Climbing Mount Sinai- Only 3749 Steps To Go…
Ouch! My feet hurt! But, at least I have something new checked off my Bucket List; I climbed a mountain!
Although the Sinai area of Egypt is not always considered to be safe, for me it was a must see; if only to visit the Saint Catherine’s Monastery. I am not religious, but I do enjoy a good story! Here’s a brief history: Moses came to the area with his people. He saw a burning bush, which told him to go to the top of the biggest mountain in Egypt to receive the Ten Commandments. Lucky for him, it was right next to the bush. Not so luckily, it was a long way up!
Today, many tourists make the pilgrimage up the mountain. Although Moses only had the option of trekking up, today, visitors can take a 2-hour camel ride if the walk is not appealing to them. Although the prospect of a camel ride was appealing, spending two hours of the grumpy and dirty creatures was not. Besides, I thought if Moses could do the trek in his sandals then it should be no big deal. Wrong.
3750 steps to the top. Oh, and that’s not including the numerous rocky outcrops. With an average of 30 stairs per storey in a building, that’s the same as walking up a 125 story building. They are appropriately named the 3750 stairs of repentance. Taking the more adventurous route seemed even less of a good idea as I looked down the mountainside from about 500 stairs up. I could easily see hundreds of camel riders taking the easier path and only three other people taking the ‘stairs’ up.
When I finally reached the top there was no 10 Commandments (what a surprise!), however, there was an adorably tiny church and groups of praying Jews. I arrived mere minutes before the sun started to go down, which was lucky, because I think the hike would have been a lot worse in the dark. The experience of watching the sun fall below the mountains was complimented well by the singsong prayers.
It wasn’t long before the sun was gone and it was time to head down again. The camels were long gone, so the only way down was on foot. The trek down was significantly more difficult then the walk up for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the darkness made it really hard to see where I was going. I had no idea that I would be descending in the dark, so I did not bring a flashlight. Secondly, I was exhausted! 125 stories in the 35 degree weather, with the sun beating down on you is not simple, and I wanted nothing more than to sit down. Instead, it was an hour long hike back down the mountain. When I finally got back to my hotel, I was asleep within minutes! I wonder if Moses was this tired?