Archive for January, 2009

Published January 7th, 2009 by Mliesie

The Dutch are getting nervous!

It’s freezing! Freezing cold!!!

 Over the last week it froze moderately, but since last night someone decided I should get really used to the cold of Yulin before leaving for Yulin ;-) It froze 15 degrees and it will be even colder tonight! As some of you may know….. the Dutch lOOOOOve ice. There are 3 things we learn while growing up: swimming, biking and ice skating. Even though we haven’t had a lot of natural ice over the last years, I see people of all ages skating on the ponds, canals and soon they will also be skating on the small lakes. I see people passing in the street with old skates, new skates, hockey sticks and with or without a chair to hold on to. It looks like pictures and paintings from a past long gone…… (you do need a bit of imagination for that ‘ long gone’ part :-) )

It seems many people are getting really excited now that winter has really started. Almost all the Dutch are talking about the most famous and infamous tour on ice we have; the “Elfstedentocht”, meaning the tour of 11 cities. It is a skating tour on natural ice in the northernmost province of Holland, Friesland. It’s famous, because if you manage to finish this tour you are famous forever and you’re a real toughy. It’s infamous, because only very few people actually manage to finish the tour, because it’s an horrendous tour with many obstacles, people who suffer from the cold, who suffer from frozen noses, fingers or toes, people who have blisters but do not want to give up and most of all because people cross the finish line in piece as they are so determined to get that medal and instant fame. Nevertheless, almost every man, woman and child in Holland can’t wait for the “Elfstedentocht” to get started.

No confirmation on that yet, but…… we will have our first Dutch Championship marathon on natural ice (in Holland!!!) since 12 years, coming Thursday. The news is broadcasting it, it’s in the newspapers and you can hear people talk about it in the streets. Yes, the Dutch are getting nervous, jumpy and some even seem to be in higher spirits. I very much enjoy watching all of this - on shore -. Below some pictures from last week’s skating. If possible I will add some more of the skating fun later on….. 

schaatsen 2.jpg    schaatsen1.jpg