Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Canal Skating

I was amazed to see it actually happen on Christmas Day.  We were still opening presents when people started ice skating up and down the canal.  We ventured out to see our neighbors cleaning the ice to create an oval track about 80 meters long.  A few minutes later found us skating, sliding and falling down with them.

Children were playing ice hockey on the canal street parallel to us, and there seems to still be an abandoned bicycle lying on the ice in need of rescue.  This was all especially amazing because it was on Christmas Day that everyone finally ventured out.

I had been pessimistic in earlier blog posts that it would actually happen, so I felt I had to say something now that is has.  It’s not terribly surprising in this unusual December that we are experiencing in North Holland and in the U.S. 

It was unsettling to someone not used to standing on canals when the ice made a cracking sound as we gathered together talking with neighbors.  We were told to disperse a bit for weight distribution and not to worry about this type of sound, but to beware if a high pitched "ping" in the ice is heard. 

There were a few people still skating on the next day, even with temperatures above zero and snow sliding off roofs. We've chosen to wait until it stays freezing or below for a couple of days before we venture back out.  It looks like my wife is optimistic because she recently came home with a sack full of ice skates.

The white Christmas, comeplete with ice skating, has made this a memorable first holiday season here. But even with this frigid winter sport fun, I’ll soon be looking at what’s going on at some nearby beaches.  Stay warm!

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