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Adventures of a short vet

Climbing Mount Sinai

EGYPT | Wednesday, 30 June 2010 | Views [1163]

Not that Dr Nick exerted himself much

Not that Dr Nick exerted himself much

Another 4:30am start for a loooong bus-drive through rocky desert and roads filled with checkpoints guarded by heavily-armed soldiers. I tried to stay awake to take in the scenery but was soon lulled to sleep by the never-ending scrub, rocks and sand. We arrived at the town of St Catherine just after lunch and the girls and I ate the buns and jam “borrowed” from breakfast time. We retired to our rooms for a quick rest (from all that tiring sleeping in the van) to prepare for our 2 hour hike up Mount Sinai, where God revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses.

At the start of the hike we fixed our eyes on a little monument built WAAAY up on a mountaintop…and then proceeded to continue to climb past it to an even HIGHER mountaintop. Aly & Jackie weren’t feeling too well and decided to take the camels to the foot of the 700 steps, while we hustled off, keen to get to the top of the mountain before the other Intrepid group in order to get some photos unmarred by strangers. A couple of people from the other group decided to head up via the “3700 Steps of Repentance”, assuming they are so named because you will repent ever taking them!

The slope wasn’t too bad, and we plodded up the trail while our fearless leader disappeared “off trail” only to reappear on some random section of the path, looking very pleased with himself. I opted for the “slow but steady approach”, which paid off as he was soon stuffed by the time we arrived at the steps. Not so fit after all!

After passing several little shops that dotted the hillside, we waited at the foot of the steps for the camel-riders to catch up. Aly arrived slightly traumatized as her camel apparently like to make a break for it when the guide’s back was turned, and then attempt to commit suicide by running over a cliff! We then made the final trek up the uneven stony steps to the top of the mountain where a (still functional) church perched alongside another shop, where random salesmen were offering tea and coffee. None of us were interested in purchasing their overpriced food or drink, and one guy even got grumpy about it, yelling “no thank you, no thank you!” repeatedly at us. He whinged at an Aussie chick from the other group about how difficult it was to run a shop when no-one bought anything, to which she replied, “Well, maybe setting up a shop on top of a deserted mountaintop is not the best location!” ZING!

We took some nice photos of the sunset over the mountaintops, enjoying the serenity until a large group of tourists turned up at the last minute. It was pretty funny watching a random Asian guy in a safari hat being filmed for some sort of documentary, or very elaborate home video. We then headed down the mountain while it was still light enough to see the steps and avoid breaking any limbs, continuing down in a trail of torches and headlamps bobbing along like little stars in the dark. It was half 9 by the time we arrived back at the resort where our buffet dinner and a couple of overpriced beers awaited us.

Tags: mount sinai, sunset


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