Mount Sinai, Egypt

Strength in the Legs, Faith in God

A Biblical Contemplation
Believers gathered around the chapel of the Holy Trinity.
Danger !
Handmade sign warns pilgrims against the risk of venturing along the windy slopes of Mount Sinai.
The portal
Stone portal marks the beginning of a long descent towards the Monastery of Santa Catarina.
The Miracle of the New Day
Exuberant dawns over the desert mountains around Mount Sinai.
Providential Banking
Bedouin vendors and guides gathered in one of the many businesses on their way to the summit.
last steps
A Bedouin guide climbs a rocky path to the top of the chapel of Santa Trindade, shortly after sunrise.
Visitors admire the colorful sunrise from the top of the chapel of the Holy Trinity, on a chilly dawn over Mount Sinai.
The Gorge to the Monastery
A glimpse of the Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine, built at the foot of Mount Sinai by order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.
religious ecstasy
Russian visitor assumes a biblical pose.
The Rocky Return
Pilgrims descend to the base of Mount Sinai.
Native seller protected from the morning cold near the Monastery of Santa Catarina.
Keeping an eye on the pilgrimage
Bedouin follows the movements of pilgrims on the trail below.
Moses received the Ten Commandments on the summit of Mount Sinai and revealed them to the people of Israel. Today, hundreds of pilgrims climb, every night, the 4000 steps of that painful but mystical ascent.

Sharm el-Sheik rises at the far end of the Sinai Peninsula facing a Red Sea more coralline, blue and alluring than anywhere else.

The place has hosted so many reconciliation conferences that it has come to be known as “The City of Peace” even though it is known that, in 2005, a terrorist attack carried out with car bombs caused the death of 64 people, mostly Muslims.

This incident has caused the influx of visitors to the area to dwindle to almost nothing, but when it comes to tourism, memory is short. Large hotel groups and travel agencies were quick to reorganize.

They combined charter flights and packages at surreal prices, the guarantee of unforgettable underwater experiences and a nightly mega-disco atmosphere. A few years later, the resort's resorts were once again crowded, mostly with Italian neighbors across the river. Mare Clausum but also with many thousands of Russian guests.

It is at the door of one of these beach hostels that they pick us up at eleven at night. The van appears to be overcrowded and passengers take a long time to free up seating space.

The Unexpected Russified Expedition to Mount Sinai

They are almost all Russian and, in the image of several other employees of the planted seaside hotels, it gives us the feeling that Mohammed, the Egyptian guide at the microphone, speaks their Slavic language as well or better than they do. The trip is expected to take 3 hours. Halfway through, we still stopped at a roadside whereabouts.

“Last place with bathroom” announces to us, in English, the driver. "If you don't have clothes for the cold, take advantage of it now too, there will be no shortage of supplies". The prediction is confirmed immediately.

A frenzied band of sellers of gloves, scarves and bonnets rushes the passengers and pressures them to do business. Shortly thereafter, we are urged to resume the journey, which continues to rise from sea level to the highest lands of Egypt.

The driver returns to the station and his crazy routine. Luckily, we don't have a real sense of how fast we're going. With the exception of the competing vans which proudly overtakes around, all references disappear in total darkness.

A Russia, is, by coincidence, a record-setting nation in terms of traffic accidents. Little impressed by the driver's display of virility or annoyed by the discomfort of their improvised positions, some passengers share a prodigious sleep that only ends when we finally reach the surroundings of the Santa Catarina Monastery.

Bedouin, Mount Sinai, Egypt

Native seller protected from the morning cold near the Monastery of Santa Catarina.

All Faith in Susi, the Bedouin guide from Sinai

A young Bedouin awaits us there. Jamil introduced himself at ease and gave us a code name “your group will be called Susi. When they hear someone screaming for Susi, they already know it's up to you. Please don't forget. Today there will be more people than ever.”

