Saturday, February 10, 2007

St. Catherine's.

It's day 10 and we're still in Sinai. We awoke at a reasonable hour. No mosque in sight so no prayer to call to interrupt sleep. Lei had left both heaters on all night so I woke up all sweaty! Ugh. A few minutes to clean up and we headed to the restaurant for breakfast. By now, we had all fallen into the routine - breakfast, check out, dump backpack next to van, pile into van.

Kirsten watches over the packs.


.....and I had figured out creative ways to use my sling to carry items the tubes holding my papyrus paintings.



It was another beautiful day, with a sky so intensely blue in color that it was simply captivating.

We headed down the road to St. Catherine's Monestary - a Greek Orthodox Monestary that dates back to 337 AD when Empress Helena ordered the construction of a chapel around the infamous Burning Bush. About 20 or so monks still work and live in the monestary today.

We arrived before the Monestary opened so we milled around the entrance, a small gate, along with a crowd of tourists.



Once inside, we immediately headed to see the Burning Bush.



A short walk from the Burning Bush is Moses' Well, reputedly where Moses met Zipporah, one of Jethro's seven daughters, whom he married at age 40.



Inside the fortified complex that houses St. Catherine's is the Church of St. Catherine - a very small chapel that houses, among other items, priceless icons. Also, housed inside the complex is an 11th century mosque that was added to placate 11th century rulers. The mosque is off limits to lay persons so all we could do is capture a photo of the exterior.



We lingered a bit inside the walled complex but there really wasn't much to see so we queued up to exit. When our time was up, the group headed back down to the main entrance and boarded the van. Next stop - Nuweiba, Egypt which lies alongside the Red Sea.