Tourists and pilgrims are not the only visitors to St. Catherine's Monastery. Scholars come to use the world's second largest (after the Vatican) collection of religious manuscripts. We all marveled at the ancient pieces of artwork and icons in the ornate chapel of St. Catherine's. Tour groups are also allowed to see a small portion of the ancient collection of codices and manuscripts.
The burning bush was much larger than I expected. Of course, it's not the original, but the monks have reputedly grown this bush from the same stock. We stayed at St. Catherine's for a couple of hours, admiring the bell tower and the adjacent mosque, which was built to appease the Muslim community. The simpleness and serenity of the monastery touched us all.
We ate lunch at a small resort before boarding the coaches for the return trip to Sharm el-Sheikh and and Silver Whisper. We stopped for a photo op and handicraft shopping at a bedouin village. The family lived in a cave, and were anxious to sell their wares or have their pictures taken (for $1).
Next, the Silver Whisper sailed for Aqaba, Jordan.