Bedouins gave us clothes as we shivered…
Wandering around the busy bazaar in Sharm el Sheikh, we stumble across a tour stand selling excursions which were a bit more out of the box than the regular package holiday operator ones trying to squeeze fifty of you onto a coach.
Travelling with my younger brother we decided to book an excursion to climb Mount Sinai being 2,285m – 7,497ft high, otherwise known as ‘Moses’ mountain. We were informed it wasn’t a difficult trek just an easy walk and we needed trainers as footwear and a warm jumper. We could fulfil this – no problem and looked forward to our adventure ahead!
Mount Sinai was one of the most important sacred places in the Abrahamic religions. This is where Moses is believed to have received the Ten Commandments.
We were picked up from our hotel at 11.30pm to drive there in a 4×4 minivan with a handful of other Russian tourists. Being located in the Sinai Peninsula region. We arrived at the foot of the mountain in sheer darkness around 2am. It was very cold just sat in the van my brother had been sleeping the whole way there, and I had to wake him up when we arrived. He missed the van being search by armed soldiers as we passed into the Sinai border, pretty scary. Not sure what they were looking for.
We were dressed in combat style trousers, trainers, t-shirt and a hooded top, just as suggested. On arrival we were swamped by traditional Bedouin people as we exited the van, trying to sell us there gifts. We had the light of only a small, hand held torch and we followed our guide onwards and upwards. We started right next to St Catherine’s Monastery, taking the path of Lord Moses called ‘Siket Sayidna Musa’. It was an ancient path for the monks. The ground was very dusty and rocky and got very steep very quick. I felt like I had been walking up steps forever, my thighs were burning and it was taking up a lot of effort when my body just wanted to sleep. I didn’t really want to stop as there was so many people all trekking up the same staircase to reach the summit. There is supposed to be over 3,700 steps.
It took us about 2.5 hours to reach the top and it was still pitch black. There was plenty of Bedouins on hand with camels for people who had ran out of power or who were less able to take the path on the way up. We were told to get a good comfortable spot on the summit; we found a flat rock at the edge of the summit and sat down. Two Bedouin men came over and offered us clothing as we were shivering we were so cold. We took up the offer as my brothers lips were turning blue and he was falling asleep – slightly worrying. We both had big heavy, wool ponchos. We were so relieved to have the little bit of warmth and be comfortable, not worrying what we looked like. The temperature had dropped down to 3°C. After about 15 minutes of waiting sitting on a cold rock huddled together, the first light could be seen on the horizon, increasing more and more every few minutes. After an hour later, the sun rays hit some of the surrounding mountains and the colours that this light brought was an unforgettable experience. The stunning beauty of this sight was overwhelming all the visitors, some remaining breathless. The sun had soon light up all the surrounding mountains and the whole valley. We soon got up and made our way down the steep path being able to see where we had walked up, it was pretty amazing. We soon warmed up when we walked down from the rays of heat. We offered the clothes back to the Bedouins but they told us to keep them. I still have the poncho and it holds a lot of special memories – Who would have thought! Sun rising over Sinai is such a fantastic view that will never be forgotten by us both. An unforgettable experience, treasured forever. But if we ever visit again, a coat is recommended.
My Brother and i slightly more comfortable after being given ponchos to wear from the Bedouin men.