Where We Be
Esna, Egypt -- Temple of Khnum
We visit our last temple of the Nile River cruise,
the Temple of Khnum at Esna. This temple from
Greco-Roman times was built around 300 BC
and is situated 30 feet lower than the modern
town. We walk to the temple from our cruise
ship and descend a staircase to reach it. The
well-preserved hypostyle hall is the only part of
the temple that has been excavated. Other
parts of the temple remain buried beneath
surrounding buildings of the modern town.

After spending a short time exploring inside,
we walk back to the ship on our own. The town
of Esna has a sleepy charm to it, so we take our
time and stroll slowly, enjoying the foreign
sights. I stop to get a shoeshine from a young
boy. A policeman dressed in white carrying a
machine gun (as they all do) comes over to ask
"Okay?" I say yes and he nods, but he stays
close just in case. The boy takes his time,
up-selling me the whole time, and what started
at one Egyptian pound is five by the time he's
done, but the smile on his face is worth it.
The floral capitals of the columns still
retain some of their original painted color
The town of Esna exudes a sleepy charm
with its horse-drawn carriages and minarets
Galabeyas, turbans, donkey-drawn carts -- clearly we're far from home
Robin wants to purchases some galabeyas, so
we get off the ship and walk the gauntlet of
vendor stalls. This is really quite an adventure.
As you walk along, the vendors call to you and
urge you to visit their stall. "Just take a look,"
they cry. They place galabeyas on your forearm
to make it hard for you to walk away while they
get another item to show you. If you show any
interest at all -- any -- you are immediately
surrounded by vendors all pushing similar
items on you and literally trying to push them
in your hands.

But as soon as you enter a particular vendor’s
stall, there appears to be some unwritten rule,
because all the other vendors suddenly leave
you alone. As soon as you exit the stall, they're
back in force again. So getting you to venture
into their stall is a big deal and something
every vendor strives for. Robin actually does
find several galabeyas she likes, and we end
up making one vendor’s day.
Esna Temple is situated 30 feet lower than the surrounding grounds of the modern town
This stretch of covered shopping is relatively peaceful at midday
The Shopping Gauntlet
Esna gives us a taste of small-town life in Egypt