Hi friends! Long time no talk!! Hope you are all doing fibbity fab :)
I have been in Egypt for about 6 days now, and haven’t done one blog post yet…sorry about that. I’ve been busy catching up with the fam, doing lots (and lots) of activities, and meeting new friends.
We’re having a bit of a chill day, so I thought I would take some time to catch you guys up on what I’ve been up to :)
Climbing Mount Sinai
If you read my last post, you will know that I had a bit of a nightmare of a time getting to Egypt, including multiple cancelled and subsequently missed flights, impromptu bus rides, crazy weather, lost baggage; pretty much the whole nine yards.
I finally arrived at the Sharm el Sheik airport on the night of the 24th – I have literally never been so happy to see my fam’s smiling faces before. Sharm is in the Sinai area of Egypt, near the Red Sea, where my fam had been camping out for a bit to wait for me to arrive. Four days after leaving Ottawa, I had finally arrived.
The second thing my fam said to me after I landed, after ‘HELLO!’, you ask? “Oh hey Anna, want to hike up Mount Sinai in the dark and watch the sunrise on Christmas morning where Moses received the ten commandments?”
Um, is that even a question? Of course!
So, after countless sleepless nights on airplanes, buses, and in multiple airports, I had a little cat nap in the van and off we went to climb Mount Sinai.
We started our trek at around midnight, which was the first time that I had ever attempted to hike up a mountain in the middle of the night, but it was actually an amazing experience. We went with a few of the teachers that my Momster works with and some of their family members who had also joined us from Canada, who were all WAY more prepared than us with headlamps, jackets and hats and whatnot. The moonlight was surprisingly strong, so we ended up convincing them to turn off their headlamps and climb in the moonlight. So. Freaking. Beautiful.
Now, if ever you are considering making this trek when it is not in the middle of the summer, you have officially been warned: it is mother freaking COLD on that mountain. There was actually snow at the top. I literally only had the clothes that I had worn on my back, so I borrowed a few long-sleeves from my stepdad and took a scarf from one of my sisters, but it was DEF not enough.
The hike is just over 7km up a windy trail followed by 750 steps to reach the top. I use the term ‘step’ very loosely – it was more like rocks that sometimes looked like it might be a step, half covered in ice and snow. The path part was fine, but the step section was pretty brutal.
The cool thing about the hike was that there were Bedouin coffee shops all along the way. The second from last one to the top, with only about 100 steps left to go, had a wonderful sleeping area. It was about 3am by the time we reached that point, so we were all ready to crash and get some shut-eye before sunrise at 6:30ish, when our guide proclaims – ‘No sleeping! You need to climb back down the mountain tomorrow morning, you will feel better if you don’t sleep’.
Um, what?! I think he underestimated my ability to nap. Like a pro.
Anyway, we rented some old camel blankets, which hadn’t been washed in who knows how long, and made our way to the top of the mountain to huddle together in the freezing cold and stake out our spot for the sunrise. I have never made such an effort to see a sunrise in my entire life.
The sunrise itself was beautiful, however, with a gorgeous view out over the mountain range in the Sinai. After we had ‘oo’ed and ‘ah’ed and taken about a billion pics of the sunrise, we started making our way down the mountain – which took less than half the amount of time that it took us to climb up. Its funny how seeing where you’re going can help you scale down icy steps ;)
We stopped by a monastery on our way down, which is for St Catherine and is in the where the burning bush from Moses’ story is located. All-in-all, a very cool way to spend Christmas Eve and morning.
That being said, I think doing the trek up Mount Sinai once in my lifetime is enough for me(!!). Needless to say, we all passed out (hard) in the van on our way back to our hotel in Dahab on the shore of the Red Sea.