- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
396

(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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THROUGH SIBERIA
with cutting the hay required for their many horses,
and for a few cows—we saw haystacks along the plain
—and for the rest they live by hunting. Later in the
day we came to Kundiir station, where the engineer,
Skugarevsky, lives in a comfortable home, with a pretty
garden and even a playground and swing for his children ;
and the year before it had been all bog here ; the German
engineer told me that eighteen months ago he and his
horse had stuck fast at this place and had been unable
to go on. Now carrots, beetroot, potatoes, tomatoes,
and even water-melons were being grown in the open air.
It must be added that only two of them had ripened
more or less, and we had one of these for lunch ; but we
were told they had been planted too late.
After an abundant lunch we went on again and
gradually ascended towards the longest tunnel on the
line, through the western ridge of the Little Khingån,
or perhaps more correctly a separate range somewhat
farther west. The tunnel is 1600 yards long, and runs
through mica-schist. After going through a kilometre
of the tunnel, which is not yet bored through, we went
up over the ridge in the car, and then downhill again
at a wilder pace than ever ; the ruts were frozen, but
had thawed a little in places, so the car swung from
one side of the road to the other, and now and again
we were shot up into the air. I was waiting every
moment to be flung headlong among the tree-stumps,
and all I thought about was where I should prefer the
stump to catch me. But nothing happened after all.
When we had got to the bottom and along a piece of
level road, we had to go up another hill and the gear
was changed ; but then the car refused to do any more ;
the engine simply raced and wc stood still. One of
the gear-wheels had stripped ; it would take four
hours to repair it, and there was nothing to be done
396

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