- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVII. The Amúr district and the Amúr railway

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hydrogen, even if they were dug fifteen feet down. It
was chiefly open prairie, but here and there were large
copses of birch with dazzlingly white stems. It is the
" white birch " that grows here, and it is rightly named.
Unlike our birches at home, it is white from the root out
to the farthest branches, and it has a curiously light
appearance, especially now that the leaves are gone.
The effect is quite unnatural, as though some one had
whitewashed them all over, as is done with fruit trees,
except that here the branches are also white to the
smallest twigs. Here again the trees are always far
apart. As we come farther west we begin to see a few
oaks among the birches, and here and there a solitary
larch. Grass grows everywhere, even among the trees
in the copses.
In the course of the day, as we trundled on to the
west in our trolleys, we came in sight of blue mountains
rising above the, plain far ahead. They were the ridges
of Little Khingån.
During the afternoon we came to the end of our
trolley journey ; no more line had been laid, and thence
forward we had to use motor-cars along the uneven road
which everywhere follows the railway, and is the first
thing to be made through the country where the rail
way is to run. This road is to be kept up after the
completion of the line, chiefly for strategic reasons ; as,
if a piece of the line should be torn up by a hostile force,
troops and artillery would still be able to advance by
the road. Besides, it will also serve to give the settlers
access to the stations.
There were two motor-cars at our disposal. One of
them was a good, powerful road car for ourselves, of the
usual type ; the other was an armoured car to take our
baggage. It was usually employed in carrying the mails
for the railway in this insecure country. It was

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