Walking on water never looked so good.
On a recent run, I spotted this strange phenomenon and had to stop to take a photo. Abandoning the paths with grit and salt, locals took to the lakes skating along with children and small pets in tow. I have seen so many postcard moments in Vienna this winter but this one demanded that the gloves come off.
There were cute kids in snowman ski-suits zooming among the cautious, the mildly curious and the obligatory show-offs but what warmed my (racing) heart were the elderly couples holding hands and skating.
Tobogganing down the street, as you do.
Then, after the first snowfall, people decide that the pavement is the ideal surface for winter sports. Step aside Sochi city, the toddlers have spoken. I clearly took my gloves off too late but you get the idea. Winter wonders everywhere! Everyone I spoke to for the next week was extolling the virtues of skiing and snowboarding and other frozen adventures.
It wasn’t long before we caught schnee-fever and for our next date night, my husband and I ventured onto the ice with hired skates and pre-frozen toes. [Note to self: Good skates are expensive for a reason.] Vienna has an amazingly sophisticated set-up in the centre of town. Two brightly lit ice-rinks are connected by a maze of frozen one-way rivers. I felt it necessary to regress to school disco days with a mandatory turn around the main rink complete with a spectacular face-plant. After a hobble-sit-hug and some Gluehwein, I was ready to get back to our date-night.
The paths had a slight incline to give even the worst skaters something to smile about (until their teeth froze). It was so much more fun than skating round in circles in the big rinks trying to avoid some toppling toddler or some ice-hockey player showing off to his girlfriend. I much preferred gliding along these channels, deciding in a split-second which one I would take next, racing round a roundabout and trying to keep up with my husband who seemingly took to the ice like a penguin. A very tall penguin.
When I said sophisticated set-up, I meant jaw-dropping. This is a slice of our backdrop; the Rathaus aka Town Hall. With the twinkly lights, music, ice and the cosy looking wooden huts selling food and drink, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Except for a fire maybe.