We make our fist stop practically within sight of the monastery at the visitor’s center for the Saint Catherine’s Protectorate. This consists of a series of small vernacular buildings perched on a low hillside at the turn-off to the monastery.
They easily blend into the landscape.
Back outside, I try to find some of the plants described in the exhibits. I’m not very successful.
Even knowing it is not, this land still seems barren and desolate.
However, back on the bus, we start to see some of the variety in the landscape.
First we pass through an oasis that seems to be dried up and dead, which makes for a very bleak sight.
But soon we pass through a small village located at the edge of another oasis.
Soon we are traveling through the greenery of the picturesque Feiran Oasis.
I love how the oasis appears all the more lush against the backdrop of the barren mountains. It’s so beautiful.
We stop here at the Convent of the Seven Sisters.
I doubt there are still seven sisters at this ancient Christian outpost, but, at any rate, the Sister we need to meet with is busy at the moment, so we are left to wait in the convent’s beautiful garden. I don’t mind at all.
The peaceful church is simple, with a bright, light-washed interior. We spend a few moments here and then it is back to bus and, with warm good byes to the local children who have gathered to meet us, off again on the road to Cairo.
I think this would be an interesting place to spend more time (maybe volunteer to work for the Sisters for a week?), but soon I am on the bus, leaving the oasis behind and, again, traveling through the Sinai’s barren landscape of multi-colored rock.
I take pictures as long as the light holds and then just watch out the window as the rugged landscape changes and begins to fill with villages, industries, and resort developments while the sun sinks in the distance.
It is hard to believe that our trip is half over. It has gone so fast. Yet, we’ve seen and done so much that I feel as if I’ve already had a full vacation – even without having seen the pyramids! It’s been pretty incredible.
It is dusk when we reach the Suez Canal. I really, really want to stop to see it and walk along side it, but that is not to be. I can’t even see it from the bus, as we travel under it via the Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel, rather than over it on the bridge! Dang. This will have to be a stop next time.
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