- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
262

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
once accustomed to it, one can even sleep. I could not
help thinking of how often I had sat nodding and
dozing in a Norwegian kariol or stolkjerre, without
being able to find a convenient position. In a tarantass
one could sleep the whole time, if it were not for the
bumping.
The tarantass is usually drawn by three horses, troika,
which is the commonest team on these roads ; but such
grand people as ourselves of course had also four, some
times. The horses are always harnessed abreast. The
middle horse goes in the shafts, under the big wooden
bow that is so characteristic of all Russian vehicles.
To this the shafts are made fast, and the idea must be
to keep them clear of the horses’ sides ; but this bow
is big and heavy, and a lot of work is spent upon it ;
it is handsomely carved and painted, and on it the
bells are hung. The other horses are harnessed on each
side of the middle one. They are supposed to gallop,
while the middle horse trots. They have to keep well
out to the side and not crowd in on the middle horse ;
for which reason they generally go with their heads
turned far out, and this looks very curious.
We drove continually night and day until we reached
Krasnoyarsk, with the exception of the thirteen stations
where we changed horses. But there we often had to
wait a confoundedly long time, although the horses were
supposed to be ready, as the people had been given
notice of our arrival and were expecting us. Things
are not made so easy for the majority of travellers.
The peculiarity about these Siberian posting-stations
is that, while the stations are appointed by the Govern
ment, there are no fixed rates for posting, and the post
master is free to ask what he likes. It is the same with
the droshkies in the towns. You first have to bargain
and agree about the price, and you may often be
262

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