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(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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valley, and there were quantities of large fallen rocks
scattered over the slopes. These jagged crests of harder
rock are left standing like ancient ruins and, as has been
said before, they afford a good standard of the severe
weathering of all the looser surrounding soil. They
show that here again there cannot have been any Ice
Age with a sheath of glaciers for long geological periods.
At Barim there is another Russian military post,
with long, low houses for the officers and soldiers. All
day we travelled through the same desolate landscape
with the same brown prairies sparsely covered with
small trees and bushes, and the bare brown heights
beyond. There were still few signs of habitation
besides the scattered houses along the line which
have been built for the railwaymen. The extent of
these deserted steppes is immense, hundreds of miles
on every side, beyond the Great Khingån and far into
Mongolia on the west. As the Khingån Mountains
gradually disappear on the west against the glowing
sunset, the heights around us become lower and lower,
and we shall soon be on the perfectly flat plain which
extends far to the eastward, to beyond Kharbin.
We are near the northern boundary of the Eastern
desert of Gobi, and are travelling along the frontier of
The plan was that Mr. Wourtzel should go straight
on to Khabarovsk and stay there a few days to confer
with the Governor-General, before resuming our journey
through the Amiir district. He proposed therefore that
I should go and see Vladivostok in the meantime,
which I was very glad to do. But as I knew no
Russian, he had telegraphed to the direction of the
Eastern Chinese line at Kharbin, asking whether they
could not provide somebody who spoke German or
English, to accompany me to Vladivostok.

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