1 Here I am with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Ben-Artzi.
2 Chris and our friend Geoffrey Weill joined us as well. We all voted for the Dead Sea as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
3 After our visit, we started our drive from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. This is the Knesset, the legislative branch of the Israeli government, where all laws are passed and revised as necessary.
4 Naturally, security is extremely tight around all the government buildings.
5 These are government offices in Jerusalem.
6 This is the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This very important ministry's role is to implement Israel's foreign policy, and to promote economic, cultural, and scientific relations with other countries.
7 A shot of a few different neighborhoods in Jerusalem along our drive to Tel Aviv
8 And this is a town in the West Bank, so named because it lies on the western bank of the Jordan River.
9 Arriving in Tel Aviv in the old part of town, called Jaffa, an ancient port city - One of Jaffa's center of activities is the Clock Square, named for the Clock Tower, built by the Turkish Sultan Abed-el-Hamid II in 1906.
10 Jaffa is one of the oldest towns in the world and is mentioned both in the Old and New Testament. This photo was taken from an artists' colony, where there are many silversmiths, potters, and other artisans.
11 Tel Megiddo Jewelery - David Shamay - This is a beautiful jewelry shop.
12 Another shop had amazing handmade pottery. I especially liked this turquoise hobnail design.
13 I also liked the brackets holding the shelves.
14 These pieces were so finely hand-painted.
15 I loved this platter.
16 There was an interesting and eclectic mix of antique and new.
17 There were so many antique stores and interesting shops to wander through.
18 This is a fascinating collection of antique mezuzot (plural of mezuzah) - the talismans that observant Jews place on their doorways.
19 We walked through the flea market and Daisy took interest in this array of menorahs.
20 Another shop was selling an antique gas mask, from one of Israel's many wars.
21 And antique shoe forms
22 This is a street in the old part of Tel Aviv - the architecture is fascinating.
23 There are several fabric shops and I was very impressed by the variety, like these beautiful textiles from India.
24 This gelato shop won 1st prize in all of Israel! I had a yummy lime-vodka gelato.
25 We found a wonderful market in Tel Aviv that sold a lot of Italian products. These are beautiful heirloom grape tomatoes.
26 They had many kinds of fungi.
27 And a good assortment of fresh pasta.
28 And also a fruit juice bar!
29 On our walk, we met a sweet French bulldog. I showed her owner how to log onto Francesca and Sharkey's blog, The Daily Wag. http://dailywag.marthastewart.com/ She was quite amused.
30 A home furnishings store had an amazing selection of glasses to choose from.
31 We visited Dallal Bakery, in Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek neighborhood - a fantastic place - they weren't expecting us, but we were so delighted by the variety of great bread and pastry. http://dallalcoil.rest-e.co.il/arest%20menu/c805.php
32 They had a wonderful assortment of both savory and sweet creations.
33 These little chocolate croissants were quite flaky and tasty.
34 They bake coffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and sugared pecan cream eclairs with glaze topping.
35 We were invited into the kitchen to see the production.
36 They were preparing quiches - cheese, sweet potato, onion, mushroom, red pepper, and cauliflower - very impressive!
37 Bakers notes on the tiled wall
38 A rack of freshly baked focaccia
39 These giant ovens rotate for even baking.
40 This machine is a pastry sheeter, which makes rolling out large pieces of dough a snap!
41 This baker is making a beautiful savory bread filled with cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.
42 Rolling the dough
43 Posing with Aner Zalel - chef-patissier - I'm wearing a green scarf I had just purchased in a boutique in Neve Tzedek.
44 We walked along the boardwalk in Tel Aviv.
45 Along the boardwalk, we found a restaurant called Boya.
46 Here I am with Chris at Boya.
47 Like nearly every meal in Israel, bread is served.
48 And of course, hummus - this delicious one was presented with crunchy chickpeas and fruity olive oil.
49 There were excellent roasted red peppers with hameiri cheese and taramosalata, a spread made with carp roe.
50 Crispy calamari rings, seasoned and fried with lemon
51 A plate of beet carpaccio topped with ceviche.
52 An assortment of sauteed wild mushrooms
53 This cauliflower was the best part of the meal. It was lightly fried and drizzled with a sweet and spicy chili sauce.
54 In Tel Aviv, shell fish is served a lot – note that it’s not kosher!
55 These meatballs were excellent.
56 And so were the roasted vegetables.
57 Shrimp with tomatoes and asparagus - Every meal in Israel was like this - Way too much food!
58 After a busy day of exploring Tel Aviv, we checked into the Tel Aviv Intercontinental Hotel, where we freshened up before heading out again. This is the Hassan Bek Mosque, built in 1916, by Jaffa's Turkish-Arab governor of the same name.
59 The view looking north towards the bustling city of Tel Aviv.
60 At 6pm, I sat down for an interview at the hotel. This apron was given to me by a reporter from USA TODAY. I was very honored.
62 And posing with Lydia Weitzman of the Israel Ministry of Tourism
63 Here I am with the very entertaining and charismatic reporter from the Hebrew language paper Yehdiot Aharonot - Maya Marom. She made me a lovely basket of delicious goodies!
64 Our flight back home was scheduled for later that night. Can you believe that we gathered that evening for yet another meal? Chris and Daisy at Mul Yam restaurant in Tel Aviv
65 And here I am
66 Skipping right to dessert - The confections were visually appealing and quite yummy. This is the Turkish Sting, a mascarpone mousse with Galilee nectarine, pistachios, and garnished with Kadayif curls.
67 There were several flavors of macaroons and pâtes de fruits.
68 And even something called a Fabergé egg! This is a hollow sugar ball filled with pistachio foam and fresh Israeli cherries.
69 It was very unusual!