As most of you must have noticed, otherwise you have lived under a very big rock, it has snowed tremendously the last week. It also was so cold that the Elfstedentocht discussions have started. Although the discussion is not only about whether it giet oan due to the ice thickness but also due to the pandemic. Eventually, the ice was not thick enough, but the previous winner of the Elfstedentocht in 1997 did skate the route together with his brother. However, there are other activities you can do in the snow, although ice skating will still be one of the favorites of the Dutch people. One of the many activities I myself have undertaken in the snow. One of them is sledding of course, together with my brother. I also enjoyed walking with my dog in the morning and practicing for the KiekCie foto challenge.
The Netherlands is the country of ice skating. Having the largest number of speed skating rinks in the world and the sheer number of medals earned by Dutch skaters is evidence of that. Skating on an ice rink is fun and all but the real deal is of course skating on the lakes, rivers, and channels in the open air. Traveling 20 to 40 kilometers per hour on just two pieces of metal on black, compact, and smooth ice in the middle of nature can give you the feeling that you are flying. The feeling of freedom when touring places otherwise not accessible is also a beautiful thing. The culture around skating on natural ice adds a lot to the experience. A natural kind of social cohesion exists on the ice where starting a conversation with a complete stranger is quite normal. People in need of help can expect a quick response and leaving stuff unattended for hours onshore is usually no problem. You are together on the ice and thus make it fun together. Sadly the possibilities for skating on natural ice are slowly disappearing due to rising temperatures, but whenever it is possible I will be there.
As you might know, I am a very fanatic skier. I just love skiing, and I have been very active in this sport since I was 7 years old. Skiing in the Netherlands is not a weird thing for me. At least two times a week, you can find me at the indoor ski slope in Valkenswaard, on which I give skiing lessons. Also, I travel to the mountains every chance that I get to enjoy the snow, as long as money allows it, sometimes even during summer times! However, I’ve never gotten the opportunity to ski outside in the Netherlands. Maybe if I would have been able to travel, I wouldn’t have been so excited about such a small ski slope, but when I saw the amount of snow last Sunday, I just could not resist! I immediately woke up my dad, and together we went to a small hill in Meerhoven. Of course, this was very crowded, but many people were flabbergasted by the fact that we carried our skis to the top, only to ski down for 5 seconds, so we had quite some space to ski.
Naturally, I also enjoy other activities in the snow. Together with my boyfriend and my sister, we went sledding. I also really enjoy hiking in the snow, in the woods near Best. On Monday, Wieger and I even held a winter BBQ! We just put a BBQ on our balcony and enjoyed some grilled (vegetarian) hamburgers in the snow! It was a lot of fun, and especially with the apres-ski music that we played, and the beers we drank, it really felt like a true apres-ski! Even though we are in lockdown, I am still able to celebrate crossing those two awesome things off of my bucket list in 2021!
Ice and snow, even though we have an abundance of rain in The Netherlands these first two are not so common in the Netherlands. Because I am one of those crazy people that rather have winter than summer you could find me outside multiple times. I went sledding multiple days with my brother or with friends. This did not always go to plan as I sometimes fell before I reached the end of the slope, and if this was not the case, I would fall at the end of the slope. But we had fun nevertheless and it did not stop us from going again. If it will snow next year and you need a good sledding spot I can definitely recommend the Gulberg. I have also been busy ice skating with my girlfriend which delivered some really fun moments. There was a small bar where you could get glühwein and they played apres-ski music this gave a great atmosphere.
On Thursday I had already looked up if there were any good places to go ice skating on natural ice close to my house. However, ice skating on my own didn't sound like much fun so I didn't really make any plans. Which is why I was very excited when my aunt and cousin said that they were going ice skating Friday and I asked if I could join them!
We went ice skating at the Oud Meer (Old lake) in Son. Which is a pretty big lake where you can skate some decent rounds. My cousin and I, however, are not really 'endurance' skaters so after every round we found a corner, far away from people with ice hockey sticks, where we could do some backwards skating, pirouettes, other tricks, and ofcourse take the necessary Instagram pictures and videos.
Of course, it was cold and the wind was quite intense in some places, but overall it was just really nice to have some fun outside and use this opportunity to skate on natural ice.