Susi? We find the new half-unnatural identity strange, but we end up ingraining it. Even because, however, the journey begins and even with frontals placed over the foreheads, we soon feel lost in human trafficking and camelid intense that runs along the Way of Moses.

In the Biblical Steps of Moses

According to the biblical narrative, this patriarch freed his shackled people from the yoke of the pharaohs and led them to the promised but elusive places of Canaan.

On the top of the mountain where we were walking, in a 40 days and nights stay, God revealed himself to him and gave him two tablets with the Ten Commandments that he should teach to his people, thus founding a new monotheistic faith.

When Moses returned, he found his people worshiping a golden calf. In a rage, he destroyed the figure and instructed men of the tribe to which he belonged to roam the field and kill everyone, including the children. With the carnage over, the bewildered patriarch returned to the mountain for another 40 days and 40 nights.

Mountains silhouettes, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.

Exuberant dawns over the desert mountains around Mount Sinai.

God appeared to him once more and gave him new Tables of the Law. Returning to the survivors, he definitively gave them the Commandments. But it could do nothing to prevent the founded and regained belief from branching out through history.

The Christian, Jewish and Muslim Pilgrimage to Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai is now considered sacred to the three Abrahamic religions and visited by Christian, Jewish and Muslim believers.

We have ahead of us some Orthodox Christians, old or overgrown, some belonging to the newly established Susi group because Jamil cries out from time to time. The trail remains tight and we can see almost nothing towards the rocky and uneven edges.

Out of respect for the guide's authority, we preserved ourselves in this slow platoon. But at a certain point, dozens of other pilgrims who, like us, find it difficult to follow so slowly come under pressure from behind.

And the Painful and Troubled Night Ascension

At the same time, from the sides, the breathy and smelly camels and dromedaries that the Bedouins inflict on walkers in difficulty, in a growing dispute for profits that seem inevitable, are squeezing and drooling.

Jamil appears, like a jilaba's savior angel. He had already realized the restlessness in which we were walking and the desire we had to become autonomous. “They want to go ahead, right? OK no problem.

Go almost to the top but when you find the biggest concentration of stalls, enter the 3rd one and wait for me. The owner is my friend. Also called Jamil. Drink anything and rest."

So we do. Although somewhat charged, we passed large groups, several, Nigerians formed by ecstatic believers who sing or shout in a Gospel style of moving choir their emotion, as they feel closer to God: “I’m going to meet the Lord. Praise the Lord. I'm going to meet him! Hallelujah!"

We leave your trails of light and faith behind. We advanced at our pace and gained extra time to recover the boiling muscles in our thighs and watch that eccentric pilgrimage from some of the small businesses set up along the way.

Banking, Mount Sinai, Egypt

Bedouin vendors and guides gathered in one of the many businesses on their way to the summit.

Also in the latter, by Jamil, covered with large bright rugs of Arab or Bedouin weaving. As agreed, we wait there for the homonymous guide.

The Mystic but Freezing Top of Mount Sinai

We are at the edge of the 2285 m of Jabal Musa, one of the highest elevations in Egypt. The air is therefore much thinner than at the foot of the mountain and, at 4 am, surprisingly cold for a place at the gates of the always sultry Arabian Peninsula.

We took the opportunity to drink hot chocolate and regain our temperature, breath and legs that are already throbbing from so much step. Jamil and some of the Russians show up almost 20 minutes later.

One or the other drag themselves up the path, aided in the threshold of their physical possibilities, when the camels can no longer help them and there are still hundreds of steps to the end of penance.

Part of the final staircase to the summit tapers the procession even further. We used goat detours to get around it and reach the summit in time for sunrise, which we ended up achieving.

Pilgrims at the top, Mount Sinai, Egypt

Visitors admire the colorful sunrise from the top of the chapel of the Holy Trinity, on a chilly dawn over Mount Sinai.

Upstairs, the luminosity increases visibly and the daily miracle of dawn unfolds. The sky takes on pink and scarlet tones and the large star, which is still partial, yellows the granite pattern of the chapel of Santa Trindade, surrounded by believers out of their minds.

