I’m not sure that I should really call it ice-skating. For our family a better description would be ice-slipping, ice-sliding, and quite frequently ice-falling. But for a first attempt, Gorky Park was a great place to go.
We headed for the small childrens’ rink, which is equipped with these fabulous penguins for tiny wobbly children to hold on to.
I have a friend who took her 3 year old daughter for the first time a few weeks ago and, holding on to the penguin, her little girl whizzed round the ice for about two hours. My offspring are clearly not as co-ordinated as that little girl because penguin or no penguin they still spent rather a lot of time slipping over and falling.
Little Pickle fared considerably better than her elder brother. We bought her these wonderful double-bladed skates which are ideal for little ones who are just starting out on the ice.
They are adjustable so will last her for a few years yet and simply strap onto her normal boots.
Beanie-boy had proper ice-skates which he loved so much we even found him wearing them in bed the day we bought them (before they were sharpened I hasten to add!!) and he was absolutely convinced that he was going to be whizzing round the ice in them. We did try to warn him, and we read him the Charlie and Lola book where Lola goes skating and falls over more than she stays upright, but he was still convinced…until he actually got on the ice and he ended up spending most of his time like this:
It probably didn’t help that neither Mummy nor Daddy really know how to ice-skate and so weren’t able to be of much assistance. I spent most of my time clinging on to the side with one hand and wishing they made adult-sized penguins for clumsy grown-ups to hold onto. We should probably make some sort of New Years resolution to take ice-skating lessons while we are living here…it would be a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity.
For those who are already comfortable on the ice, the main rink in Gorky Park is incredible. It isn’t an oval/rectangular shaped rink at all, instead they flood the paths around the central fountains so you can skate round them for several kilometres. At night it is all beautifully lit-up, and for those who have really mastered the art of skating, Thursday night has a DJ so you can try ice-dancing. When you need a break you can drop into the cafes (still wearing your skates) for a bite to eat and a hot drink to warm you up before continuing on your way.
Gorky Park offers skate-hire, lockers and skate-sharpening services. You can also book lessons. Prices for skating vary according to the day of the week and time of day.