Return tour
24,000km tour of friendship
Written by Friendship Arabia Team   
Friday, 22 August 2008 15:28

Back in Bahrain ... Ali Mushaima in his Land Rover  

From the Gulf Daily News, Bahrain: 

By Rebecca Torr  |  Bahraini traveller Ali Mushaima is now back in Bahrain after three months on the road promoting his country and friendship between nations.

The adventurer clocked up 24,110km as he travelled in a LR3 4X4 Land Rover through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Italy, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Scotland, the UK and back again to Bahrain.

The main aim of the 'Bahrain to Britain: Voyage of Discovery' road trip was to bridge the gap between East and West, as well as promote Bahrain's culture, civilisation and Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

The road tour began from the BIC, Sakhir, on May 23.

It officially concluded with a reception at the Bahrain Embassy in London on July 4 but the adventurer's promotion of Bahrain and friendship continued on the journey home.

"One of the highlights of the trip was meeting people that had lived in Bahrain in 50s, meeting Italian soccer legend Paolo Rossi, visiting Macedonia and Scotland and spreading friendship," Mr Mushaima told the GDN.

Unique hotel has caves for rooms
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 12:03

View from our hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey 

After leaving Istanbul, Turkey, on Sunday morning, we headed for Cappadocia, south of Ankara. The drive took us eight hours and we arrived at our destination just before sunset. 

We did a quick tour around, taking pictures, while at the same time looked for a hotel to stay for the night. Accommodation wasn't easy to find. 

While Ammar and Shafiq were busy taking pictures, I met a Spanish couple, Antonio and Christina, who told us about a very nice hotel called 1001 Nights. They gave us directions to the place, and it turned out to be quite the find. It was one of those unique hotels - you actually slept inside a cave in the mountain!

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. 

A forced change in plan
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Monday, 04 August 2008 22:59

We were invited to visit Lugano, Switzerland, again, and decided to do so on our way back to Bahrain.

Ammar and Shafiq were especially looking forward to seeing this beautiful town. Traffic was heavy as we left Annecy in France because of a major event there which included fireworks. 

When we got to the border, we were told that if we entered Switzerland, Ammar and Shafiq couldn't enter Italy (our next stop), since they had single-entry Schengen visas. France and Italy are both part of the Schengen group of countries, but Switzerland is not, so crossing the Swiss border would mean their single-entry Schengen visas were no longer valid.

Golden hour worth the wait
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Friday, 01 August 2008 23:19

Today was a relaxing day in Annecy, France. Not that we wanted it to be, but it was pouring rain most of the day. 

With very little to do, I put together some 360º Quicktime movies of our hotel room while we waited for a respite from the rain.

Fortunately the clouds cleared at the right time, at what we photographers call the golden hour. It's the time just before sunset and we had the chance to capture the colourful sky, the mountains and the lake in their full glory. 

Shafeeq and I went trigger happy and took many photographs of the lake and the surrounding areas.

The magic of Paris
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Thursday, 31 July 2008 22:36

View from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris 

Yesterday, Ali had to work on some logistics for the coming stops, so Shafeeq and I decided not to waste the day and headed to Paris from Brussels early in the morning. 

It was our first visit to Paris and we wanted to make the most of it. We reached Paris at about 9:30am and – thanks to Denis O'Dwyer's primer on the city – quickly got familiar with its efficient metro system. 

The first thing we did was to visit Basilique du Sacré-Cœur which lies at the highest point in Paris. It was a great place to start since you can see the whole city from up there and also witness one of its architectural and historical wonders.

Ambassador plays the perfect host
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 23:29

At the Bahrain embassy with Mr. Ghaffar and Mr. Ebrahim Abdulla 

We started our day by having a traditional Belgian breakfast, prepared by Denis O'Dwyer, along with a traditional Bahraini one with eggs and tomato, which is what the people of Bahrain usually have in the morning. 

Then we contacted the Bahrain embassy in Brussels and asked if we could come and meet the Ambassador, H.E. Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar. We had an immediate response back: Not only would the Ambassador be more than happy to meet up with us, he was also aware of the Friendship Arabia Tour.

After the meeting, Denis presented Mr Ghaffar with his book Colours of Bahrain. The meeting lasted an hour and we were very grateful to Mr Ghaffar for making the time and meeting us at short notice. 

Mr Ghaffar even invited us to have lunch or dinner with him tomorrow, but we had to decline as we will be on our way to France.

Later in the day, we decided to visit Brugge, a town described as Little Venice. After parking the Land Rover and buying our boat tickets, we met a Bahraini who initiated a conversation after noticing I was wearing a Bahrain International Circuit T-shirt.

 The team with Shaikh Nawaf bin Hamad Al Khalifa

We introduced ourselves during the tour - his name was Sheikh Nawaf Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa - and we had a good talk and took pictures with him.

After leaving Brugge, we drove back to our accommodation, had dinner and went to bed. We are looking Forward to our next destination, France, especially the Anncey area, which is close to Geneva.


A detour to Brussels
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Monday, 28 July 2008 23:13

Ali with Denis O'Dwyer and his book Colours of Bahrain, which featured the art of Abbas Al Mosawi

After four days of exploring Scotland, it was very hard to leave, but as it was, tickets for the ferry from Newcastle, England, to Amsterdam in the Netherlands had been booked. 

The drive from Perthshire to Edinburgh went smoothly, then we drove to Newcastle to take the ferry.

After check-in, we went to the top deck to enjoy the view, then after the ferry set sail, we had dinner, worked for a bit in our cabin and then went to bed.

After arriving in the Netherlands, we drove to Utrecht, a quiet and pretty town which is home to the famous Domkerk Church.

I had earlier accepted an invitation from a friend, Denis O'Dwyer to visit him in Brussels, so we drove on to Belgium. Denis published Colours of Bahrain, a book featuring the work of leading Bahraini artist Abbas Al Mosawi, last year. (More info at