So where was I ?... Oh Yes, our trip to Dahab! What a great experience… When we arrived at our hotel on Tuesday 8 February, there were about ten guests, it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves… Because of what was happening in Cairo, tourists had fled and the hotel staff were feeling quite down. We even found out that most of the employees had been sent home. It was a weird feeling. However, the place was gorgeous and there wasn’t a single kid in the swimming pool… Bonus!
On Wednesday 9 February, we all went to bed at 7pm, as we had to wake up at 12am for a night trip to Mount Sinai. The aim was to reach the top – 2285 metres high – before 6am in order to watch the sunrise – apparently one of the most beautiful things you can see in Egypt. So we all got up at midnight – we were all pretty shattered! – and we took a minibus to the foot of Mount Sinai, where 5 camels were waiting for us… Yes, you read it well: we climbed Mount Sinai by camel at around 2am! It was the weirdest experience, as it was pitch dark and we couldn’t really see anything around us – although we could smell our camels! –, but at the same time, you could actually feel that there were cliffs and steep slopes right next to your feet – or rather your camel’s feet… Quite frightening at times! And there was something we didn’t think about, which is the fact that Mount Sinai being a mountain, the higher you climb the colder it gets… and gosh did it get cold! Freezing even.
After an hour and a half of camel riding in the dark – and the weird sensation I’d never be able to get children – , we ended up at the bottom of a flight of 750 steps leading to the top of the mountain… By then, it was almost 4am, we were definitely exhausted – yes I know, we hadn’t actually climbed the mountain ourselves but try to stay on a camel’s back for an hour and a half… Ouch! Anyway, off we climbed the 750 steps and waited for the sun to rise in one of the little cabins built at the top for tourists. The temperature up there was about 4°C and fortunately some Egyptians were renting blankets to silly tourists like us who just assume, because they’re in Egypt, that the weather’s always warm… With these blankets on, we just looked like refugees waiting for the next boat to freedom! Quite funny... But then, when the sun rose, the sight that was offered to us was really worth the early awakening, the sterilising ride and the shattering climb... Once up there, above the clouds, looking at the sun rising, you almost feel that you are alone on the top of the world! It’s just beautiful!
Ok, so now we had caught a glimpse of eternity and felt completely rejuvenated, our guide told us that all we had to do was climb down – that was 750 steps plus 3000 more that the camels climbed for us earlier that day – in order to reach St Katherine’s Monastery, which was built right at the foot of Mount Sinai... You can imagine our faces! At this point in our journey, we only wanted to go to bed! So off we went, climbing down, and down, and down... until we saw St Katherine’s Monastery in the distance, and it almost made us want to convert! After a two hour descent, we were so happy to see it at last, and felt our martyrdom was ending... This is actually a lovely monastery, lost in between mountains, with a very peaceful garden. After a quick visit, we went back to the hotel and spent the day sleeping...
The rest of our stay was spent sunbathing and playing cards by the pool. On the last day, we found out about the hotel masseur and, one by one, experienced a bit of pampering... What an unforgettable trip!