Travelogue: Mount Sina (G.G.)

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From July 17, 2004

Sunrise at Mount Sinai

Late last night we headed off to Mount Sinai which is about 300 km drive from Sharm El-Sheik. We started the 3 hour climb at about 2:30 am along with several hundred other people. We wanted to see the place where God spoke to Moses, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery," and delivered the 10 Commandments (or the 10 Committments as our guide kept calling them). We found the climb tiring but the view from the peak was beautiful. Unfortunately Nicole's mum felt quite unwell and vomited a lot, so she and Nicole's dad watched the sunrise from a Bedouin hut half way up. At the bottom of the mountain we visited a Greek Orthodox monastery called St Catherine's. Enclosed within its walls are a bush that is claimed to be the burning bush from which God first appeared to Moses, and the well at which Moses supposedly met his wife. Twenty-four monks live at the monastery, including one Australian. We were surprised to see a mosque also within the walls. This was built a few centuries ago when a Muslim ruler (El-Hakim) was destroying Christian sites and the monks figured that if they built a mosque he'd leave them in peace - and they were right. El-Hakim also banned women from wearing shoes so they had to stay in the home, and forbid the cooking of a particular green soup on penalty of death just because he thought it tasted so disgusting! What a strange man...

By Graham Llewellyn Grove

I've cut this from the travellogue my wife and I kept when we went travelling one year (original site Travels abroad)

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