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

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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station it was curious to see the patient, phlegmatic
camels standing in a row with their carts and letting
the snow turn them white without moving a muscle.
Yes, indeed, this is the monotony of the steppes.
What a home for the nomad, who roamed here freely
with his cattle and his horses ! But now he is ousted
by the advancing settler, who makes butter and sends
it to England ; and the nomad is only to be found in
the poorer salt steppes farther south, where the settler
has not yet thought it worth his while to establish him
self ; but their turn will come, too.
Now and then wc see large herds of cows, mostly
brown like the Mongolian cattle, with a number of
horses and sheep, and mounted herdsmen with their
dogs. Occasionally some windmills appear far off on
the horizon ; or the cupolas and spires of a white church
rear themselves high above the plain, with a group of
low timber houses round about. It is as though this
towering white church had drawn all its nourishment
and vigour from these little houses, thereby stunting
them and checking their growth. The farther wc go,
the deeper is the winter. They are already sledging
over the steppes here, and at Kurgån in the afternoon
there were only sledges to be seen in the streets. But
it is flat, still flat.
Friday, October 24. During the night wc arrived
at Chelyåbinsk, and next morning wc were among the
eastern foot-hills of the Ural, on our way northward to
Yekaterinenburg. It was beautiful, fresh, white wintry
weather, with thick forests of big trees, mostly fir and
some spruce, weighed down by the snow, and hills,
with deep snow on the ground, perfect going for ski.
It was just like Christmas, and reminded one extra
ordinarily of home. Here, then, winter had already
2E 433

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