English Girl in Vienna

Cultural Commentator

Eis Laufen

Ice skating. Can you do it?

In an attempt to be a bit more active during the week and break out of our rather mundane habit of going to work and going home, going to work and going home, the hubs and I decided to do ‘something’ one evening per week. This week it was ice skating. The Viennese city council has constructed a large ice rink complex outside the Rathaus, the city hall. They have decked the entire ground, put up a booth for Radio Wien DJs to play some tunes and built two skating rinks linked by a long series of winding skating lanes complete with roundabouts. For the non-skaters there is a newly built log cabin pub, curling lanes and various stalls selling sausage, beer and Gluhwein.

Having been to look the weekend it opened when it was filled with loads of people, all of whom seemed able to skate, even the golden oldies, I was filled with trepidation. I’d been distressed by the absence of bandy-legged first timers clinging to the sides and people tripping over unfortunates who had fallen. But during the week and in the dark of the early evening it was much quieter. There were even a few people clinging to the sides, so we didn’t stick out too much at all. And there were kids throwing themselves on the ice tripping their parents and other unskilled skaters up. So, we went round a few times, never far from the sides and then plucked up the courage to skate down the lanes, hoping that no one wanted to get on the roundabouts while we were getting off. It was marvellous fun.

I’m happy to say I only fell once. It was a most spectacular fall, one done in slow motion, which ended with me lying face down on the ice with arms stretched out like I was doing a Superman impression. It had even attracted the attention of two attendants who appeared seconds later to check on me. I, like all the other fallers, was easy to spot. We wore our shame as a layer of snow coating our fronts, backs, bums, knees, whatever was the exact body part with which we’d hit the ice. As such, I had snow on the insides of my arms, the palms of my gloves, the full length of my coat and jeans and in my hair. Soon after, my legs turned to jelly, so it was game over and time for a bowl of soup.

Ice skating at the Rathaus; brilliant!


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