By Bishoy Beshara
The mountains surrounding Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula look deserted and devoid of life, but hidden between the crags and crevices, small groups of trees stand guard around fresh water wells: the Secret Gardens.
A visit to these gardens involves a steep climb that lasts until sunset and passes by several wells and ends up on a wide plateau with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Spending the night in the mountains allows visitors to enjoy an unparalleled view of the stars, and on moonless nights, even the Milky Way itself. Rising with the sun, seeing the colours creep back onto the surrounding stones is another moment not to miss, and after a quick breakfast, the road down only takes a few hours.
Hiking in the Sinai Mountains is an experience that lasts longer than the few days the trip takes, as its effects linger once you return to civilisation. While the climb itself keeps the body busy, your mind wanders and the majestic surroundings put whatever you are thinking about into perspective, and this you bring back down the mountain with you.