Holland has been waiting with baited, icy breath to hear whether the “Elfsteden tocht” (a ridiculously long ice skating race, something like 200kms across natural ice in the North of Holland) might finally get the green light this year. The last one was in 1997, so the Dutchies are keen for a re-run. Every year the air buzzes with icy excitement and everyone is sure that this will be the year, the weather bureau confirms it, old farmers with beer bellies jump up and down on frozen canals confirming that it’s no joke, “it’s frozen folks!” (I cant help but hope they fall through, I know I’m a sick puppy. I have the same with formula one racing I always feel a pinch of disappointment when no one bursts into flames)
Where does this frosty rumor mill leave me as the token tourist? I fall for it every year, collecting packets of pea soup and cans of sausages getting all set for the frozen spectacle, but it never happens. Winter melts slowly into spring and everybody pins their hopes on next year.
And here we go again, we’re in the middle of Frozen Fever it’s front page news, and there are hourly ice updates. My optimism has chilled and turned into frozen cubes of skepticism so I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t perhaps the Dutch Leprechaun or the pot at the end of the rainbow.
I’m going to blame it on global warming, it killed Big Foot, the Lochness monster and maybe the Elfstedentocht is the latest victim… But what do I know, maybe this WILL be the year….