104 Route 9.
of the Kephisos. After stopping here to enjoy a glass of raki and
the view of the Acropolis, we turn to the right, without crossing
the bridge, and skirt the Kephisos to the first broad road, which
leads us back to the town. The narrower paths should be avoided,
as likely to lead astray. The glimpses of the Acropolis seen through
the aged and gnarled stems of the olive-trees impart a great charm
to this walk.
9. Excursions in Attica.
'Quocunque ingredimur, in aliquam historiam pedem ponimus.'
The peninsula of 'ArzfA-q or Attica (properly 'AxTtxif], from
dxx-'q, a rocky beach), bounded on the N.W. by the ranges of Kithae-
ron (now Elatids) and Parnes (now Ozea), which attain a height
of 4600 ft., consists of a flat, undulating district, broken up by the
mountain groups of Pentelikon (3640 ft.) and Hymettos (3370 ft.).
In the middle of it lies the plain of Athens (x6 ITsoiov), which
stretches, with a breadth of 21/-2-3M., from Mt. Parnes to the sea, a
distance of 14 M. The dry calcareous soil is adapted for little ve¬
getation except the olive and the fig, though the vine is now assi¬
duously cultivated. The supply of water is scanty. The water of
the Kephisos is exhausted by irrigation before it reaches the sea,
and in summer the bed of the Ilissos is as a rule almost dry.
Large herds of sheep and goats are seen grazing in every direction.
The barren nature of Attic soil is noticed by Thucydides, who con¬
siders it the reason why the country was spared foreign immigration
and remained in the hands of the Ionians. The inhabitants of
modern Attica, which is grouped in one nomarchy or province with
Bceotia, Salamis, and jEgina, are almost all of Albanian descent.
Most of the following excursions may each be accomplished in one
day. Many of the most interesting points may now be reached by Rail¬
way. Parties of 3-4 may hire a Carriage for 20-30 fr. or more accord¬
ing to the time and distance, while single travellers may obtain a Saddle
Horse for about 10 fr. a day. The inconvenient habit the Greek coach¬
men have of stopping at nearly every wayside tavern has probably been
already experienced by the traveller on his way from the Piraeus to
Athens. Travellers who are unacquainted with the language and cus¬
toms of the country should not attempt the excursions occupying several
days, or, indeed, any of the longer excursions, without a Courier (p. xiv).
— Provisions should in most cases be brought from Athens, and refresh¬
ments of this kind are included in the 'pension' charges of the hotels.
a. The Piraeus.
The landing at the Pirseus and the road from the Piraeus to Athens
are described at p. 2. Those who make the excursion from Athens do
so most conveniently by the Piraeus Railway, the trains running every
'/s hr. (hourly before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m.) in 20 min. (fares 95, 60 c;
return 1 fr. 60, 1 fr. 5 c). The station is at the W. end of the Rue d'Her¬
mes (PI. B, 5); the ticket-clerk speaks French.
The new railway from the Pirseus to Athens and Corinth, described at
p. 142, is not intended for local traffic.
Tramway to Phaleron, see p. 34.