Last Saturday I ice skated outside of an ice rink for the first time. My days doing loops around Dahlgren Hall in the Naval Academy, taking a break every 20 minutes for pizza and ice cream were a distant memory. This was real ice skating. In a place where kids learn to skate at the same time they learn to walk (and ski, for that matter) and people drive their cars across the ice in the north to get to the archipelago islands.
To the Ice, Round II
We skated a total of 25 kilometers across 3 lakes: Brunnsviken to Edsviken to Norrviken. We were 5, led by the skating-adept Pierre, who was so kind to organize the expedition. I was the slowest, having only been ice skating a handful of times in my life, but not by much. I wore long blades strapped to my ankle with special boots that squeezed my calves so hard I had (and still have) bruises and could barely walk by the end.
My skating technique needs some work, to say the least. For some reason, I seem to need to stretch my arms out parallel to the ground and look at the ice ahead of me to keep my balance. I was, however, still able to appreciate the beauty around me, surrounded by trees and towns on the hillsides.
Hiking between the first and second lake, we stopped for a fika (coffee/pastry break) in a little cafe inside a nursery before continuing to Edsviken. This 14-km lake had a little stand in the middle where a boy scout troop was fundraising, selling sausages they were grilling on the ice! In the US, we have bake sales outside grocery stores; in Sweden, they set up stands in the middle of frozen lakes.
The day was gorgeous; the ice was – if slightly slushy on top – thick enough; and I didn’t fall through, which is always a good thing. But I still had my isdubbars just in case.