Egypt 4

Trip Start Jun 24, 2007
1
33
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Trip End Jan 15, 2008


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Sunday, October 28, 2007

EGYPT:  CLIMBING MOUNT SINAI
 
Can't believe we made it - but we did.  Got up at 1.30am to make the 8km climb by sunrise. Petrina and I cheated just a tad by climbing on to the back of a camel for about a third of the way and barged our way passed the weary footsloggers. Just as well it was pitch dark, as these camels have a tendency to walk right on the edge of the rocky path and one doesn't want to be able to see the frightening drop down, just a few centimetres away. It was freezing cold and we welcomed the pit stop in a smokey Bedouin tent for a hot strong coffee before attempting the last and steepest bit, consisting of no less that 750 uneven rocky steps.
Gladly hired a thick blanket each as we reached the summit and sat huddled together to watch the sunrise over the mighty Sinai desert and a sea of massive, lifeless mountains. Saw the church of St.Catherine perched up high on one of the cliffs and listened to many religious groups as they chanted their prayers or sang harmonious hymns in little groups. Quite moving and one feels really insignificant in the greater realm of things in amongst this huge expanse of mountain and desert in the middle of nowhere.
Dived into the Bedouin's tent again as we started the decline and had to really urge ourselves to get out of the temporary comfort and head to the bottom.  Took the shorter, steeper route, stepping down narrow canyons via huge rocky steps (literally thousands of them!)  Knees and hips will never be the same!! After climbing the Amphitheatre in the S.African Drakensberg and now Mount Sinai, we can comfortably say that our 'climbing days' are over.  Don't even think of inviting us to join you on your next climb!!!
Climbed into a welcome breakfast and then visited the St.Catherine's monastery (one of the oldest in the world)  before packing up and making our way back to the Red Sea Coast, this time to Dahab.
Had a bit of a run in with a Bedouin trader before we left,  but eventually we came to an agreement and ended with a handshake and a friendly smile for each other.  He's the one in the picture - (that's after we've made friends!)
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