- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
427

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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427
CHAPTER XIX
HOMEWARD THROUGH SIBERIA
Along the Shilka : Climatic variations : Chitå : Along the
Selengå : Baikål : Tulun : Krasnoyarsk : The country to the
east of Krasnoyarsk : Rodichev ; a politician’s views of
Siberia : Novo Nikolåyevsk : The flat steppes : The Ural and
winter : Yekaterinenburg : Back to Europe : Perm and Viatka:
Farewell to Siberia
QATURDAY, OCTOBER 18. As I look out of the
carriage window this morning, the country has
completely changed. Wc are going up the valley along
the Shilka, and the hills on both sides are covered
by birch forest, interspersed with some firs. In many
places the slopes are entirely grass-grown without trees,
and a few aspens and other foliage trees are seen
down on the level ground. The climate must be more
favourable to forest growth, although the altitude is
not so very much lower than yesterday ; for the trees
are much bigger and more luxuriant. The Shilka
valley is fairly narrow where wc are now travelling,
and the mountains descend to the river on both sides ;
but then it suddenly widens out into broad grass plains,
surrounded by low hills. Villages, large and small,
lic along the banks of the river. These are no doubt
inhabited by Cossacks, to some extent, in any case.
What they live on is something of a riddle to me.
There are no crops to speak of ; they grow a little oats,
but it seldom ripens and is sown chiefly for green
fodder ; potatoes and other vegetables do well, and there

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