Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend ice skating

Last weekend saw the best ice skating conditions in the Netherlands in more than a decade. Laura and I were very much hoping to join all the Dutch skaters on the frozen canals and lakes, but after spending much of Saturday afternoon in old town Delft unsuccessfully inquiring about skate rentals, we were forced to give up. The Dutch were not caught similarly unprepared, and thus the weekend contained all manner of organized ice skating tours, races, etc. throughout the country. Below is a nice video from a Dutch marathon race held over the weekend, and here's an unrelated but very nice picture.

All of the ice skating fun has also resulted in a doubling of hospital business, freaked out train operators, and the rescue of ten people and a dog who walked across the ice to Pampus Island in Amsterdam but weren't able to walk back because of a newly formed rift. If you look at a map, you'll see that Pampus Island is something like 2 miles from land. Having grown up much closer to the equator, I can't even fathom that amount of uninterrupted ice.

On Sunday we met Laura's mom, Pam, at the airport and spent the day walking around Amsterdam, where we were fortunate to stumble upon some very nice natural ice at Vondel Park. The closest we got to skating was walking across the ice there, which was rock solid (though the three of us still shared fears of falling through).

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective), the weather is warming this week (it was a balmy 41°F today!) Thus, the Elfstedentocht looks increasingly unlikely. Maybe next year.

No comments: