Mountain of Myths

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As a traveller-tourist you are quite likely to visit sights that have become a tourist cliché; millions have gone before you and if judgement day is not due tomorrow millions will follow. Mount Sinai is one of those tourist clichés and I like to believe for good reasons. The mountain is considered holy and whatever your faith or creed you just want to check it out, if only it was to see what all the fuss is about. Supposedly on these holy grounds one of the great prophets witnessed and conversed with God through a burning bush and received the moral code for his people, which still forms the moral and religious foundation for the beliefs of around 2 billion people today. It was a(n almost) full moon the night we entered the Protectorate to hike to the summit via the Camel Trail, with some shortcuts here and there, which was an enjoyable, moderately intensive tw- hour workout. The Trail ends 300m from the summit where the journey upwards is completed by ascending via some rocky steps which are well taxing to climb. It took me an eternity to reach the summit, which I would describe as a multi layered plateau. Our guide directed us to a good spot to lay down the mattresses we rented together with blankets just below the summit, from which we could witness the dawn of a new day. I was wearing fifty thousand layers of clothes but the icy wind still made it too cold to sleep during the remaining few hours until sunrise. I wasn’t that impressed with the sunrise. I expected a multi- coloured spectacle in the sky, one you can imagine with a beautiful sunset. I don’t know if it had to do with that particular day or that sunrises on Mount Sinai are just not that impressive. The real treat was yet to come though; descending via the Steps of Repentance. The Steps look like a natural staircase, which have been carved out by a monk according to mythology. The views on the way down are absolutely stunning and the journey demands a fair amount of concentration not to misplace one’s feet especially since I’ve barely slept and felt quite light-headed. Descending down the Steps you have a good view of St Catherine’s Monastery at which we arrived just after nine o’clock and where a small crowd was making its way to the entrance. Only a small part of the Monastery is open to the public. The little church is very impressive and the small museum is set up very well with an interesting collection of religious art, antique bibles, chalices, crosses and the like. And then there is the burning bush. Apparently it is the original bush that has been transplanted from a location within the Monastery and one has build a chapel on the place where the bush had originally grown. The bush looked pretty normal to me and in darn good shape for a specimen that’s more than 3000 years old, but then this bush is holy. When we made our way to the exit, which was the entrance at the same time, we had difficulties getting out as crowds of people made an attempt to find their way through the very narrow entrance/exit and the crowds kept on coming when we made our way towards our mini bus. On the journey back to Dahab I caught glimpses of the Sinai landscape before falling into a coma and thinking what a beautiful creation this part of the world is.

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About Lemba

Non-conformist Writing Soul and Language Geek from the Lowlands with a South London accent, currently living a nomadic, location- independent lifestyle. While executing the Big Fat Writing Plan I’m invading cyberspace with my views on 'expat living', travel and other lifestyle choices, current affairs and other randomness. Welcome to the Dark Fairy Zone.

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