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Thassos is a fantastic discovery
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Saturday, 09 August 2008 15:14

The newly installed tram system in Istanbul

We left Corfu on Wednesday morning, taking the ferry to Igoumenitsa in mainland Greece. We then drove to Kavala, in the north of the country, and  took another ferry to Thassos island. 

Thassos isn't heavily promoted like Santorini, Mykonos and other famous Greek islands, but it is green and beautiful and definitely worth visiting.

It took us just a few hours to fall in love with the place. The people are extremely friendly, the food is excellent, the hotels are cheap, the beaches are beautiful and the forests very green. 

After a good night's rest at the hotel, we were ready the next morning for a full tour of the islands.

Breakfast was at the Cheers restaurant, which is run by an English couple. They had initially visited the island for a holiday and fell in love with the place, so they returned and opened a restaurant. 

After a very satisfying breakfast, we drove around the island. Every 3 km or so, we would come across a nice, clean beach. Olive trees are everywhere. Accommodation is very reasonable - you can find a nice three-star hotel for 60 euro for a double room. 

We were using a local map to get around, and while we were driving, we noticed the name Iris Jewellery - the same as the map's sponsor. Bahrain is famous for its gold jewellery and I've always had an interest in this, so we decided to go in and have a look at their work.

We were given a warm welcome by Fani, who works there, and she was kind enough to give us a tour and also showed us the workshop. It is an amazing place with beautifully designed, high quality jewellery. We noticed that almost every single person who entered the shop while we there went on to buy something.

Thassos island is a big discovery for me personally. I have been to a lot of the islands in Greece, but this was the first time I visited Thassos. It certainly won't be the last. We made a lot of new friends and told them about our Friendship Arabia Tour.

On Friday, we left Thassos (we miss it already!) and took the 10 am ferry to mainland Greece. We drove to the Greece-Turkey border, and then continued another 240 km or so to Istanbul. We checked into a hotel in the city centre which was only 200 metres from the Blue Mosque. It had been a long drive, so we had dinner and went to bed.

This morning, after a good breakfast on the hotel rooftop (overlooking the Blue Mosque), we walked to the Ayasofya mosque (Hagia Sophia). We had an excellent tour, then Ammar and Shafiq went to the museum and I went back to the hotel.

Istanbul is a beautiful city with a rich history and many places to see and explore.

Late in the afternoon we walked to the Sultan Ahmet Mosque and toured around before returning to the hotel.

We will have an early night tonight. Tomorrow, we will head for the Syrian border. 

Syria is the place I fell in love since my childhood. I will spend three days there and then drive to Jordan for a day, before continuing on to Saudi Arabia and finally Bahrain, where we should arrive either on Friday or Saturday.