|Tel Aviv's seaside from Jaffa.|
Tel Aviv is to Israel what San Francisco is to America: urbane and open, a center of enlightened thought, creativity and cutting edge attitudes by the sea. It embodies what the new Israel could be, much to the chagrin of ultra conservative factions.
|Creativity comes in all forms in Tel Aviv.|
Tip: Tel Aviv is a city best seen on foot. Most of it is pretty flat, but if you aren't up to it, hire a car and driver.
What to see
|Founding 66 families of Tel Aviv survey their new home in 1909.|
This is where 66 families gathered April 11, 1909, to draw for plots of what then were merely sand dunes. To see what resulted from nothing is impressive, but it is the independence part of the story that resonates.
|Visitors sit where the state of Israel was declared.|
Tip: Independence Hall is on the first floor; steps minimal.
Sheinkin Street is where to party or so I'd been told, but urban renewal had torn up the street. The party had moved elsewhere when I was there in January. Should be back by now.
|A typical street in Neve Tzedek.|
|Tachana is much more welcoming when the sun shines.|
|Kitchenware from Soho.|
Jaffa is to Israel as St. Augustine is to America, the oldest city. In fact, it's one of the oldest cities and ports in the world, 4,500-plus years old vs. Jerusalem's 3,500. Cedars from Lebanon for Solomon's temple came through the port that Jonah sailed from when he encountered the whale. Later, Peter is said to have experienced a vision from God that prompted him to accept Gentiles into the new Christian church.
Look at the elevation of the current port and that of the Mediterranean Sea to get an idea of how many previous cities you are walking on.
What to see
|Old Jaffa's steps are no problem for Levelers with a balance aid.|
|The pulpit at St. Peter's is carved as a tree.|
|Jaffa's revenge on Napoleon.|
Tip: There are 6 steps down to the chapel and 15 steps down to Napoleon's room, part of the 12th century church.
|Look down into old Jaffa at Jaffa Tales.|
|Many levels of interest at Ilana Goor Museum.|
Fascinating, surprising and absorbing, these very personal spaces will stay with you longer than many historical sites. There's a store where, if your pockets are deep, you can pick up a piece or two of her work.
|The charm and view from Ilana Goor's rooftop is worth the climb.|
• 17 steps between each floor
• 25 steps to the rooftop
• 18 very tricky spiral steps from the museum's first floor down to the gift shop which you can avoid by going out the front door and walking around to the side.
|The Clock Tower.|
Head for the The Clock Tower, one of 100 erected throughout the Ottoman Empire to commemorate the 25th year of the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Walking away from the sea and you'll encounter streets of "collectibles" shops and flea markets.
|Enter a shop, ask a few questions, haggle a bit, whip out a camera and you have new friends like these at Lou Lou.|