When I first heard that Aotea Square was getting an ice rink for six weeks over winter I threw my arms up in the air and said YUSSSSSSS as if I'd won something. You might call this childish behaviour, or enduring child-like enthusiasm - depending on which way you want to look at it.
It's just that there's something about ice rinks that makes me think of childhood and fairytales. Hans Christian Anderson. Home Alone. Etc.
I don't actually recall ever skating as a child though.
The first time I can remember going ice skating was at the age of thirteen, for my friend Cassandra's birthday. We went to Paradice out in Howick. There was cool music pumping, and cool ice skating kids gliding across the rink with such grace that I felt even more clumsy and awkward than usual. Thirteen is just not a fun age for anyone ever, is it?
Oh how I wanted to be one of those kids, but instead I was just me; gripping tightly to the barrier and inching around the rink very very slowly. After a few determined hours though, I was able to let go, and my slow progress had sped up very slightly. I was almost-gliding. I was also laughing and having fun, particularly when one of my friends or I fell over, which happened relatively regularly.
I haven't actually been ice skating since, but yesterday I took a stroll over to Aotea Square to see the swanky new ice rink, and I was happy to learn that it's run by that same family-owned business, Paradice. Those cool kids are still there, but in my older, wiser age I'm a little (only a little) better at controlling my envy.
The complicated machine that created this rink has been imported from the States. There is a network of pipes beneath the ice that keep it frozen, and from what I've been told this particular way of doing things ensures the surface is incredibly smooth and safe for gliding (or falling upon).
The team at Paradice are lovely. They even put their skates on and showed me what they could do - which was quite impressive. They can do that thing where you spin faster and faster, and they didn't fall over or anything. Gosh I want to learn how to do that!
The rink is open to the air, and there is music pumping throughout the whole square and it feels like a winter wonderland party is going on all the time. There are blue icicle fairy lights that look so beautiful at night, and sweet blue and white snowflakes painted onto the Aotea Centre steps. This rink is really making the prospect of future wintery nights in Auckland a lot more appealing. Thank goodness for the visionary people at Paradice and The Edge for dreaming it up and realising it.
You can head down there between the hours of 10am and 10pm any day of the week. You can rent everything you need on site, and even buy lessons - which I will probably do. Before six weeks is up I want to be able to do one of those spins... I'm feeling quite determined about it.
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