Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mt. Sinai

Right now we are sitting in the Sharm al-Sheikh airport where they have free wireless internet (which happens to be extremely slow). Yesterday we hiked Mt. Sinai--we left our hotel at 1:30 a.m. and started hiking up the mountain. It was a pretty strenuous hike. We were sweating so much even though it was fairly cool outside. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to get to the top where we sat and waited for the sunrise. It was really quite cool. Because of the desert horizon it looked like the sun came up in the middle of nowhere. The sky blends into the sand and you can't tell where one ends and the other begins.

It was amazingly empty around Mt. Sinai, which makes sense because all it is is rock and sand. In fact, when we were walking down the "steps of repentance" (3000 some-odd steps coming 3/4 of the way down the mountain), we came across some plants and I was like, "What is that smell?" Andrew replied, "Plants." They were the first plants that we had seen the whole time here (besides a few random trees on the side of the road).

Also on the "steps of repentance" trail were a bunch of stacked rocks. It was remarkable--there were so many! We turned a corner and BAM, a ton of stacked rocks!

The Steps of Repentance, I'm assuming, are so named because they are absolutely treacherous! We were so tired on the way down that our legs were shaking with every step we took...and when we were standing still...it was rather painful. We were quite glad that we hiked up the camel trail (so named, I'm assuming, because of all the camels) in the dark because we never would have made it up all the uneven stairs alive!

After we were down Mt. Sinai, we went in to the Monastery and looked at the "burning bush." We were not really that impressed simply because it was just a bush (that was not burning) and because we were exhausted physically and also very sleepy. We finally got back to our hotel around noon where we promptly went to bed and slept until 6:30 pm.

We're about to take off for Luxor, so I suppose we should be off! We will try to post again sometime

The Sinai desert

Sunrise from Mount Sinai

The summit of Mt. Sinai full of people

Me adding to the thousands of stacked rocks

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