- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
213

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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OVER THE CASPIAN TO ASTRAKHAN
213
passenger-boat up the Volga. Comrade Tarkhov,
chief of the executive committee in the province of
Astrakhan, came on board to welcome us; with
him came also the head of all the shipping lines
here. They told us wc must wait and go by the
express boat next evening, for the one that went
at ten o’clock that same evening was a mixed goods
and passenger boat and much slower. But wc could
shift over at once to the express boat, as it was
lying near. It was a splendid roomy paddle-boat,
and wc were given the coolest and largest cabin
I think I have ever seen on any ship, as high as an
hotel ashore. Everything looked promising.
With Comrade Tarkhov and his friend wc then
went to a summer theatre in a large garden, where
an operetta was being given. The house was full,
and it was interesting to watch the many pro
menaders in the garden in the long intervals.
They mostly gave the impression of belonging to
a prosperous working class, but with a sprinkling
of others ; the ladies were quite well dressed.
The next morning ( 1 3th ofJuly) a car was put at
our disposal, and wc drove round the town. It
has over 175,000 inhabitants, and from olden
times has been an important trading town for this
part of the world. It is extraordinarily well placed
here at the mouth of the Volga as a transit harbour
for all the trade and traffic to and from the immense
area belonging to the mighty river and waterway,
and to and from the Caspian, whose hinterland is
also very great, especially when wc bear in mmd
the Trans-Caspian Railway to the rich lands in the

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