Monday, December 6, 2010

Ice skating on the Oude Waal

Like I said in my last post, Saturday was a very exciting day! Not only was it snowing madly, but I got to spend some time doing my favourite winter sport - ice skating!!! Ever since I found out that our local Christmas markets were going ahead zonder ijsbaan this year, I've been really disappointed - the outdoor ice skating rink that is usually set up in the Valkhof park just had to be scrapped thanks to budget cuts the year we arrived in town :-( I took up figure skating as an adult - mostly as a bit of a joke and some fun & exercise - with a friend a few years ago. I was never brilliant, but I did learn to do different turns, spins, lunges, spirals and even some jumps in my own awkward fashion. We even went as far as to buy our own beautiful figure skates - which of course came over here in my backpack when we moved to Holland.

As we were driving out to Ooij yesterday, we were greeted by a white world - the flat fields were covered in snow and the little ponds were frozen.

As we neared the Oude Waal, I spotted some tiny figures in the distance down on what is usually a lake. Within seconds I realised the lake had frozen enough to be supporting a number of people skating on it!!!! Screams of excitement were heard in our car and once we found somewhere to turn around, we headed straight back home to get my ice skates!

After a loooong drive back (snow makes traffic even more unbearable) and pulling up at the lights beside a car full of 5 grinning Zwarte Piets (very, very amusing!) who seemed to be out in force yesterday with Sinterklaas - at least at the supermarket anyway, we arrived back and I quickly put on my skates (well as quickly as I could with numb fingers) - I was pleased to discover that they still fit!!! Mitch stood at the edge with some other onlookers under strict instructions to come save me if I somehow managed to break the ice :P I did speak to an older Dutch couple (they started talking to me, telling me I looked mooi -  I think they were referring to my hot pink attire, not my stumbling skating style) who assured me the lake was well and truly frozen through.

I'd skated outdoors before in Switzerland but they were on purpose built (intentionally flooded land) rinks - this was my very first time skating on a lake. One that looked like this less then 2 months ago. The verdict: it was somewhat difficult but I soon got my skating legs back and even managed a few 3 turns - no jumps on this ice though. I practiced on some smooth uncovered spots before heading out onto the rest of the lake like the other skaters - it was SO much fun! A little interesting every time I hit a thick pile of snow (I had to kinda walk-hobble instead of skate), but fun all the same. The wind kept blowing me though and it was SNOWING!!! Mind you, this really just added to the wintry atmosphere.

I still can't believe I got to go ice skating on a lake just minutes from our home... Another entirely new experience for this Aussie! It might be freezing but I'm loving our white Christmas so far - bring on some more skating I say! Now the goal is to go find Mitch a pair of skates so that he can join me on the ice next time :-)

Oh - and here's a few little clips of me getting my skating legs back :-)

1 comment:

  1. Lu! I loved the movies!! You look like your getting your ice-skating spunk back :)) Love it!! Much love from me!
    Love Martine


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