February 8, 2012

GLOBAL WARMING?:

Holland Abuzz about 'Mythical' Skating Race (Charles Hawley, 2/08/12, Der Spiegel)

The event hasn't been held for 15 years. But, this week, Holland is abuzz with anticipation that the famed "11 Cities Tour" might take place in the coming days. All that's needed are a few more cold nights before 16,000 skaters can take to the 200-kilometer course.

The activity is reminiscent of a small Alpine town after a blizzard. Thousands of volunteers this week have grabbed their shovels and are frantically clearing away a thick layer of white stuff amid frigid temperatures. Even military troops have joined in the effort.

But the scenes are not from a mountain village buried by a heavy snowstorm. Rather, the massive army of helpers can be found in the Netherlands, where the entire nation is excitedly anticipating the prospect of a massive ice-skating event -- and one that hasn't been held for 15 years.

Called the Elfstedentocht, or 11 Cities Tour, the event follows a course almost 200 kilometers (125 miles) long through the extensive network of canals, lakes and rivers in Friesland, the Dutch province in the very north of the tiny country, passing through 11 towns in the region. And it can only be held when the ice along the entire track reaches a thickness of 15 centimeters (six inches).
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Posted by at February 8, 2012 3:52 PM
  

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