left undone, on the most isolated lines, to ensure comfort, not to say luxury. Even in this remote district the refreshment-rooms were far above the average in England. At Akstafá, for instance, a station surrounded by a howling wilderness of steppe and marsh; well-cooked viands, game, pastry, and other delicacies, gladdened the eye, instead of the fly-blown buns and petrified sandwiches only too familiar to the English railway traveller. The best railway buffet I have ever seen is at Tiumen, the terminus of the Oural railway, and actually in Siberia.
Railway travelling has, however, one drawback in this part of Russia, which, though it does not upset the arrangements of a casual traveller, must seriously inconvenience the natives--the distance of stations from towns. We drank tea, a couple of hours or so before arriving at Baku, at a station situated more than one hundred versts [E] from the town of its name. The inhabitants of the latter seldom availed themselves of the railway, but found it easier, exc
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