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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Oman's terrain a study in contrasts
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Friday, 03 April 2009 00:00

Omani standing at the gate of Nizwa fort

 

This morning we were sad to bid farewell to what had been our “home from home” at Hamad bin Nasser Al Hashimi’s traditional Omani village in Bahla. We planned to visit the famous Al Hoota caves nearby. Unfortunately, due to the heavy rains, the caves were closed for safety reasons and a “Plan B” was required. Happily our guide Mohammad had the perfect alternative; a trip to Wadi Tanuf, a short drive from Bahla.

The approach to Wadi Tanuf took us past the ruins of the old village of Tanuf. Nestled at the foot of mountains, it is a maze of the remains of a hundred or more old buildings and makes an excellent place to explore on foot before heading to the Wadi itself. 

Arriving at the wadi we realized there was a benefit to the rains of the past few days; the wadi was full of rushing water, the vegetation lining the banks was a rich green and a beautiful waterfall was a cascade of shimmering, crystal clear water. 

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A taste of Omani hospitality
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Thursday, 02 April 2009 14:23
View from Saiq Plain at top of Jebel Akhdar

 

Omani hospitality is world renowned. And our experience this week has been no exception. In fact, we've spent the last two nights enjoying the hospitality of Hamad bin Nasser Al Hashimi at his Traditional Village on the outskirts of the town of Bahla. 

Mr Hamad is 17 years into a 20 year project to create a cultural centre celebrating traditional Omani crafts; providing a place where tourists can learn about Omani culture while enjoying a range of facilities. When it's completed, there'll be 45 guest rooms in traditional, Bedouin and modern styles, a Bedouin area show casing Bedouin life including live stock and farming techniques and a hall for enjoying traditional Omani food and drinks. 

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Oman's spectacular forts
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Wednesday, 01 April 2009 00:00
Rustaq Fort is a labyrinth of stairs and rooms, and it's easy to lose one's way

 

After rounding off the day yesterday in the excellent company of friends Brid Beleer and her husband Richard, we were relaxed and recharged ready for a full day of touring today.

Before I came to Oman I naively thought that once you’ve seen one fort you’ve seen them all; how wrong could I be. Oman is a land replete with forts seemingly perched on every mountainous outcrop; they come in all shapes and sizes and we were fortunate to see three superb examples today. 

The first, located in Nakhl (meaning palm trees), an hour and a half’s drive out of Muscat, is nestled atop a rocky out crop, surrounded by palm groves, with majestic mountains as its backdrop. After yesterday’s downpours kept us largely indoors, it was wonderful to be able to explore the well restored rooms and ramparts of the fort. And the reward for my climb to the highest point in the fort was a stunning view.

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A very rainy day in Muscat
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 09:16
A fort and mosque in the port town of Mutrah, just outside Muscat

 

Greetings from a very wet Oman where we're in the middle of a cyclone! Despite the bad weather we sensed immediately that Oman makes a fantastic holiday destination; an abundance of greenery and the glorious backdrop of rocky, purple hued mountains surrounding the capital city of Muscat make it picture perfect for budding photographers and holiday makers alike.

Even in the face of this atrocious weather, the Omani people have not lost their sunny smiles; we've seen youngsters playing football on the very soggy beach near to our hotel in Qurum, that in better weather would make a wonderful spot for swimming, and people still braving the corniche for their afternoon stroll, undeterred by the atrocious weather.

We started the day early, greeted by grey skies but the weather held long enough for us to visit the Grand Mosque in the dry; a must see destination for any visitor to Muscat. 

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The start of a new Gulf tour
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Monday, 30 March 2009 10:52

Archeologists Dr Alan Walmsley and Anne Mette

 

We started the latest leg of the Friendship Tour on Saturday, March 28, driving from Bahrain through Saudi Aradia to Doha. After an uneventful drive we spent the rest of the day in Doha City enjoying the sights. 

In the evening we met our friends Denis and his wife Malou who live in Qatar. On Sunday morning we met the Charge d'Affaire of the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia in the State of Qatar, Shaban Jashari who kindly invited us to go to Macedonia in this summer and we thanked him for his great hospitality and his assistance on Ali's visit to Macedonia last year.

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Retracing some famous footsteps
Written by Claire Reeler   
Sunday, 08 February 2009 13:48
The Friendship Tour team at Tarut Fort

 

In the early 1960s Geoffrey Bibby and the Danish archaeologists from Moesgaard Museum working in Bahrain were able to get permission to visit the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia on the invitation of workers from Aramco. In 1968 they got permission to conduct some more extensive survey and excavation on the exciting sites that they had discovered during their preliminary explorations. Following in their footsteps, the Friendship Tour team crossed the causeway into Saudi Arabia with the early morning commuter traffic and headed to the island of Tarut, just north of Dammam.

Tarut is joined to the mainland by a short causeway and we were able to admire the flamingos feeding in the shallows. It is a very important site for the region with long connections through history and prehistory to Bahrain. Tarut was closely linked both in terms of population and trading activities with Bahrain throughout the last few thousand years. We know this from many historical accounts, but the enormous antiquity of these links was demonstrated by the Danish archaeologists from Moesgaard Museum, when they found Dilmun pottery in their excavations below Tarut Fort.

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More pictures from Kuwait
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Monday, 24 November 2008 12:33
Danish archaeologist Dr. Flemming Hojlund at work in Failaka Island, Kuwait.
Setting up camp on the island
 
Launch of a regional tour
Written by Roy Kietzman   
Sunday, 23 November 2008 10:35
From left, Peter Bye Jensen, Camilla Bjarnoe and Dr. Flemming Hojlund in Failaka Island, Kuwait.

 

Ali with the Danish team in Failaka 

Following in the footsteps of the Danish archaeological expedition of the 1950s, intrepid traveller Ali Mushaima has arrived in Kuwait for a three-day overland voyage with his Land Rover.

He met the Danish archaeologists from Moesgard Museum currently working on Kuwait's island of Failaka where the successors of Alexander the Great built a temple and a fortified city.

The Expedition to Kuwait is the first leg of an overland  trip in January, taking him to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman to visit the digs of ancient sites that the Danes unearthed in the 1950s and 1960s.

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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.

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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!

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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. 

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