07 March 2011

The Wiener Eistraum

Wiener Eistraum, at night

The Wiener Eistraum, which translates ridiculously into English as "Viennese Ice Dream," is a massive skating rink set up in front of the Rathaus in Vienna and hosted, appropriately, the season-closing grand finale to my illustrious ice-skating career in Austria. 

Unlike the modest indoor skating rink in Waidhofen, with it's oomm-pahh music and rentable training penguins, the grand Wiener Eistraum (live webcam is sadly no longer functional...) was not for the faint of heart.  It consisted of two large rink areas and several one-way paths that wound around trees, lights, and speakers.  Some of the paths were strenuously uphill while other were frighteningly downhill.  Like so many ski slopes, the rink was also filled with fearless rocket-children apparently yearning to take me out at the knees.

My friend Emily and I had an excellent time skating around and managing to stay upright the whole time.  The highlight of the night, however, was passively watching the mesmerizing Zamboni, or Eisbearbeitungsmaschine in German.  We were far from alone in our fascination with the machine's magic ice-melting powers and its driver's expert cornering maneuvers.  I found it reassuring to learn that Zamboni-watching is an international phenomenon. 

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