Spreading friendship through song
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Friday, 27 June 2008 21:58

Ali, centre, with Gen Rosso band director Valerio Gentile, right, and another band member 

Today, I met Stefania Tanesini, who is the press officer for Focolare (see previous post) before going to visit the Gen Rosso ROSSO Band. Valerio Gentile and members of the band have travelled around Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America to promote friendship through music, so we do share a common goal.

The band  gave me a warm welcome and spoke about how pleased they were to meet someone who shared the ideals. They also mentioned that they would be very happy to do a concert or two in Bahrain or elsewhere in the Gulf, if there is interest.

A meeting with a soccer legend
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Thursday, 26 June 2008 21:25

Ali with Paolo Rossi, second from right, and friends Luca and Lucia 

After spending a nice day in the village and the hotel, my friends Luca and  Lucia and I drove to a small village 30 km south of Florence called Loppiano to meet the people of an organisation called Focolare. This group had learnt about the Friendship Tour and wanted us to come and see what they do.

In the morning, we had a meeting with the directors who showed us around the centre, where people come from all around the world simply to live and work together.

After a good lunch at the centre, we drove to meet Paolo Rossi, the soccer legend who was instrumental in Italy winning the 1982 World Cup. Rossi learnt about the expedition from Luca and very kindly invited us to his holiday farm with its beautiful villas. 

I did a brief interview with him and he spoke about how much he loved this area. I invited him to come to Bahrain and perhaps visit some of the schools and do some charity work and he accepted it.

Tomorrow I will meet the communication director of Focolare and we will talk about how we can work together on our common goal, which is to promote friendship between people.

With people from all around the world at Focolare 

One of Italy's best-kept secrets
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008 21:45

The Stella Maris Hotel, accessible only by boat, is a favourite with artists and poets 

After leaving my Venice hotel (which is a destination in itself, especially for meetings and conferences), I went to the car park, paid 60 euro for two days' parking, and drove to one of Italy's best kept secrets. 

This is a village called Camogli, 20 km east of Genoa, with its 'small tall' old buildings and its pretty harbour. 

I went to see Luca Moretti and his wife Lucia Oliva, who I had first met in Bahrain during the Bahrain International Travel Exchange (BITE) in May. They own and run a tailormade tours operation (see 

Land Rover gets a rest in water city
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 22 June 2008 22:42

 The Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is a city landmark

After three days in Corfu, Greece, I took the ferry to Venice, Italy, where I had an invitation from the Hilton Molino Stucky Hotel. 

After the near constant driving of the past few weeks, having to spend 28 hours in the ferry felt even longer. It was hard to kill time... though I managed to catch up with some reading, spent some time on the internet, enjoyed some good food and made new friends. 

There is a swimming pool on deck, but if you've just come from Corfu with its beautiful beaches, you really do not want to swim in a small pool.

As the ferry got closer to shore in Venice, my eyes were drawn to a very attractive old building and a city landmark – this was the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice where I would be staying.