Ok…so I stole that from Lonely Planet..but it is kind of funny.
I am talking about summiting Mt. Sinai: the biblical mountain where Moses received the 10 commandments. It is a popular tourist destination and for some reason unclear to us…it must be hiked at night to witness the sun rise. Matt and I are never the kind to turn down a hike, so we signed up for the tour!
We started ascending at 1:00am under a beautiful full moon. There was really no need for a flashlight as the moon and the shooting stars did a great job of illuminating the path. We took the path less travelled which meant the 9 of us on the tour were the only ones on the trail. The lack of trees enabled the rocky landscape to reflect the moon and made for a peaceful ascent.
We got to the top at 3:30am for the 6:00am sunrise! I was confused why so early myself, but our guide got us nicely ensconced on some comfy matts with warm blankets and we all fell asleep for 2 hours. I awoke quite suddenly to the sound of a bugle (?) and people speaking Spanish crowded around us. It would seem the early arrival allowed for the best seats in the house. While we layed down comfy and warm under the blanket the hordes of Mexican and Russian tourists jostled for position for the big show. We both really enjoyed the tinny sounds of Spanish music being played from someone’s iphone while all the Mexican tourists sang along…standing/sitting RIGHT ABOVE US!
The sun rise was beautiful and well worth the trip to see it. It was incredible how quickly the world got warm when the big star came above the horizon. We waited for everyone to leave the top of the mountain and took a different path down.
At the base of the mountain is St Katherine’s monastery where the famed burning bush is stored. You know the one… God appeared to Moses in said flaming bush and told him to ascend to the top of the nearby mountain to get some commandments etc… we saw the bush but it appeared to be turned off. I didn’t take any photos of the foliage because there wasn’t much to look at..in fact..find a plant in wherever you are right now to look at and that should do for an accompanying image.
We are both still a little confused why hundreds of tourists ascend the mountain everyday for the sunrise, but neither of us are disappointed we did it (despite the lack of burning shrubbery) if for no other reason than the beautiful view!