- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
209

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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209
IX
OVER THE CASPIAN TO ASTRAKHAN
Quisling and I would gladly have made a long stay
in this interesting country among its sympathetic
people if only there had been time ; and it was
with regret that in the afternoon wc drove to the
steamer that was to take us over the Caspian to
the Volga. Our kind friends the two Presidents,
Samursky and Korkmazov, and others of the
commissariat went on board with us. Wc now
said good-bye to our hosts, who had shown us what
was meant by the renowned hospitality of their
land. The utmost thought was given to our
comfort on the overladen boat, and an array of
gifts was sent us on board worthy of an Eastern
prince.
The boat came from Baku and was full of pas
sengers bound north for Astrakhan; many, too,
came aboard at Makhach Kala, and the landing
stage was packed tight with people and crowded
with row after row of herring-barrels piled on one
another. Then at last wc were off, our hosts accom
panying us some way out in a small tug to wave a
last good-bye. Makhach Kala on its plain, with the
blue wall ofthe Caucasus behind, sank slowly below
the blue surface of the sea in the evening.
On this steamer wc had come again into a new
world. The many passengers seemed to be mostly
Russians; but what struck us like something new
after wc had been travelling in the Caucasian world

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