Monday, January 24, 2011

Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011

Lonely Planet has published their top ten cities to visit this year. This is not interesting (unless you are planning on travelling a lot, which I am not).

But there are two very interesting things on this list.

One, is that Wellington makes the number 4 spot. I like Wellington a lot. I was born there, and grew up in Lower Hutt, which for Lonely Planet People is probably just about the same thing. I spent a lot of time in Wellington.

But it is not even the most exciting place in the North Island! Let alone in New Zealand. Forget about the world! I feel sorry for some poor person who comes all the way to New Zealand just to see the giant squid in Te Papa museum (but I must admit, it is quite large)! Even the locals are befuddled and bemused.

But what is more interesting (to most of your readers) is the city in the number 3 spot. Lonely Planet gives that honour to Tel Aviv! Forget about Jerusalem, Tiberias, Bethlehem, Safed or any of those 'old' places. Check out Tel Aviv. It is quite an eye-opener to see how others view our country. Read what they wrote about the city. Then be glad you don't live there (or be glad that you do live there, or realise that reality and their impression of the city may not be identical).

Tel Aviv is the total flipside of Jerusalem, a modern Sin City on the sea rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill. Hedonism is the one religion that unites its inhabitants. There are more bars than synagogues, G-d is a DJ and everyone’s body is a temple. Yet, scratch underneath the surface and Tel Aviv, or TLV, reveals itself as a truly diverse 21st-century Mediterranean hub. By far the most international city in Israel, Tel Aviv is also home to a large gay community, a kind of San Francisco in the Middle East. Thanks to its university and museums, it is also the greenhouse for Israel’s growing art, film and music scenes.

There you have it. Welcome to Israel, where G-d is a DJ! Just don't tell Amnon Yitzchak!