We take the boat from Aqaba to Nuweiba in Egypt. From here we move into the mountains where we reach the desert monastery of St. Catherine’s within a couple of hours. We prepare ourselves for the midnight walk up Mount Sinai, the same mountain Moses climbed a few thousand years ago to receive the Ten Commandments.
We set off at 1.30am, together with our Bedouin guide Sobhe, slowly climbing up the rocky path that winds its way up the 2,286-metre mountain. There is no moon tonight so it is pitch-black, except for the light of the stars. Thankfully we have two flashlights to help us make out the path ahead. As we climb higher, we see small lights dancing up the hill: other groups of people making their way up. Along the way local Bedouins have set up makeshift tea shacks where tired walkers can take a rest and enjoy a glass of hot sugary tea.
We skip the tea and head on: we want to pick the best spot from which to see the sunrise. We reach the summit after three hours and Sobhe takes us to a secluded spot right at the very top of the mountain – our own private roof terrace! After an hour and a half we see the first light breaking on the horizon. The sun creeps up over the horizon, illuminating the red rocks and bathing the whole landscape in a golden light. Finally we are warming up!
We choose a different route down, taking the steps to St Catherine’s monastery. It is a lot harder than the way up, but the views are breathtaking! At the foot of the mountain we say goodbye to Sobhe and try to recall the Ten Commandments…