- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
429

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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429
HOMEWARD THROUGH SIBERIA
was -49-7°C. (-57*4° F.), and the lowest temperature
was -56° C. (-68-8° F.).
At Chitå wc parted from the chief engineers, Seest
and Podrutskiy, who live there, and then the tram took
us on homeward to Russia over the same wide prairies,
with low hills covered with thin forest, which wc had
crossed on our way to the east. And again wc climbed
slowly up the ridge of the Yåblonovi Mountains and
the watershed between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans,
the Amiir and the Yenisei.
Sunday, October 19. Next morning the country
became altogether mountainous again. The line runs
through the valley by the side of the broad Selengå,
with lofty, fir-clad hills on both sides. The forest is
thick, and some of the trees are quite large. On the
level ground at the bottom of the valley there are
meadows with haystacks and fences, and here and there
what look like stretches of willows. The country is
still thinly inhabited, but the villages become more and
more frequent as wc come lower down. These wooded
hill-sides and cultivated lands with fences of sticks,
these cornfields and cows and horses on the pastures,
with here and there copses of vigorous firs and fine
birches, all have such an extraordinarily homelike look
that I feel quite as if I were back in Norway. These
split-stick fences and these fields, nay, sometimes even
the houses, are exactly what one might see in Numedal
or Valdres. Nor is there much difference in the horses,
though the cows are certainly more Mongolian, many of
them brown. Gradually the valley begins to widen
and the hills recéde. There is more and more cultiva
tion, with one large village after another, their white
churches gleaming over the valley ; in one place there
is even a large convent on the plain, where the Selengå
forms its delta on Lake Baikål, and wc see blue hills

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