I saw the sign, and didn’t think it was that big a deal. From Nov. 26 to Dec. 27 there would be a skating rink set up on the pedestrian mall in Mullheim, the largest town in our region.
It is only now that I am beginning to appreciate that it is a big event. This is the southern part of Germany, I don’t know if it will get cold enough this winter for snow, let alone an outdoor skating rink. That is much different from what I am used to.
Mullheim has about 20,000 people. In Canada a town that size would have a couple of indoor rinks (not to mention an outdoor one in every park during winter). As far as I can tell, the closest arenas are in Freiburg or Basel (Switzerland) – call it a 45 minute drive in each direction. Opportunities to skate are few and far between here.
I had seen the rink set up as part of the Christmas Market in Lippstadt. You could rent skates for a modest fee, but not many people seemed to be doing that. Maybe most Germans don’t know how to skate. In Canada you learn to skate before you learn how to swim.
I passed by the Mullheim rink a few times in the past week or so. It is located right where I transfer from one bus to another if I am using the transit system. So I took a look. Compared to Lippstadt, it was crowded.
It was set up almost like a mini Christmas Market. No crafts for sale, but you could buy hot wine and crepes, hot nuts and I think I saw a sausage vendor. The food huts weren’t busy in the afternoon, but the place was crowded in the evening. The skate rental hut was busy. There was a bandshell, but no entertainment on stage when I went by.
I didn’t try it. It has been a long time since I was last on skates, but that wasn’t the reason. I was dissuaded by the bus system. If I had missed my connection it would be a ten kilometre walk home. Admittedly, that’s not very long if you know where you are going, but I didn’t want to try it on unmarked trails in the dark.
Maybe next year.