World racing champion Michael Schumacher greets expedition leader Ali Mushaima the night after sealing the 2004 Formula-1 championship in Monza, Italy. Picture Gallery


Bahrain's Friendship Tour of Arabia and Europe has ended on a high note, the nearly three-month journey concluding at the Formula-1 event in Monza, Italy. The Tour, chiefly aimed at spreading awareness and understanding of Bahrain and the Middle East, was also intended to promote this year's Formula-1 race in Bahrain, the only Middle Eastern country to stage the event.

A special highlight was a photo op with Ferrari superstar Michael Schumacher for expedition leader Ali Mushaima. Schumacher readily agreed to pose for pictures after learning about the unique 20-nation road journey from Bahrain. Schumacher has previously made known he considers Bahrain's Sakhir course among his favourite race tracks.

Ali Mushaima, publisher of and the Visitor's Complete Guide to Bahrain, led the team of adventurers, who included US journalist Deirdre Fitzgerald and Danish students Martin Joergensen and Christine Pagel.

The tour-on-wheels adventure took the Friendship team through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Venice, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and finally Italy.

The tour was made possible thanks to tremendous support by Gulf Air, MTC Vodaphone, Bahrain International Circuit (Formula 1), Bapco, Zayani Motors and Bahrain's 5-star hotels.

Full story | Reaching across borders

A winning Formula for tourism

Bahrain's tourist numbers are expected to hit new highs after the island drew tens of thousands of foreign visitors during the 2005 Formula 1 race, the second year in a row that the country was hosting the race. There were an estimated five million plus visitors in 2004, a record for the country.

Bahrain has come in for lavish praise from both F1 drivers and foreign fans. "The welcome we had was very warm and it was a very nice experience we all had here," said Michael Schumacher. The world champion also praised the Bahrain F1 circuit. "It's really taken care of all the problems we have in other circuits. I think it's a great success," he told the BBC.


Around the island in 24 hours

British travel photographer James Davis, a regular visitor to Bahrain, offers suggestions on what you can see and do if you have just 24 hours to explore. Full story

If you have planned a longer trip, you might like to read this.


101 Things to See and Do in Bahrain

Bahrain may be a small island, but there's so much to see and do. Our international team of writers offer you the 101 best picks. Full story


Looking for a Place to Stay?

Visitors to Bahrain are spoilt for choice, with more than 100 hotels to pick from, in every budget and style. One promise that applies to all hotels in Bahrain: you will be pampered by the famous Middle Eastern hospitality. Full story


Life in the Times Before the Oil Boom

Bahrain British Friendship Society committee member Lynn Collins recounts what it was like to live in Bahrain before the boom times ushered in by the surging price of crude oil. Full story


Hooked on Hookah: Arabic Cafes a Big Draw

For decades, the traditional 'ghahwa' with its Arabic coffee and shisha pipes was a hub for Bahraini males. Now, the coffee houses have gone upscale, attracting men and women of all cultures, and have become places to be seen in. Full story


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