Egypt: Day 5

We started the day at 1a.m. to prepare for our ascent of Mt. Sinai.  Mt. Sinai is believed to be the place were God handed down the 10 commandments to Moses.  It was very cold at this time of night (or morning) especially compared to what we were used to.  We hired a Bedouin guide to lead us to the top.  It was a 7 km hike up that took us around 3 hours, but there were several stops along the way were the Bedouin had tents set up to offer rest and to sell coffee, tea, water, and snacks.  Our guide would insists that we stop at a few of these, which we understood because it offers them a bit of income and it was nice break.  The hike at night was quite an experience.  There was a full moon so the surrounding mountains were dark silhouettes in front of a sky full of stars.  The moon was bright enough so that a torch wasn’t necessary (however other hikers didn’t seem to think so they were occasionally blinding us).  The hike itself was not overly difficult, but the last push to the summit is a good work out for anyone.  Steps carved out of the mountain called the “steps of penitence.”  We reached the top in time to find a good spot on the edge of the mountain to watch the sunrise.  We don’t know for sure if this was the exact spot that God gave Moses the 10 commandments, but we can say that for both of us the presence of God was overwhelming.  Sitting on that mountain thinking about the significance of the Exodus and how God brought his people out of bondage and slavery, how He gave them a list of commandments that weren’t just a list of rules and regulations but practices that would allow a group of people that had never lived free lives to know how to truly live as a body of people that represented Him, it reminded us of the significance of this week.  The week leading up to the most significant moment in history.  When Christ offered himself as a sacrifice to once again provide an Exodus from bondage and oppression, but this time for all humanity.  We were both moved to tears thinking of the goodness of our God, who always provides a way to freedom and peace for His people.  Unfortunately, after a few moments a couple of young teenage girls found a spot just next to the right of us and spent the next 30 minutes talking (extremely loudly) about how “this makes a nice picture, but was it really worth it?  No, I mean to hike through the entire night??  And I have bloody stubbed toe!  Yeah, I have a fractured right toe! blah blah blah everyone listen to me…you get the point).  But even in this God reminded us of how he had made a way for everyone, those who recognize the significance of it as well as for those who don’t.  We spent a couple hours on the mountain taking in the view and then we decided to make our way down.  After showers and breakfast we went to St. Catherines Monsaterywhich sits at the base of Mt. Sinai.  We won’t get into all the history of this monastery but feel free to hop on the link up there if you want because it is quite interesting.  We will mention that this monastery is build around what is said to be the “burning bush.”  Not sure about this one, seems a bit coincidental that the bush that God spoke to Moses through would sit at the foot of the mountain where He would speak to Moses again many years later, but who knows.  It is amazing though that this bush has been recognized as the “burning bush” since around 330 AD, when Empress Helena had a church built here.  So if nothing else, this particular bush is at least 1700 years old.  After touring the monastery we began the 3 hour drive to Sharm El-Sheihk.  Here we said good bye to Ahmed, who was our guide for the Pyramids, Egyptian Museum, and St. Catherine.  We had many great conversations about religion, politics, movies, music, and of course soccer.  He became a good friend.  Sharm is a nice town on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula on the Red Sea Coast.  It is located in a beautiful spot.  The town itself is unapologetically a tourist town so there are a lot of resorts, strip malls, restaurants (Hard Rock, TGIFridays, McD’s to name a few), and neon lights.  It feels more like an American tourist spot than an Egyptian town, but it will be a very relaxing place to spend a few days.  We have also been told that the snorkeling here is some of the best in the world, so we will have to find time to get that in and I’m sure we will spend a good bit of time just laying by the Red Sea.

Next Post:  We don’t know….laying by the Red Sea/Pool (as we are now), maybe snorkeling or glass bottom boat, visit Old Market???

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