Since the end of the last blog post by my friend Silas, we’ve explored Egypt further. Since Anafora, we’ve spent a lot of time traveling out and about, flying from Cairo to Luxor and spending two days there with picturesque scenery along the Nile visible right from our hotel room windows and rooftop. Our guide, Samer, took us to explore several historical locations around Luxor – Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, the Valley of Kings, and the local bazaar, to name a few.
After flying back to Cairo, we also had the opportunity to travel (once again, led by Samer) down to St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai, some several hours’ bus drive where we crossed the Suez Canal into the Sinai peninsula (and from Africa to Asia). Touring the museum there was a fascinating experience, as well – many Christian icons, fine artwork, and old books, all of which were several centuries old, a few well over a thousand years old, which highlights the deep and rich history of the monastery in addition to Christianity itself.
One of the highlights of this week (and the trip to date) was our climb up Mount Sinai on the 23rd; not quite just a walk in the park, with a trail about 2.5 miles long with 750 steps at the end to the peak. It covers a total elevation change of 2,200 feet (with the peak itself being roughly 2.2km, or 7,500 feet, above sea level), but the sunset view at the peak was well worth the hike, in addition to Linford going on at length with several excellent words on Exodus (our assigned Bible reading at the time) and our hiking experience.
The day after our climb up Mount Sinai was a much more relaxed day (in the morning at least) where we drove from St. Catherine to Taba, a small town on the Egyptian side of the Egypt-Israel border, to cross through the very southern tip of Israel over to Aqaba on the Jordanian side, where we stayed the night. Clearing border security in Israel was a very time-consuming affair, but eventually we got across to Jordan, where we ended up waiting some more for our guides and bus. Continue reading