It was thrilling gliding through the streets of Amsterdam on a Friday night, joining a crowd of skaters who had taken over the streets. People out for an early evening stroll cheered from the sidewalks as the "skeelers," wearing blinking lights on their clothing, streaked past.
I never would have had the chance to do this if I hadn't signed up with a group called Zephyr Adventures for an inline skate tour around the Netherlands. A few of my friends skate. But none love it enough to make a vacation out of it. And I don't think I would have been brave enough to join a crowd of skaters in a foreign country on my own. Who would pick me up if I fell?
The owner, Allan Wright, clued us in about the "Friday Night Skate," an optional adventure we could do before or after our week-long trip. As if skating for miles around Friesland and other parts of the Netherlands weren't exciting enough. All of it was memorable, especially skating with Willem Augustin, an 80+-year-old guide known around the country for participating in several Elfstedentocht speed skating races, beginning during World War II. Having new friends to skate with at dusk, and to dust me off if need be, was an added bonus.
Photos: Ellen Perlman
Two locals dressed for skating