Sunday, June 26, 2011
Climbing Mt. Sinai, chapter 1
It was a true mountaintop experience. I am jetlagged after my first known all-nighter since undergrad, and I'm trying not to obsess about the fact it's not the cheapest weekend-away I've ever taken. But it was worth it. Oh, so worth it. Both for sociological reasons and for spiritual reasons, obviously in reverse order of importance.
So I will write a few blogs about it, mainly so I will remember this experience for years to come.
For today, I'm starting with a simple observation:
None of the tourbooks bothered to mention that I'd be climbing a mountain with 1000 Russians and a handful of other nationalities. I didn't know that the narrow, slightly-precarious path would be so crowded with tourists. I'd heard there were a lot of pilgrims who climb the mountain and so I expected some other die-hard religious types to be climbing with us. I just wasn't prepared for the [drinking] tourists, of whom there were many.
AND, our guide told me that before the revolution he was going up the mountain several times a week, leading groups. Now, he's averaging two climbs a week. So apparently it's usually much more crowded than what I just experienced.
So... if anyone comes across this blog because you are looking for information on climbing Mt. Sinai and visiting St. Katherine's monastery, please be forewarned of that which I wish I'd known: it's a tourist trap, and a crowded one at that.
Still worth it, but it'd be that much better if there were a crowds-free option.