The cries, cries and religious chants form a transcendental moan that sounds like the summons. And, as the rapt eyes and passionate smiles of his followers reveal, God may not have revealed himself as Moses did on that inhospitable piece of earth, but he touched their hearts deeply.

The Diurnal Descent to the Monastery of Santa Catarina

One Slavic believer, in particular, makes a point of praising privilege in retreat. He moves away from us, kneels on the ground, turns his back on the rocks, and stretches his arms towards the changing firmament.

The confirmation of the dawn reveals the stony scenario in which Moses got lost. Little by little, the pilgrims return to themselves and to the foothills from where they started.

Pilgrims, Mount Sinai, Egypt

Believers gathered around the chapel of the Holy Trinity.

There, the Monastery of St. Catherine, ordered to be built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, awaits them.

And, inside, the burning bush that the resident Orthodox Christian authorities marked as the one in which God materialized and revealed to the patriarch. THE Promised land the one he almost reached is still a long way off. This is another romance.

St. Catherine Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt

A glimpse of the Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine, built at the foot of Mount Sinai by order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.

Guwahati, India

The City that Worships Kamakhya and the Fertility

Guwahati is the largest city in the state of Assam and in North East India. It is also one of the fastest growing in the world. For Hindus and devout believers in Tantra, it will be no coincidence that Kamakhya, the mother goddess of creation, is worshiped there.
Luxor, Egypt

From Luxor to Thebes: Journey to Ancient Egypt

Thebes was raised as the new supreme capital of the Egyptian Empire, the seat of Amon, the God of Gods. Modern Luxor inherited the Temple of Karnak and its sumptuousness. Between one and the other flow the sacred Nile and millennia of dazzling history.

The Cradle of the Official Christianity

Just 268 years after Jesus' death, a nation will have become the first to accept the Christian faith by royal decree. This nation still preserves its own Apostolic Church and some of the oldest Christian temples in the world. Traveling through the Caucasus, we visit them in the footsteps of Gregory the Illuminator, the patriarch who inspires Armenia's spiritual life.
Aswan, Egypt

Where the Nile Welcomes the Black Africa

1200km upstream of its delta, the Nile is no longer navigable. The last of the great Egyptian cities marks the fusion between Arab and Nubian territory. Since its origins in Lake Victoria, the river has given life to countless African peoples with dark complexions.
Dead Sea, Israel

Afloat, in the Depths of the Earth

It is the lowest place on the surface of the planet and the scene of several biblical narratives. But the Dead Sea is also special because of the concentration of salt that makes life unfeasible but sustains those who bathe in it.

Istanbul, Turkey

Where East meets West, Turkey Seeks its Way

An emblematic and grandiose metropolis, Istanbul lives at a crossroads. As Turkey in general, divided between secularism and Islam, tradition and modernity, it still doesn't know which way to go

Chefchouen to Merzouga, Morocco

Morocco from Top to Bottom

From the aniseed alleys of Chefchaouen to the first dunes of the Sahara, Morocco reveals the sharp contrasts of the first African lands, as Iberia has always seen in this vast Maghreb kingdom.
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Ride of Faith

Introduced in 1819 by Portuguese priests, the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Pirenópolis it aggregates a complex web of religious and pagan celebrations. It lasts more than 20 days, spent mostly on the saddle.
San Cristóbal de las Casas a Campeche, Mexico

A Relay of Faith

The Catholic equivalent of Our Lady of Fátima, Our Lady of Guadalupe moves and moves Mexico. Its faithful cross the country's roads, determined to bring the proof of their faith to the patroness of the Americas.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Architecture & Design
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Full Dog Mushing
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.
Correspondence verification
Ceremonies and Festivities
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Hué, Communist City, Imperial Vietnam, Imperial Communism
Hue, Vietnam

