all kinds of skin products just to keep this experience alive when back in Belgium.

Jerusalem_TheMerrymakers©_Roadtrip_DeathSea_TheMerrymakers©_5Jerusalem_TheMerrymakers©_7Jerusalem_TheMerrymakers©_11Jerusalem_TheMerrymakers©_12TheWesternWall_Jerusalem_TheMerrymakers©_9And last but not least there’s Jerusalem… the Holy City that carries so many years of history in its walls that you can actually feel the historical energy hovering. The experience of being there blew me off my feet, definitely when standing in front of the Western Wall. All those different people with their own religions, emotions and thoughts facing an enormous amount of holy rocks. The atmosphere was emotionally loaded and very serene at the same time. Marie-France and I took our time to say a few words ourselves and walked away backwards because there’s one very important rule, never turn your back at the wall!

I’ll be repeating myself when I say this journey was beyond fantastic… Even now, one week later, I’m suffering from a weird and inexplicable nostalgia.

Before really ending this post I just want to say a few words… Markske, thanks for everything, you were fantastic :) And MFke thanks for being such a great friend… Love you long time girls and we definitely have to do this again!

If you want to discover more about Israel and Tel Aviv, definitely check out Marilyn’s blog for all inside 

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Architecture · General · History · Hotel · Israel · Jaffa · Lifestyle · Photography · Tel Aviv · Tourism · Travel guide

Hotels in Tel Aviv

Tourism is growing and the hotel business in Israel keeps expanding. Here’s a list of some of our finest hotels. Contact us for more info and special rates/deals.

Royal Beach Isrotel – brand new

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Ritz-Carlton Herzliya – brand newScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.30.49

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Brown TLV HotelScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.38.34

Alma BoutiqueScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.40.05

Hotel Montefiore

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The VarsanoScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 16.04.23Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.43.59Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.44.14Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.43.51

Mendeli Street Hotel


Atlas Hotels Chain – Melody, Cinema, Art+, Shalom Hotel


Rothschild 96

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Orchid Pasha Tel Aviv-Jaffa Hotel  – under constructionScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.36.34

W Jaffa Tel Aviv – under constructionScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.30.25Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.30.07


General · Israel · Lifestyle · Tel Aviv · Tourism · Travel guide

Tel Aviv Beach Life

Let me know if I’m repeating myself but is there anything nicer than an extra-large-long summer? After being away in Belgium and Europe for a month and a half, seeing August semi-summer becoming September’s autumn with matching heaviness and melancholy, I have now returned to sunny Tel Aviv. What a pleasure it is to bike around town seeing these young and tanned smiley faces. Being back in this lively town where there’s movement outside and places are open late. Reuniting with my beloved city feels so good. We just had our Holidays season: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippour and Sukkot and a lot of days off. Perfect timing. My other favorite season after May/June here: September/October. The outdoor temperature is perfect now, around 30°C during daytime and with a nice cool breeze at night. Blue skies. The sea is crystal clear and feels like the perfect cleansing. For a morning swim, an afternoon dive or a sunset moment, this is the time where I go to and enjoy the beach. Not every European or foreigner is made for beach life. We’re not used to this, we did not grow up with this. It’s a different concept. For us, beach means vacation, far away places, exotic locations that you only do once or twice a year. A thing to long for when it’s cold and dark and grey. Not your habit, not your daily activity. While here, it’s part of daily life. It’s what locals do in weekends. It just adds up to the quality of life living by the Mediterranean…



Nick Drake’s Saturday Sun

Antwerp · beauty · General · Lifestyle · Music

Josephine’s Summer Essentials

With temperature rising in Antwerp it’s time to dig up the old Summer Essential’s theme. Here are some things, i can not spend any summer without:

After spending a day with my face in the sun my skin tends to feel dry and looks dehydrated. And we would not want to look like our mom’s old leather handbag, do we now? Not only is my skin easily dehydrated, it is easily irritated as well. That’s why i only use Kiehl’s. Their products are made out of the finest naturally derived ingredients so my face doesn’t turn all red from bad chemical reactions.

Summer Essentals

Summer Essentals2

Great summermusic and pretty summerdresses!

Summer Essentals3

What’s a summer without a great read? Since free time is more or less becoming a luxury, i can really enjoy those moments when the evening sets, and i’m sitting in the garden totally losing myself in a good book.

