We were up at 5:30 as our suitcases had to be at the door by 6 a.m. for our long trip across the desert to Sinai. And dessert it is! We thought desert was only sand....but discovered it also mountains and mountains of rocks!
These tall "palm" trees are really cellular phone transmission towers disguised to not affect the desert scenery!
We took the supposed route the Israelites took when leaving Egypt. (Only in an air conditioned tour bus instead of on foot!) When we got to the Red Sea it didn't part for us to cross so we took a tunnel under the Suez Canal. The Red Sea was beautiful and the water crystal clear! I picked up several shells and a piece of coral...also saw many lavender jelly fish!
We stopped at Mara and had a service under a tree there. It is still a miracle that there is a well of fresh water there so close to the Red Sea.
We discovered that "shittim" wood (acacia) is the only tree that will withstand both the heat and cold extremes of the desert and survives without much water. It is no wonder that God told Moses to make the tabernacle and furniture of this wood! It is the only flora besides an occasional oasis with a few palm trees that we saw for hours and hours!
To help the time go by faster through the monotonous terrain each member of the group had 5 minutes to introduce himself and give his/her testimony. It was a good opportunity to get to know each other better.
Desert is just that! Sand! Mountains Rocks! Nothing! Can you imagine wandering 40 years in this?
By the time we arrived at Sinai it was already dark. We visited a monastery in St Catherine that was built by Constantine in the 4th century! We saw the well where Moses traditionally met Zipora and the place of the burning bush. We spent the night in the Morganland Hotel at the foot of Sinai. Sinai is not a single mountain but range of mountains. Antonio and I decided not to climb and we later were glad we made that decision and saved our energies for Jerusalem. It is unbelievably cold when the sun goes down in the desert! Plus the hike up took over 3 1/2 hrs. Those of our group who went left at 12:30 a.m. and returned at 8! We needed the rest!
I just have to include my favorite picture of the day! Peacefully resting beside the Red Sea.