- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
246

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
246
river for many years, and he could tell us much
about the life on the Volga both before and now.
Before the World War there was a varied and lively
world of travel here, with tourists to and from the
East, the Caucasus, and Southern Russia. Eight
great passenger-boats left Astrakhan for the north
every day, besides the cargo-steamers ; now there is
only one, and a mixed cargo and passenger boat.
After dinner there was coffee and a good eigar,
while the sun sparkled on the water and parched
the broad plain. It was a wonderful dolce far
niente. And when darkness fell Russian music and
song was heard from the great saloon, while water
and plain lay dreaming under the starry vault.
O—ho—hey, o—ho—hey
Volga, thou art dcep and great,
Volga, thou art mother of all.
Ay da—da ay da, ay da—da ay da.
Volga, Volga, slow and long
From the moment wc came into the Volga delta,
as wc have remarked more than once, it had been
striking to see how the west bank of the river was
always higher and steeper than the east one, which
was everywhere quite low and sloped gradually
into the water. It was most striking, too, as wc
have said, that the deepest and widest channel in
the delta—the one wc came up by—was for the
whole way the westemmost ofthe arms ofthe delta.
And so it was all the way to the north-west right
up to Stalingrad (Tsaritsin), where the river måkes
a sharp bend from the north-east. All along this
stretch of 450 kilometres the land on the east side

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