- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
74

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
74
East of the valley towards the land of the
Khevsurs there are no villages to see; they keep
farther away from the outside world and in their
mountain gorges.
When the village of Mleti (1,513 metres abovethe
sea) has been passed—it Hes on a high precipice
over the Aragva—the road crosses a bridge over the
foaming waters, and here the mountain world
starts in earnest. Up to now the road has been able
to follow the gradually rising valley along the
stream; but now there is an end to this, and wc
cannot help asking ourselves whether wc are really
to climb those high precipitous mountain walis
that soar before us. But yonder winds the road,
indeed, bend after bend, till it disappears high up
over the rim.
Up, up wc went, turn after turn, forwards and
backwards, higher and higher. The valley sank
deeper and deeper at every bend ; wc could not see
the precipice below us, but only knew that the edge
of the road fell sheer down hundreds of metres.
Some of the bends were so sudden that wc had to
take the car to the very edge of the precipice so as
to swing round.
As wc climbed higher and higher wc had a wide
view up and down the valley. Wc saw the Aragva
like a white ribbon of foam deep down in the abyss,
and the villages clinging like swallows’ nests to the
mountain walls below us on the other side, with
patches of field and green grass let into the steep
slopes around them. Behind this again the view
opened as far as the snowy mountains ; peak rose

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