The Elfstedentocht (see also the post about this Dutch phenomenon) also has a pet name: tocht der tochten, which means “the tour of all tours”.
Of course, the madness goes on and it will last until this frost period is over. A weather forecaster estimated the chances for organizing the tour soon at 20%.
A rayon head (responsible for measuring the ice thickness and for organizing the tour) said yesterday on tv that at least one week with max. temperatures of -15°C would be necessary in order to get to an acceptable thickness of the ice. Until now, the lowest forecasted temperature is of -10°C in the night from Friday to Saturday.
However, the passionated Dutch will not be intimidated by such informations. The pomping stations on the rivers have been stopped and the vessels may not sail anymore in the region, because still waters freeze more easily. Yesterday the first skating marathon on natural ice took place, the Dutch insist that it is natural ice, but I really don’t see how it could be, since people have wet an athletic ground and have let it freeze, OK, the freezing process was natural, but the water that froze wasn’t originally there! On the news yesterday I saw a mother with two children holding their skates in their hands and looking very disappointed as the ice was not ready for skating yet… the despair is big, if after 2 days of moderate frost a mother gives her children skates and hopes that they can use them.
Maybe you are tempted to feel sorry for the Dutch who want to have an Elfstedentocht so badly and who have so much bad luck every year… don’t worry, they found a solution. Since the ’70’s an alternative Elfstedentocht is being organized in Austria, well what did you expect, that the Dutch climate will stop us? If we have no proper conditions, we’ll go wherever they are and pretend to be skating the tour of the 11 Dutch towns while being abroad! One of the participants in Austria said he is checking the weather in Holland all the time and that he is convinced that he will skate the tour twice this winter, in Austria as well as in Holland. Why he is convinced about it I could never tell.
On tv I’ve also seen yesterday a compilation of the news of the past years, when, just as now, there have been speculations on this subject, but the tour of all tours still didn’t happen… I don’t even know how to describe this obsession, it is kind of funny, but if you take it seriously it can be annoying and pathetic. I got so far that I start to wish it could go through, and even every year, then we would have peace at last.
On the same subject, this evening the Dutch national television will air the film from 2009 “The hel of ’63”, when a tour took place but the conditions were so bad, that only a few people managed to reach the finish. See the story of the movie here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1156132/plotsummary
To watch the film or not to watch? … That is the question 🙂