Travel by numbers: Winter skating
Nice ice wherever you are... Melissa Hogenboom scores the surface
Saturday 12 December 2009
Today's date in December is also the day the ice rink at the Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles begins (from 4pm-9pm Mon-Tues and Thurs-Fri; from 2pm-9pm on Weds, Sat-Sun until 6 January; €10 per hour). Once you've got your skates off, try the Christmas Market, with stalls selling local crafts and gifts (open on Weds, Sat-Sun only to 27 December). trianonpalace.com
The year Stockholm's Kungstradgarden ice rink first opened. Skating is free and skates can be hired for Skr40 (£3.40) per hour. Assuming the weather is cold enough, skating on Stockholm's waterways is also possible. Visit Hellasgarden in Nacka (about 20 minutes by bus from central Stockholm), which rents skates and maintains a ploughed 3km track. stockholmtown.com
Largest adult size of skate available for hire to anyone wishing to skate at Edinburgh's Winter Wonderland, in Princes Street Gardens (smallest is child's size five). Open Sun-Weds 10am-8pm, Thurs-Sat 10am-10pm. Admission starts at £8.50 including skate hire. gildedballoon.co.uk
The price in US dollars (£167) of the "Engagement on Ice" package available to skaters at New York's Rockefeller Centre ice rink. The deal includes five minutes of "exclusive ice time" for you to pop the question while your special CD plays, the delivery of flowers (supplied by you) to your fiancée on the rink "after she says yes" and a champagne toast at the Rock Centre Café overlooking the ice. Less emotionally charged sessions start at $19 (£12.70). The ice rink is open until 9 January. therinkatrockcenter.com
The price in pounds of a one-hour session of skating at the Tower of London ice rink, though this rises to £12 per hour at evenings, weekends and on peak Christmas holiday dates; final session 10 January. Tickets for the "historic royal palace" itself (hrp.org.uk) cost £17 for adults. toweroflondonicerink.com
The number of Olympic-sized ice-hockey rinks that would fit into the skating area of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa when it freezes, making it the largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world. Skating usually begins in the middle of January and is a favourite pastime during the city's Winterlude festival (canadascapital.gc.ca), which runs over the first three weekends of February. The Ottawa Downtown Hotel is near the canal, with double rooms from C$188 (£107) per night, not including breakfast. ottawadowntownhotel.com
The average number of people who visit Europe's largest outdoor ice rink each day, at Varosliget in Budapest. Situated in the shadow of the Habsburg dynasty's Vajdahunyad Castle, this rink can host an impressive 7,000 people at a time and even has an area roped off for tots. Skating costs 850Ft (£2.75) per hour. Budapest's Winter Festival, focused around Vorosmarty Square runs until 28 Febuary next year. budapestinfo.hu/en
The minimum thickness, in centimetres, that the ice on the canals of northern Holland has to be in order for the Elfstedentocht, the "Eleven Towns Race", to go ahead. This 200km circuit starts from the town of Leeuwarden after a prolonged period of intense frost, which hasn't occurred since 1997. Hopeful competitors can get some practice at the ice rink at Leidseplein in Amsterdam (until 7 January). Skating is free; skate hire costs €3 for two hours. iamsterdam.com
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
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- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
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