- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
212

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE GAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
212
of the arm of the river by which wc were coming up,
which was also the most westerly one in the delta. As
usual great churches stood high above the low houses
ofthe villages, the houses often spreading far around.
Over the green reedy shores flew birds that looked
just like big black duck, but which are not much
eaten, it was said ; there are said to be, however,
plenty of other kinds of duck, and splendid duck
and goose-shooting. When the water is at its average
height you can wade for kilometres over the reedy
flats of the delta, especially to the east of where wc
were ; the water does not reach more than half-way
up the shank, and there are great quantities of wild
duck and geese in these reeds.
The channel up was shallow and difficult all the
time, with sand-banks everywhere; but the course
was well buoyed. There was a lively traffic on the
river, and it grew as wc came nearer to Astrakhan ;
one had the impression of approaching one of the
great trading centres. There were many fishing
boats everywhere, and strings of heavy lighters in
tow; often three were tied up together at the bows
side by side in a bunch, as it were, so that their
sterns tailed out sideways as they were towed up.
One was more and more struck by the fact that the
land on the west side of the channel grew higher,
while on the east it was low and swampy.
Astrakhan
At half-past eight in the evening wc reached
Astrakhan, half an hour too late to catch the

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