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Pictures from Mike and Anita James

Mike and Anita James

Reaching Children – Training Leaders

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Feb '12

History Almost Made

If it gets and stays cold in The Netherlands, people get pretty excited.  They look forward to the Elfstedentocht.  That means eleven city tour.  Ice skaters race along natural ice paths for around 200 kilometers (120 miles).  The ice has to be 15 centimeters (6 inches) thick throughout the course for it to be officially on.  We’ve been here when it was close, but snow actually messed everything up.  This year was the closest we’ve seen to them having it.

It was cold for a long time, and it didn’t snow enough to ruin the ice.  People were on the ice enjoying the natural ice.  You can understand why the Dutch have a long history of very good speed skaters.  It’s something they’ve naturally done for years.  The last time there was an Elfstedentocht was 1997.  We watched the news reporter who announced, “Wij hebben geen goede nieuws” (We have no good news) and were saddened along with everyone.  There’s always next year.  Of course, to have it, we have to go through a bitter winter again.  Do I really want to see that race?

Chair left on the ice - Used to help an unsteady skater

People loved getting out onto the ice.  There was a cafe in Leiden that even opened up tables and seating on the ice.  Even though it was miserably cold and I was very tired of the cold and ice, it was very pretty.

Normally by the canal, there are runners. On this day, there were skaters.

Fortunately, it’s warmed up a bit.  It’s not warm by any means, but there’s hope for it.  Flowers are starting to pop up, and we are enjoying another beautiful aspect of life in The Netherlands.

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