Skating in Friesland
Monday 3rd July - Hinderloopen
OK, so we didn't go skating. On the contrary we had a rest day in harbour.
Two reasons for staying put: firstly despite the forecast it is blowing a hoolie and second Howard has put his back out. He did all that "pulley-hauley" stuff yesterday with impunity, and then today he spots an issue with the light in the fridge (seems to be heating as well as lighting and the thermostat is affected), he kneels and bends and twists to get the bulb out and – ouch!
So he's dosed with ibuprofen, and cold gel is applied at regular intervals and we have a rest day.
The highlight was the Skating Museum – it's a small private museum housing a vast collection of skates and skating artefacts. Howard even forgot his sore back for a while.
There are traditional skate-making workshops set up and detailed memorabilia of skating in Friesland through the ages. The big highlight of winter here when its cold enough for long enough is a race which takes place only when there is enough ice around a 200km route taking in 11 towns in Friesland. Called the Elfstedentocht, it has in this museum a shrine to its organising committees, its competitors and of course its winners. It doesn't happen every year – only when the natural ice along the entire course is at least 12cm thick and that hasn't happened now for quite a few years. There might be 300 serious speed skating racers and then literally thousands of people skate the course behind them. Wikipedia will give you the full story so I won't transcribe it (any further!) but you can read the story there of the 2012 event which didn't happen and it gives quite an insight.
Elfstedentocht champions are heros here - that much is clear.
|Through the ages|
|Early ideas for roller skating|
|Bicycle principles applied|