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 go through the field and kill everyone, including the children.

Once the carnage was 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.
Edfu to Kom Ombo, Egypt

Up the River Nile, through the Upper Ptolemaic Egypt

Having accomplished the unmissable embassy to Luxor, to old Thebes and to the Valley of the Kings, we proceed against the current of the Nile. In Edfu and Kom Ombo, we surrender to the historic magnificence bequeathed by successive Ptolemy monarchs.

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

White Desert, Egypt

The Egyptian Shortcut to Mars

At a time when conquering the solar system's neighbor has become an obsession, an eastern section of the Sahara Desert is home to a vast related landscape. Instead of the estimated 150 to 300 days to reach Mars, we took off from Cairo and, in just over three hours, we took our first steps into the Oasis of Bahariya. All around, almost everything makes us feel about the longed-for Red Planet.
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.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Sirocco, Arabia, Helsinki
Architecture & Design
Helsinki, Finland

The Design that Came from the Cold

With much of the territory above the Arctic Circle, Finns respond to the climate with efficient solutions and an obsession with art, aesthetics and modernism inspired by neighboring Scandinavia.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Australia Day, Perth, Australian Flag
Ceremonies and Festivities
Perth, Australia

Australia Day: In Honor of the Foundation, Mourning for Invasion

26/1 is a controversial date in Australia. While British settlers celebrate it with barbecues and lots of beer, Aborigines celebrate the fact that they haven't been completely wiped out.
Vittoriosa, Birgu, Malta, Waterfront, Marina
Birgu, Malta

To the Conquest of the Victorious City

Vittoriosa is the oldest of the Three Cities of Malta, headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller and, from 1530 to 1571, its capital. The resistance he offered to the Ottomans in the Great Siege of Malta kept the island Christian. Even if, later, Valletta took over the administrative and political role, the old Birgu shines with historic glory.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Kiomizudera, Kyoto, a Millennial Japan almost lost
Kyoto, Japan

An Almost Lost Millennial Japan

Kyoto was on the US atomic bomb target list and it was more than a whim of fate that preserved it. Saved by an American Secretary of War in love with its historical and cultural richness and oriental sumptuousness, the city was replaced at the last minute by Nagasaki in the atrocious sacrifice of the second nuclear cataclysm.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

If the almost antipode tazzie is already a australian world apart, what about its inhospitable western region. Between Devonport and Strahan, dense forests, elusive rivers and a rugged coastline beaten by an almost Antarctic Indian ocean generate enigma and respect.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Zapatismo, Mexico, San Nicolau Cathedral
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

fortress wall of Novgorod and the Orthodox Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, Russia.
Novgorod, Russia

Mother Russia's Viking Grandmother

For most of the past century, the USSR authorities have omitted part of the origins of the Russian people. But history leaves no room for doubt. Long before the rise and supremacy of the tsars and the soviets, the first Scandinavian settlers founded their mighty nation in Novgorod.
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal

The Eastern, Somehow Extraterrestrial Madeira Tip

Unusual, with ocher tones and raw earth, Ponta de São Lourenço is often the first sight of Madeira. When we walk through it, we are fascinated, above all, with what the most tropical of the Portuguese islands is not.
Correspondence verification
Winter White
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.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
End of the day at the Teesta river dam lake in Gajoldoba, India
Dooars India

At the Gates of the Himalayas

We arrived at the northern threshold of West Bengal. The subcontinent gives way to a vast alluvial plain filled with tea plantations, jungle, rivers that the monsoon overflows over endless rice fields and villages bursting at the seams. On the verge of the greatest of the mountain ranges and the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, for obvious British colonial influence, India treats this stunning region by Dooars.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Bwabwata National Park, Namibia, giraffes
Natural Parks
PN Bwabwata, Namíbia

A Namibian Park Worth Three

Once Namibia's independence was consolidated in 1990, to simplify its management, the authorities grouped together a trio of parks and reserves on the Caprivi strip. The resulting PN Bwabwata hosts a stunning immensity of ecosystems and wildlife, on the banks of the Cubango (Okavango) and Cuando rivers.
Uxmal, Yucatan, Mayan capital, the Pyramid of the Diviner
UNESCO World Heritage
Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico

The Mayan Capital That Piled It Up To Collapse

The term Uxmal means built three times. In the long pre-Hispanic era of dispute in the Mayan world, the city had its heyday, corresponding to the top of the Pyramid of the Diviner at its heart. It will have been abandoned before the Spanish Conquest of the Yucatan. Its ruins are among the most intact on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

In 1964, Katsura Morimura delighted the Japan with a turquoise novel set in Ouvéa. But the neighboring Île-des-Pins has taken over the title "The Nearest Island to Paradise" and thrills its visitors.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
U Bein Bridge, Amarapura, Myanmar
u-bein BridgeMyanmar

The Twilight of the Bridge of Life

At 1.2 km, the oldest and longest wooden bridge in the world allows the Burmese of Amarapura to experience Lake Taungthaman. But 160 years after its construction, U Bein is in its twilight.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Tombolo and Punta Catedral, Manuel António National Park, Costa Rica
PN Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Little-Big National Park

The reasons for the under 28 are well known national parks Costa Ricans have become the most popular. The fauna and flora of PN Manuel António proliferate in a tiny and eccentric patch of jungle. As if that wasn't enough, it is limited to four of the best typical beaches.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
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.