Intrepid traveller Ali Hussain Mushaima is well-known for his unique Friendship Arabia tours - journeying by road from Bahrain to various corners of the world. The message has remained the same right from the time he launched his first trip, a 3-month drive to Europe, many years ago: spread the word about Bahrain, its people and all it has to offer. Ali's newest tour, a two month journey from June 23, 2010, is titled: "Tylos to Thassos, Voyage of Discovery".


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Tour ends, but memories will live on
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Saturday, 31 July 2010 11:07

With outside temperatures well over 40C, a water truck cools the road to prevent the asphalt from melting 

On Thursday morning Khadija, who works in the hotel Rosa Damascina, made us breakfast and hotel owner Ahmad Sadat, who was also our guide during our last visit to Syria en route to Greece, came and had a coffee with us and wished us all the best for the long drive back.

It is very hard to leave Syria. Every time we visit this country, especially the capital, I am reminded of the quote by Ibn Jubair: "If there was a heaven on earth, it would definitely be Damascus." It is considered one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities in the world. 

Syria is also described as the most outstanding country in the world because it underlies the history of humankind in time and place. A journey through Syria becomes a journey of discovery filled with constant wonder due to the various arts, culture, civilizations and sense of beauty, and especially due to the overwhelming generosity of Syrian hospitality.

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A scenic stopover at Nigde
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 15:30

Nigde Fort 

After spending the night at Nigde for much needed rest, we visited Nigde Fort which used to serve as a jail in the republican era. The fort was completely restored in 2007.  

Since it is on a hill, it has become a popular spot for locals and tourists to sit and dine and look over the city.

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Farewell to Greece
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Monday, 26 July 2010 17:50

Sea view from Chora Samothrace 

Yesterday we left Greece en route to Bahrain. We spent our last day walking around the little town of Chora, the capital of Samothrace. 

We had a light lunch before heading to the port where we took a ferry to Alexandroupolis. It was a relatively short drive to the border. Crossing the Greek-Turkish border went very smoothly.

It was sad leaving Greece, we had such a great time there. The Greek people and government were very hospitable. We enjoyed the places we visited and we will miss our old friends and the ones we were very fortunate to meet this time around.

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Samothrace a real tour find
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 25 July 2010 05:20

 Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace

After we left Philippi, we drove to Alexandroupoli, to take the ferry to Samothrace – it is just over a two-hour journey. After our arrival, we drove to our hotel, Samothrace Village on the main road, next to the sea.

Samothrace is located in the northeast Aegean, opposite Alexandroupoli, 29 nautical miles distant. It belong to the Perfecture of Evros and covers an area of 178 sg. km, with population of 5,000. It is still relatively untouched by mass tourism. It was first inhabited in the Neolithic era, in around 1000 BC Thracian colonisers came here, intermarrying with the indigenous population.

Afte we woke up the next morning, we drove to the Samothrace Museum for a tour and also visited the sanctuary, which attained its zenith in Hellenistic times. Then we drove to Therma for lunch and refreshment, after which we went to a small waterfall and met some locals who advised us to go to see the big waterfalls.

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Digging into prehistoric times
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Friday, 23 July 2010 19:55

 

 

Take the 360º virtual tour of Dikli Tash

Ali and I woke early this morning to catch the ferry leaving Thassos to the mainland, and headed to Philippi where we were to get a tour of the Dikili Tash excavation site.

We got there and Dr. Demetra and Dr. Zoe showed us around and gave us a brief history about the excavation that started during the 1920s and the significance of the site. 

We were also lucky to meet the Mayor of Philippi, Mr. Lazaros who wanted to check the progress of the excavation and got the chance to talk to him about future cooperation and he was more than happy to help in any way he can.

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Time to plan the return journey
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Thursday, 22 July 2010 19:28

 The water at Saliara beach has a distinctive green appearance because of the marble sand

It's been a few easier days here in Thassos, and we took this time to wind down a little and plan the return route. Ali was busy looking at different options and as for me, I got hired to do a virtual tour for the hotel we stayed at earlier (Blue Dream Palace).

Yesterday, we visited Saliara (baby bib) Beach which was recommended to us by many locals. Its water has a distinct green appearance since the sand here is  marble rather than the regular sand found at other beaches. 

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Cheers (again) to Thassos!
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Monday, 19 July 2010 19:31

 The LR3 passes the off-road test with flying colours

This is our second day in Thassos since we started our trip back to Bahrain. Earlier this morning Taha and I had breakfast at a restaurant called Cheers, owned by an English couple who visited the island a while back and got caught in its charm and decided to stay and call it home.

While the island is known for its spectacular beaches, it's also a popular spot for hiking. After breakfast, all of us went off-roading, trying to reach the highest peak of the island. We were very close but unfortunately the end of the road was completely out of reach and we couldn't continue. 

The LR3 did an admirable job cutting through the forest and unpaved roads, not a complete surprise but an excitement nonetheless. We took plenty of photos like we always do.

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Almost like being home
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 18 July 2010 18:06

A church and mosque exist close to each other in Krios 

With our trip to Greece drawing to an end, Eleni, a friend of ours, suggested we visit Xanthi to see some old houses, and a small village called Krios, to see the tobacco plantations and some mosques, since the majority of the people in this village are Muslim.

We got the midday ferry to Keromoti and from there we drove to Xanthi. We were met on our arrival by Feni, Eleni's sister, and we went to a coffee shop and since it was hot (35C), we had some soft drinks. We then walked to the old city of Xanthi and saw some of the houses, which were built by some tobacco merchants.

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Out and about on the islands
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Saturday, 17 July 2010 19:05

Antigoni shows some of her latest work 

We left Thessaloniki at 9am and drove to Kavala to meet Antigoni, an award-winning Greek jewellery designer, who showed us some of her latest work. We came to know her when she was exhibiting at Jewellery Arabia in Bahrain last year.

Later we drove to the port of Kavala to take the ferry to Prinos, another port in Thassos. We reached around 1.15pm and drove to Mironi Hotel, our base for the next three days. We met Yiannis Batsios and his wife Eleni, who I know from my 2008 trip and who have become good friends. Yiannis is very interested in promoting Thassos and he gave us all the information that we need and told us about all the places worth seeing on the island.

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A virtual tour of Meteora
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Friday, 16 July 2010 18:18

As promised in an earlier post, here's a virtual 360º tour of Meteora. Enjoy! 

 

 

 
Hot springs and a warm welcome
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Friday, 16 July 2010 17:03

 Ammar being interviewed by Mega TV about his 360º virtual tours

We started our day by meeting Paul and Chris from Mega TV, a Greek TV channel which has been following the Friendship Arabia Expeditions.

After a good conservation, we went down to the car and did two interviews, a general one with me about the trip and one with Ammar about the tour and the 360º virtual images that he specialises in. 

They also told us about a Greek couple who is travelling around the world (more on them at their website www.theworldoffroad.com).

After we said goodbye to them, we started our drive towards Edessa and from there to Pouzar, which has waterfalls and hot springs which come from the mountain. 

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