Six Word Saturday. Want to play along? All that’s necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words.
Through Cold and Ice, Dutch Fever
The cold has struck Europe. Hard. After a very mellow winter, suddenly temperatures plummeted, especially in the east of Europe. In the Ukraine, over forty-three people died, twenty-eight of them froze to death in the streets. Hospitals are filled with people who suffer from frostbite. More deaths in Poland, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia. Most of the victims were homeless people.
The north of Finland has to deal with almost -40°C, in the north-west of Bulgaria temperatures dropped to -30°C, and even in Greece – sunny Greece – many schools were closed, due to cold. Ferry services have been cancelled because of storms and Athens has opened its public halls to twenty thousand residents who have become homeless because of the crisis. And the weather will worsen, with snow on Crete.
Here in Holland, a century old fever is starting to rise. If first appeared in 1909, a fever that grows more severe with every frosty day. The colder it gets, the higher the Dutch fever flares. It is called the Elfstedentocht-fever. The Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour) is the world’s largest and longest (200 kilometers / 124 miles) speed skating competition and leisure skating tour, and is held in the province of Friesland.
The last time the ice had the required thickness of fifteen centimeters along the entire course was in 1997, and on January 4th of that year, the Eleven Cities Tour started. It was extremely heavy. Temperatures were still below zero in daytime, ‘up’ to -3°C, but because of the heavy winds it felt more like -15°C! The 1997 Tour was the heaviest since the legendary 1963 Elfstedentocht. The Elfstedentocht of 1963 is known as ‘The hell of ’63’, when only 1% of the contestants finished the race, due to the extremely low temperatures -18°C and a harsh eastern wind. Conditions were so horrendous that the winner of ’63, Reinier Paping, became a national hero, and the tour itself legendary.
At the moment the ice is nowhere near the required thickness yet, but the fever is rising. Time to get my own temperature up now, my back yard is covered in a thick layer of snow (by Dutch standards ;)), and I need to shovel a path to the shed. Have a warm weekend!
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