I saw the list today while eating
lunch. It seems that National Geographic has a sister publication
called National Geographic Adventure Travel. Their editors and staff
spent the last 6 months compiling a list of "adventures"
which they deemed worthy of top 25 status.
Egypt showed up on the list, with
a trek through the Sinai desert, capped with an early morning climb
to watch the sunrise from the summit of Mt. Sinai. One then climbs
down the path to St. Catherine's monastery at the base of the mountain.
Ok, so it's not a big mountain, but
I've been there, done it, got the pictures to prove it. Only thing
is, I did not have to pay what is probably a fortune to make this
little excursion. In the early 70's Israel had taken possession
(temporary) of the Sinai Peninsula and over spring break, I think
I forked over $150 U.S. for a tour that lasted at least a week.
Things I remember from that trek/tour:
Human bones in the desert, leftover
from the 6-day war
on Mt. Sinai
The lifestyle of those who still
wander the desert
Diving as far as I could go while
holding my breath in the waters at the southern tip of the Sinai...
and still seeing the bottom, as near as when I started.
The magnificent monastery of St.
Catherine, with its garbage dump just meters away
The incredible variety of green trees
at the monastery, built as it is, neighboring an oasis.
The hand carved steps to the top
of the mountain, carved by hundreds of monks, over hundreds of years.
Having both of our tour vehicles
stuck in the sand, hundreds of miles from nowhere. (it's
I suppose this is one of those things
which just needs a web site so you can put in the pictures. Come
on web, get my site moved.
Oh yeah, I remember throwing out
our sleeping bags on the hard desert ground that March/April night.
Trying to insulate myself from the cold ground, I found some cardboard
and slept on it. I was thankful for my down sleeping bag, for that
night it snowed.
I saw it, climbed it, photographed
it, shivered in the night and was sweating later in the afternoon...and
today I am most grateful for having had the chance to do it.