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THE INN AT CORINTH. 157
stretching far beyond Sicyon toward the west. When we reached the small “Hôtel de Bretagne” at Corinth, the day was too near its close to allow of my ascending to the Acrocorinthus; besides, I hoped that the weather might become more propitious by morning.
I found that my friend, the deputy, who had so kindly invited me to come from Nauplia under the protection of his escort, had arrived before me, and occupied the only decent room in the establishment. My own was bad enough. Mine host, a red-faced Ionian, who spoke Italian better than Greek, came to know what I wished to eat. “What would you like,” said he, “lamb, beef, or eggs, with bread and butter?” I expressed myself perfectly satisfied if I could procure some of either of the former. “I am really most sorry,” replied he; “but there is not a particle of meat in the house.” “Can you not procure some in the village?” I asked, quite alarmed at the idea that, after solacing myself all day with the prospect of a good dinner, I stood a fair chance of being starved. “It is quite impossible; there is not a bit to be found in town.” “What in the world have you, then o’” I demanded, with some repressed indignation. “Why, please your honor, there is nothing but some bread and eggs.” So I dined on a piece of brown bread and two or three eggs, which, in absence of spoons, were dispatched as best might be. After which feast, I soon threw myself on my bed to await the morrow; and soliloquized—
“Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum.”
In the morning I found that the weather had not improved. Having an hour or two to spare, I concluded, nevertheless, to ascend the Acrocorinthus, the acropolis of ancient Corinth. It is a great hill, more than 1800 feet in height, lying south of the city. The Corinthians call it an hour's ride to the top; we accomplished the ascent in somewhat less time, I believe. From the Acropolis of Athens, it differs in every respect; being not only more lofty, but inclosing a far greater space within its walls. The summit, too, is not a level surface; but it could contain, as we know it has contained, a large town. Evidences of this fact are to be seen in the numerous cisterns, etc.; of more ancient times. A ruinous mosque or two attest
the rule of the Turks. We woke from his morning slumbers one of the six soldiers that formed the entire garrison, and he led us around the fortifications. These seemed strong enough; but one would say that, even without them, the rocky precipices below would render the position impregnable. Only five or six guns, I understood, were mounted. We lost all that extensive prospect for which the Acrocorinthus is celebrated; but had a good view of the two gulfs, and of the Bays of Cenchrea and Lecheum, with the adjacent country. On our return to Corinth, we spent a short time in the examination of the only objects of interest that remain on the site of a city which once exceeded Athens for commerce and population—a temple in the very midst of the modern village, and an amphitheatre about three-fourths of a mile east of it. The former is a heasastyle Doric temple, of which only five columns belonging to the front, and two on one of the sides, are yet standing. Besides the noteworthy fact, that the only temple of which any trace exists at Corinth is of the Doric order, it is observable that the columns are “monoliths,” or composed of a single block of stone. The temple could never, I think, have possessed much pretension to beauty, the proportions being too heavy. All the loose stones have been incorporated into the buildings of the village, to which they were so conveniently situated. The amphitheatre is small but interesting, with a subterranean passage under the seat of the presiding officers. Such are the only ruins of consequence on the site of one of the most remarkable cities of Greece. How familiar must every feature of the natural scenery have been to the Apostle Paul, who resided here upward of a year and a half (Acts 18: 11, 18), devoting himself to the sacred functions of his office He seems, by implication, to have come to Corinth from Athens by land; and, when he departed, he sailed in a ship from Cenchrea for Ephesus. The village of Corinth barely contains a couple of thousand inhabitants. Its houses are low and poorly built; and Corinth, famous of old for its luxuries and pleasures, now presents the aspect of a miserable hamlet, with nothing but the ancient name to uphold its reputation. The ride from Corinth to Kalamaki occupied about an
hour and a half. The distance is about seven miles. Until reaching the village of Hexamili, the road was covered with water from the continual rains. There the road to Cenchrea branched off to the right. In the vicinity of Kalamaki, we passed first the ruins of the ancient isthmic wall, and not long after the site of the great ship canal that was undertaken to unite the waters of the Saronic and Corinthian Gulfs. Here the width of the isthmus of Corinth is the least. It is to be hoped that the enterprise of the present day will soon construct a new canal, from which advantages so great would result to the commerce of the world. The isthmus is but three miles and a half wide in a direct line, and the utmost elevation is 250 feet above the sea. In this neighborhood the famous Isthmian games were celebrated once in four years. A theatre, situated on the hill above Kalamaki, can even now be recognized, and may have been connected with their celebration.
At Kalamaki I found the Austrian steamer waiting for the passengers and merchandise that had landed from the other steamer at Lutraki, on the Corinthian Gulf. At three o'clock we started for Piræus, which we reached at half past six that afternoon.
“And thence from Athens turn away our eyes,
THE months of April and May are the most pleasant of the year for traveling in Greece, and I had been waiting some time for agreeable companions only to commence my long-contemplated tour. By accident I fell in with two gentlemen—the one an Englishman, and the other a Frenchman—who proposed pursuing the same route, and who had reached Athens at the most suitable season. In other countries the traveler is left comparatively independent of the rest of mankind in forming his plans. Almost every where he will find good roads, regular conveyances, and tolerable hotels. He may spend at a given place just as much time as he shall find agreeable; and, on leaving, is certain of meeting fellow-travelers similar to those from whom he has parted. Not so in Greece. Here the tourist is tied down to the same party, from the time of departure until he once more sets foot in Athens—unless, indeed, he prefers proceeding in solitary glory, with no better company than an illiterate guide and one or two stupid peasants.
SELECTION OF A GUIDE. 161
We found that the organizing of an expedition so extensive as that which we had planned was the work of some days. Guides there were in abundance willing to undertake, at a fixed rate per diem, to conduct us into any part of Greece. We put an end to their rival pretensions by a personal inspection of their equipments. The harness of the horses; the portable bedsteads, table, and chairs; the cooking utensils—all underwent a rigid scrutiny: the result of which was that we chose Nicholas Combotteca for our guide. I should not fail to mention, however, that the candidates for that honor were questioned as to their knowledge of the route, and we satisfied ourselves that Nicholas was better acquainted with the localities we were to visit than any of his competitors. Tuesday, April 27th, was fixed upon as the day for our departure, and our guide was empowered to engage a caique at Piraeus, as well as to send on horses to await our arrival at Epidaurus.
We did not forget to obtain the requisite passes for our whole company at the police-office; our passports were happily laid aside for the time, and we could travel with a simple order from one part of the country to the other. Without this we should have been subject, at every town or mountain pass, to be arrested as brigands—the only class that take the liberty of dispensing with this formality in Greece.
At an early hour on the appointed day a carriage was waiting at my door to carry my companions and myself to Piraeus. Our luggage, in view of the fact that every thing was to be carried hereafter on horseback, was limited, by mutual consent, to a moderate carpet-bag, or something of equal bulk. In this bag we must, some way or other, find room to stow away our wearing apparel for more than a month, and sundry guide-books, which we severally contributed to the general stock. On the top of the carriage, and in another which had been sent on before, were piled baskets, mattresses—every thing, in short, that was to conduce to our future comfort. We had scarcely started, when my comrades discovered that I had brought a watch with me, at which they informed me that they had left theirs in the hotel-keeper's hands for fear of robbers, and were quite destitute of any jewelry to tempt the avarice of the klefts. Profiting by their ex