Somewhere in the Poseidon-building, a billboard for a Belgian radio station says ‘Nostalgia’. That about sums up what this ice skating rink does to me. The faster I skate, the more my chilly childhood sensations come blowing back.
Poseidon is 50 years old. Belgium’s current king, Filip the first, skated here when he was a little boy. Today, children and grown-ups impatiently stand along the rink and watch an ice resurfacer machine gently spray hot water on the carved-up ice. A teddy bear is sitting on that machine (passenger, not driver). Pretty neat.
Surface smooth again, skating begins. Parents tow their child as if it’s a broken-down vehicle, experienced speed devils zigzag past Sunday skaters, while clumsily arm-waving windmills try to avoid twirling figure-skaters. Surveillants make sure that no accidents happen. Their authority is enhanced by a cute teddy bear logo on their backs. Some lovely trashy 90s dance music keeps everyone going. On Fridays, everything turns into a disco. To get the full experience, you must top off your visit with some candy and a hot coco in the cafeteria!
Before I forget: sometimes the roof is done away with. Under a starlit sky, you can then skate in Romantic poet (and ice skating lover) William Wordsworth’s tracks, as he carved out in his 1850 poem ‘The Prelude’:
“Not seldom from the uproar I retired
Into a silent bay, or sportively
Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng,
To cut across the image of a star
That gleam’d upon the ice“