The Red Heritage of Imperial Vietnam

It suffered the worst hardships of the Vietnam War and was despised by the Vietcong due to the feudal past. The national-communist flags fly over its walls but Hué regains its splendor.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Tombola, street bingo-Campeche, Mexico
Campeche, Mexico

200 Years of Playing with Luck

At the end of the XNUMXth century, the peasants surrendered to a game introduced to cool the fever of cash cards. Today, played almost only for Abuelites, lottery little more than a fun place.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Entrance porch in Ellikkalla, Uzbekistan

Journey through the Uzbekistan Pseudo-Roads

Centuries passed. Old and run-down Soviet roads ply deserts and oases once traversed by caravans from the Silk RoadSubject to their yoke for a week, we experience every stop and incursion into Uzbek places, into scenic and historic road rewards.
Coin return
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Yucatan Peninsula, Mérida City, Mexico, Cabildo
Mérida, Mexico

The Most Exuberant of Meridas

In 25 BC, the Romans founded Emerita Augusta, capital of Lusitania. The Spanish expansion generated three other Méridas in the world. Of the four, the Yucatan capital is the most colorful and lively, resplendent with Hispanic colonial heritage and multi-ethnic life.
small browser
Honiara e Gizo, Solomon Islands

The Profaned Temple of the Solomon Islands

A Spanish navigator baptized them, eager for riches like those of the biblical king. Ravaged by World War II, conflicts and natural disasters, the Solomon Islands are far from prosperity.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
Monteverde, Costa Rica, Quakers, Bosque Nuboso Biological Reserve, hikers
Monteverde, Costa Rica

The Ecological Refuge the Quakers Bequeathed the World

Disillusioned with the US military propensity, a group of 44 Quakers migrated to Costa Rica, the nation that had abolished the army. Farmers, cattle raisers, became conservationists. They made possible one of the most revered natural strongholds in Central America.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Natural Parks
Nelson to Wharariki, Abel Tasman NP, New Zealand

The Maori coastline on which Europeans landed

Abel Janszoon Tasman explored more of the newly mapped and mythical "Terra australis" when a mistake soured the contact with natives of an unknown island. The episode inaugurated the colonial history of the New Zealand. Today, both the divine coast on which the episode took place and the surrounding seas evoke the Dutch navigator.
One against all, Sera Monastery, Sacred Debate, Tibet
UNESCO World Heritage
Lhasa, Tibet

Sera, the Monastery of the Sacred Debate

In few places in the world a dialect is used as vehemently as in the monastery of Sera. There, hundreds of monks, in Tibetan, engage in intense and raucous debates about the teachings of the Buddha.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Sesimbra, Vila, Portugal, castle
Sesimbra, Portugal

A Village Touched by Midas

It's not just Praia da California and Praia do Ouro that close it to the south. Sheltered from the furies of the West Atlantic, gifted with other immaculate coves and endowed with centuries-old fortifications, Sesimbra is today a precious fishing and bathing haven.
Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang, Laos, Through the Mekong Below
Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang, , In stock

Slow Boat, Down the Mekong River

Laos' beauty and lower cost are good reasons to sail between Chiang Khong and Luang Prabang. But this long descent of the Mekong River can be as exhausting as it is picturesque.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Police intervention, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Jaffa, Israel

Unorthodox protests

A building in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, threatened to desecrate what ultra-Orthodox Jews thought were remnants of their ancestors. And even the revelation that they were pagan tombs did not deter them from the contestation.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
Flock of flamingos, Laguna Oviedo, Dominican Republic
Oviedo Lagoon, Dominican Republic

The (very alive) Dominican Republic Dead Sea

The hypersalinity of the Laguna de Oviedo fluctuates depending on evaporation and water supplied by rain and the flow coming from the neighboring mountain range of Bahoruco. The natives of the region estimate that, as a rule, it has three times the level of sea salt. There, we discover prolific colonies of flamingos and iguanas, among many other species that make up one of the most exuberant ecosystems on the island of Hispaniola.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.