Summer Essentals1


Places you can only reach by bike, like Bar Left on Linkeroever. Perfect for a little swim as well, as the Galgenweel lake is only 50m away from the entrance. (Right picture by the lovely Alain Deloin)

fille do

La fille d’O swimwear and things that put my hair back (under: this double wire head band is from Urban Outfitters)



Another very essential summer must have: a swimming pool.

And of course: your friends

And if you combine the last two – you’re guaranteed to have a great summer!


Summer Essentals4


Enjoy your Summer!


Sien Josephine


General · Israel · Lifestyle · Tel Aviv · Travel guide

Gordon Pool

Swimming is a great thing. For body and soul. Studies have shown swimming keeps you biologically younger. When I’m on my way to Gordon Pool, my back already thanks me. I always take a fresh juice with me and take a moment before I enter the water. Sipping on my banana or acaï juice, I look up to the blue skies, the palm trees; I look around to the sea and the Marina and I’m grateful each time again. Then I jump in and start my 1,5km crawl swim. The repetition of the movement under water brings you in some sort of trance. I always get the best thinking done there and come out with my most creative ideas. Gordon’s olympic pool water is set at a fixed temperature of 24° and is made of salty groundwater extracted from wells at a depth of about 150 meters which is extra rich in minerals.

Gordon Pool was originally established in 1956 and designed for ‘convenient swimming by the sea, to enjoy the benefits of the beach, without suffering the disadvantages from waves and sand.’ In those years, Gordon Pool was the ultimate gathering point, all week, everyday, from sunrise till sunset. No need to wonder why: from the salt and the crystal clear water with its minerals, to the gorgeous scenery, Gordon swimming pool made no difference between rich and poor, between famous and ordinary; free spirit was the vibe.

By 2006 the pool had some serious problems: its physical condition was deteriorating and it was impossible to remodel due to conservation laws. The golden years of swimming were over. The private owner was unable to continue to maintain the pool. Then came the talk of destructing the pool and the protests of the swimmers until the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa decided to renovate the pool and the surrounding area in order to revive it. After a huge financial investment, the pool complex was renovated, joined by sunbathing beds, shaded areas, a toddlers pool and playground, a bike path and parking for direct access and a huge fitness center including aerobic classes and a spa.

Since July 2009, Gordon Pool is back in full force and enjoys an international reputation and an influx of visitors to discover the benefits of swimming and what goes with it…



original photos above by Rudy Weissenstein  from Pri-Or Photo House (1957) all other photo credits Gordon Pool website

gordon8 gordon7   gordon5gordon4 gordon3  gordon9gordon1


General · Israel · Tel Aviv · Uncategorized

High Telavivity – Take Five

In the spirit of John Cusack’s top 5 lists in the movie High Fidelity  here’s Tel Aviv in fives –part. 2

5 reasons to date an Israeli man

  1. he went to the army…you’ll always feel safe in his arms
  2. he will protect you from the bad local guys trying to rip you off thinking you’re just a dumb tourist
  3. he has this natural nonchalance slash indifferent attitude which is all you expect from a real man no?
  4. number 3 also means you like the way he dresses, like a real man
  5. he’s Jewish (

5 reasons not to date an Israeli man

  1. just a few table manners and universal rules of politeness
  2. just a few fashion donts such as short sleeved shirts, these horrible black squared shoes, wearing underwear at the beach, socks not matching shoe choice, wearing tanga underwear instead of boxer shorts, etc etc.
  3. ars-alarm
  4. why talk so loud?
  5. ask me if I’m French…and then, when I say I’m Belgian, he may add “oh but what’s the difference”

5 reasons for an Israeli man to date an olah chadasha

  1. she loves everything about Israel always & anyways
  2. no fighting for whos family diners to attend on Shabbat & Holidays
  3. he always has a good reason not to have to join her friends: he doesn’t understand their language
  4. he can be sure he’ll have a month off when she goes to visit her family…and he has enough internationality in house so no need for him to travel anymore (saving money)
  5. think about the children’s passport(s)

5 annoying nicknames Israeli strangers call you*

  1. mami (with current variation to mamoush and mama and may creation confusion with mums/mothers)
  2. neshama (free translation: soul)
  3. hatsarfatiya – the frenchie (and then i go, no i’m belgium about 25794 times a day)
  4. kapara (free translation: honey)
  5. motek (free translation: sweetheart)

*all of those words are generally followed by shelli, meaning my: mami sheli, neshama sheli, kapara sheli, motek sheli.

