Although a little travel weary it’s so exciting to be in Israel. My first walk along Jaffa Street where the trams run from the train station and then up pedestrian-only Ben Yehuda Street was like arriving on a new planet. Holding trusty Google Maps in my hand I had been told to get a taxi but walking is always more interesting. First impression, a cross of first world and third world. The new train system from Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv was like the double decker RER in Paris but that’s where the comparison ends. All the signs everywhere are in Hebrew and Arabic, of course, with occasional English, and there’s no way I can decifer those characters – this is going to be a challenge. I pass-by the Hotel Zion, that looks like a nice place to stay. Other impressions; the place is a bit grubby there’s exposed wiring and plumbing hanging everywhere, there’s piles of trash, food is on open display, and just about all the males are wearing a kippah or yarmulke. After checking in to my AirBnB, the only one I’m doing on this trip, I went for a stroll, sat at a table in the square and ate a shawarma and visited the lively covered market alleyway of Mahane Yehuda Market where I bought some sticky baklava-style treats. There’s a real vibrancy in the air – and it’s hot, getting up to 30º, but the temperature has lowered now it’s the evening to 22º. It’s been a long day and but I’m excited about what the next six days will bring.