Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ice Skating Season Begins

Outdoor skating rink, Na Františku, opened its ice this weekend, in well timed synch with the Prague Christmas markets. After a few days of accidental meanderings by Náměstí Míru to test out the market's treats, we decided ice skating might be just the right antidote for all the cider we'd tried this weekend.

Sunday afternoon found us adjusting last year's skates to the children's feet and packing up for a trip to the rink. Na Františku is right on the river, a little less than a kilometer's walk from Staroměstská metro. Most of the walk takes you through the Jewish quarter, with its beautiful art nouveau architecture and shop windows galore to enjoy while you walk by. Thanks to the entertainment, it's an easy stroll.

We arrived just after the start of the evening skate (4 pm, have I mentioned that's evening now?). In no time at all we had figured out tickets, a bench for our stuff and how to untie the triple knots in my skate laces. Time to try out the rink.

When you grow up in the South, you don't spend a lot of time skating on ice. Roller skating, yes, and these days roller blading, but I can count on two fingers the number of times I ice skated before we moved to Prague. I'm missing that kid conviction you keep as you grow up with a skill, and each year I wonder if I'm really going to be able to skate when the season begins. Skating backwards holding on to James' hands distracted me, and once I was racing around the rink with Caroline the bumps worked out, my feet stopped trying to remind me they preferred other footwear and all was well.

{1} We eventually borrowed a hockey goal frame for James to push around the rink. It worked better than holding my hands, but he's still not as excited as Caroline is about skating.
{2} If skating's not your thing, there's always basketball, and a playground too.
{3} By the end of the day, the ice had taken a beating, but was still firm enough for some fast footwork.
{4} The Spanish synagogue, one of my favorite buildings on the way back to the metro.
{5} Since the kids were starving afterwards, we ended the evening at a pizzeria downtown that is unusually kid friendly.


Laurey G said...

Sounds like a wonderful afternoon

Barrett Bonden said...

The Spanish Synagogue! I think that constitutes damning skating with faint praise. (Parenthetical thought: I think we walked past it.)

The moment people start having to wear crash helmets, other people start worrying.

Back home to warm milk and a couple of finger-cracking nocturnes. Or for that matter a chapter (The first for preference. In fact the first sentence of the first chapter.) of The Ambassadors.

Julia said...

BB : next time you visit, you should step into the Spanish synagogue, it lives up to its name most beautifully, and reminds me of a geode - plain on the outside, gorgeous on the in.

The crash helmets go nicely with the hockey goal James stepped around the ice with, but even without the goal, the skaters flinging themselves from one wall to another in a desperate attempt to keep standing (too much glog I'd guess?) made hat wear reassuring. That's also why we wear gloves when we skate - as one of our friends say, it's not as if you're going to slice off your own fingers on the ice, but someone else very well may.

meredith said...

I grew up ice skating on frozen lakes and rivers in northern Iowa, but my girls don't get to try it often in the south of France. My 11 yo is invited next weekend to an iceskating bday party next weekend and we're all excited for her. But it will be at an indoor rink.

Julia said...

An ice skating birthday party sounds very fun! Indoor or not, I'm sure she'll enjoy it.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ice skating can be SO HARD to learn--coupled with the falling/landing. How cool that your kids are learning young.