top 5 Hebrew words

  1. sababa (cool)
  2. stam (literally this would mean: just, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  3. bichlal (literally this would mean: general, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  4. balagan (literally this would mean: chaos, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  5. tachless (doesn’t it come from Yiddish? it means bottom line or to the point and it is a very needed word in a country where too many people just talk too much and not do enough)

5 reasons to blog about TLV

  1. we don’t live in a war zone
  2. we have internet
  3. we drive cars, not camels
  4. to show some positivity about this country!
  5. to show off the good weather – 300 days of sun a year

needless to post 5 things I love most in Tel Aviv as I’m in love with Tel Aviv

5 things I hate most in Tel Aviv

  1. people that take themselves way too seriously like Hipsters (and make me wonder if it’s Purim again)
  2. joukim* even when they’re dead and laying on their back with their legs up (*a jouk is a cockroach)
  3. street cats (for the smell and their cries at night)
  4. honking cars (as part of a more general noise problem in this city)
  5. these guys biking by and throwing spa&massage cards on the pavement


General · History

For all the women that made us women.

Today is International Women’s Day. This is the day to thank all the women who have ever fought or are still fighting for women’s rights somewhere in this world. Here are a few of the women we believe kick ass!

WOMEN who KICK ASS2-001(From left to right)

Nawal El Saadawi has been called the godmother of Egyptian feminism with the rebel gene. She has written many books on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital cutting in her society. She is founder and president of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights.She has been awarded honorary degrees on three continents. In 2005 she won the Inana International Prize in Belgium.

Fauja Singh. Fair enough he’s a man. But men deserve some credit too. Fauja is the oldest runner alive. He runs for women’s rights. Recently he organised a mini-marathon to register his concerns over the recent incidents and generate social awareness for the rights and security of women in India.

Golda Meir was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of Israel in 1969. Israel’s first and the world’s third woman to hold such an office, she was described as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir “the best man in the government”; she was often portrayed as the “strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people”. A famous quote by Golda Meir: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

WOMEN who KICK ASS1(From right to left)

Ellen  Johnson Sirleaf. Africa’s first female President (Liberia) and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Her work has had a significant impact on women’s rights and peace movement. Prize motivation: “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Margaret Cho. Korean American comedian and women’s rights activist. She is best known for her stand-up routines, through which she critiques social and political problems, especially those pertaining to race and sexuality.

Gloria Steinman. A leader of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the late 1960s and 1970s, Steinman helped create both New York and Ms. magazines, and helped form the National Women’s Political Caucus. An intelligent, independent woman who cleared the path for all us writers!

WOMEN who KICK ASS1(From left to right)

Ayaan Hirsi. Ali is a Somali-Dutch feminist and atheist activist, writer and politician who is known for her views critical of Islam. She wrote the screenplay for Theo van Gogh’s movie Submission, after which she and the director both received death threats, and the director was murdered. The daughter of the Somali politician and opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse, she is a founder of the women’s rights organisation the AHA Foundation. On visiting Israel she said: “My main impression was that Israel is a liberal democracy. In the places I visited, including Jerusalem as well as Tel Aviv and its beaches, I saw that men and women are equal.”

Coretta Scott King. Civll and Women’s Rights activist and the widow of Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During a solidarity speech in 1968, she called for women to “unite and form a solid block of women power to fight the three great evils of racism, poverty and war”.

Manal al-Sharif. principal campaigner for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. One of her more famous campaigns is the 2011 women driving campaign, for which she was arrested for a week.

WOMEN who KICK ASS3-001(From right to left)

Amelia Earheart. The first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. “One of my favorite phobias is that girls, especially those whose tastes aren’t routine, often don’t get a fair break. It has come down through the generations, an inheritance of age-old customs which produced the corollary that women are bred to timidity.” She disappeared during an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937.

Eleanor Roosevelt. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Roosevelt was a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly for her stands on racial issues. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Japanese Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees.

Benazir Bhutto. The first woman to lead a Muslim country in modern history and become prime minister of Pakistan.

Desktop(From left to right)

Hilary Rodham Clinton. American Politician. Her famous speech in Beijing in 1995, in which she declared that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights”, inspired women worldwide and helped galvanize a global movement for women’s rights.

Shirley Chisholm. First black female elected to Congress. She later became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The second female justice (after Sandra Day O’Connor) and the first Jewish female justice. Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg spent a considerable portion of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of women’s rights as a constitutional principle.

Happy Women’s day to all us women!

Marilyn & Josephine


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