Friday, 9 January 2009

How do you feel about skating a marathon ?


Sonata :

It's cold . But not cold enough , apparently . The rest of Holland is "enjoying " temperatures of under minus 10 , and in some places minus 18 , while we northeners are basking in a mild minus 2 or 3 . The spokesperson for the Friesian Iceskating association has said , "It's not a real winter yet ".This suits me fine , I must say but the thousands of skaters who are desperate to take part in The Elfstedentocht are on tenterhooks .

They're all ready to rush to Leeuwarden and skate through eleven towns in this corner of Friesland in a day ..... over 200 kilometers in all . Frostbite , heart attacks , even the possibility of the end of your nose dropping off ( maybe apocryphal ) are no deterrent to the real afficionado .....you meet several older men here who've competed in three Elfstedentochts and are ready for the fourth ! The last winter that was cold enough for the ice to carry the 16,000 entrants , 25 soup stalls and endless First Aid posts , spectators and television crews was in 1997 .

I hope they get the chance again this year ...... but I'm looking forward to a Collector's Fair tomorrow and a weekend by the fire !