|Jaffa minaret overlooks Tel Aviv|
Monday 22: I expected to hate Tel Aviv but actually I very much like the city. It's a lively, largely secular, place spread along an idyllic Mediterranean seafront of fine sandy beaches, spotlessly clean, not busy and free to all. A stroll south along the promenade takes me to the headland of Jaffa and great views back along the high-rise backed beaches, where even the balcony of my room in Hayarkon 84 Hostel has a sea view. Behind the sea frontage the straight lines and smooth curves of the Bauhaus architecture pepper the city centre. Banned by the Nazis in Germany, this social housing style proliferated in Tel Aviv as development expanded in the 1930s and 40s.
Israel is another country where the paper currency looks like toy money. All the bank notes are the same size. The reddish 200NIS (New Israeli Shekel) note is the most valuable (about £32) and the 20NIS note the least (about £3). Shekel coins are all silver, the 10NIS coin looks more like a euro, but it's worth two (about £1.60).
Tuesday 23: In need of some supplies I walk to the city's main shopping mall, the Dizengoff Centre and, unusually for Tel Aviv, it's a non-smoking complex. However, much to my amusement, there are little glass booths on each level where as many as three crazy people can cram in to puff on a cigarette. They are so thick with smoke that I dub them 'fumeatoriums' and move on.
Thursday 25: The city Art Museum is where I first see Israeli art. It's good but I'm more seduced by the European works, much of it having escaped pre-war Germany in the 1930s. Some of the donated North American pieces appeal too.
Slideshow of Tel Aviv & Jaffa.