We had all opted to take the trip to see sunrise over Mount Sinai. The mountain is at about 2,200 metres and the climb started at St Katherine's monastery. The trip to Mount Sinai started at 11:00 pm. We had managed a few hours sleep beforehand. It started with a minibus ride up to St Katherine's and the bus arrived at 12:30. We were with another group of 3 people and were met by our guide.
We set off with the track lit by a full moon. The route up the mountain followed the camel track. It was cold and we went up it at a quick pace. The pace proved too much for Fran and she was offered a camel ride and opted to take it. The role of bring up the rear moved onto me. I was soon panting getting up the hill - the air was a bit thinner and it was getting colder. We stopped frequently in little huts for Egyptian tea. After a couple of hours we met up again with Fran - she had been shivering, waiting for us for 30 minutes in a hut.
We then continued the ascent and soon arrived at the bottom of a set of steps. From here there were a mere 750 steps to the summit. It was getting really cold by this time and some of the steps were icy
We arrived at a group of huts selling tea etc. It was now about 3:30 am and we were invited in and could sleep here for a couple of hours. The owner of the hut did a roaring trade renting blankets and thin mattresses. The price of tea here went through the roof here, it had started at 50p in the valley and was double at the summit. It was even 50p to go to an awful toilet but when you are desperate and there is a monopoly you pay it.
We all settled down and tried to sleep - shivering under the blanket. There was suddenly a commotion and we heard the lords prayer being said in Russian! More commotion and we heard them telling them to go the final bit up the mountain. It was 5:30 and time to see the first few rays of the sun.
We went up the last hundred steps - all wrapped up in our blankets as it was freezing. We found a place on the summit (between the mosque and the church) and settled down to watch the sun come up. We had a Russian service and a Korean service going on either side of us. The colours at sunrise were amazing. The mountains were all various shades of red.
The descent was easier and took a couple of hours. We then went round St Katherine's monastery - a Greek Orthodox monastery founded in 330AD on the supposed site of the original burning bush. The church is very ornate and quite beautiful in parts. Unfortunately we could not see anything else of the monastery. After a quick breakfast, it was back to Dahab for some sleep in a nice warm bed or on the sun bed.