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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Greece Kalimira!
Written by Petra Beuchert   
Friday, 09 July 2010 11:24

 Taha feeds the seagulls

In case you're wondering what the headline means, it's "Good morning, Greece!"

Last night thunderstorms and heavy rainfall slowed down our journey and we decided to spend the night in a hotel near Tekirdag. The next morning, we completed the remaining 160 km to the Greek border. 

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Saying goodbye to wonderful Turkey
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Thursday, 08 July 2010 12:06

Crossing the Bosphorus bridge from Asia into Europe

Today we had to go to the Customs office, since Haider had entered Turkey by car and registered it in his passport, which meant he couldn't leave without the car. 

We went to Customs and with the help of a Bahrain embassy representative explained  the situation and they agreed to delete the car from his passport.

Later on, we said goodbye to Shafeek and Haider and we started our drive to the north via Istanbul. It was sad to say goodbye to our team members and even more sad to say goodbye to this beautiful country. The Turkish people had been very generous to us during our visit. The short stay we had in Turkey has been an amazing experience for us.

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Back with some familiar faces
Written by Petra Beuchert   
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 18:18

 Mrs Kavlak with the Friendship Arabia team

I arrived at Antalya airport in the early hours on Monday morning. I was to meet the Friendship Arabia team in Ankara that evening. Because it is my first visit to Turkey I decided to take the bus to Ankara, rather than a plane to see as much as possible of the country during my short visit.

It was great to see everybody with whom I had spent part of the 2008 Tour with again. On our second day in Ankara we first made a visit to the Turkish Ministry of Culture. We were greeted by Mrs. Berrin Kavlak (Head of Department for Phonetic Arts) who gave us a warm welcome and also a brief insight into their tasks of promoting and supporting Turkish artists. We were also presented with gift boxes with CDs of various Turkish musicians and instrumental pieces. 

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A dash to Ankara
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:36

Ali presents Mr Yilmaz a gift from the Bahrain Museum 

We left Capadocia in a rush to make it in time for an important meeting with the Head of Department of Culture and Museums and have dinner with the staff of the Embassy of Bahrain in Ankara. 

It was 3pm before we reached Ankara. We stopped at our hotel to check-in and pick up Petra who arrived earlier to join the team during our stay in Turkey. We're already on a tight schedule to meet up with Zulkuf Yilmaz, the Head of Department of Culture and Museums. We rushed to his office and did all the catching-up with Petra in the car. 

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Flying high in Capadocia
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 00:03

Up, up and away.... enjoying the balloon ride

It's our second day in Capadocia. After making sure that Haider's heath was good, Shafeeq, Taha and I bought tickets for the famous Capadocia balloon tours from the night before. Pick ups start at 5:00am, we were up and loaded with photo gear for an exciting ride. 

The driver took us to where they set up and launch the balloons. They also had breakfast served on site. It took only 15 minutes to go from a completely wrapped balloon to being boarded with tourists. 

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Turkey reveals a kind heart
Written by Archie D'Cruz   
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 14:22

Haider, right, with Dr Sinan Alkinis 

Early on Monday morning, one of our team members Haider Akbar took ill and we had to have him rushed to the hospital. It was around 4am, so we drove to the nearest big hotel and called the ambulance. It was there within minutes, and they drove us to Nevsehir's main hospital where Haider was admitted.

We went back to the hotel and then returned to the hospital around 8am, but were told he was still in the ECU and that we should come back in the afternoon. 

The next time we went back, Haider was feeling much better and we were allowed to see and talk to him. The staff of the hospital were friendly and very good to us. They told us they may have him stay there a day or two more, just to make sure that he was fine when he leaves.

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A beautiful night under the stars
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Sunday, 04 July 2010 18:20

Rock of Cappadocia 

Today we left Syria and we miss it already; our stay was full of excitement and adventure. We thank the people of Syria for their great hospitality.

Crossing the Syrian-Turkish boarder went smoothly and we then continued driving for about six hours to finally reach the majestic town of Cappadocia. Like always, the Turkish landscapes took our breath away and made the drive seem a lot shorter.

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A 4,000-year long journey
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Sunday, 04 July 2010 00:39

 Ali presents a gift to Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari

Another day and another city. Early today we arrived at Aleppo, pronounced 'Halab' in Arabic. Aleppo is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, it has known human settlements for at least 4,000 years. Such a long history is probably due its being a strategic trading point midway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates.

The first attraction we visited was the National Museum of Aleppo, it takes you on a journey through the history of Syrian civilizations. As with the previous museums we visited, it shows the historic significance of Syria.

We arrive at our hotel to find it packed with cars and visitors. It was holding an economic forum and Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari was taking part in it. We were lucky to get a few moments to show our appreciation and present His Excellency with a small gift from Bahrain.

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Salah ed-Din citadel a fabulous sight
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Saturday, 03 July 2010 00:11

The Citadel of Salah ed-Din 

We left our hotel in Latikia and drove to Slonfeh. It's a mountainous town very similar to Kasab, nice weather and very lively during this time of year. We headed straight to the Citadel of Salah Ed-Din, a UNESCO world heritage site and a spectacular architectural design.

The Citadel of Salah ed-Din is strategically situated in the mountains off the Syrian coast, approximately twenty-five kilometers east of Latakia on the way towards Aleppo. It stands on a long ridge encompassed by two gorges on either side creating a grandiose presence amongst the surrounding forested landscape. 

While the site was probably first settled during Phoenician times in the first millennium BC, the bulk of what survives today is from the early 12th century, Crusader period, including stone walls, high protective towers, and the presence of a moat. 

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Little Kasab a treat for visitors
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Friday, 02 July 2010 00:45

A restaurant in the middle of the forest leading to Kasab 

We had an easy day today, It has been a week since we left Bahrain and a proper rest was much needed. I took the chance to sort out my photos and work on assembling a Virtual 3D Tour. I'm working on something new that visitors to the site will hopefully like.

We left our hotel during the afternoon and visited the neighbouring little mountainous town of Kasab. It is lush with greenery and temperatures were ideal for summertime. No wonder it's the place where people from all around Syria and neighbouring countries choose to spend their summer. 

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Afamia rich in ancient history
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Thursday, 01 July 2010 05:06

The ruins of the ancient city of Afamia 

Early in the morning, we checked out of Dedeman and headed to the Ministry of Tourism and showed our appreciation for hosting us and all they had done to make our stay as comfortable as possible.

We drove for two hours to reach the Homs, where we had the chance to visit the government office and meet with its secretary general Ahmed Alnajar who wanted to know more about our expedition and arranged for a few journalists from local newspapers to meet us.

After leaving Homs, we had some time to visit an amazing archaeological site of the ancient city of Afamia.

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