When one has young children, Sunday mornings have a tendency to be somewhat moot. With this in mind, then, it was not a dramatic decision to envisage meeting another family at the crack of dawn at the skating rink. Of course, what I mean by 'crack of dawn' is, in fact 10am, but for those of us who like a lie-in on a Sunday, 10am might just as well be 6am!
Montpellier has a relatively new skating rink, called the Vegapolis. I had never been there, and have never experienced a rink like it. My youngest, being schooled in the Montpellier Agglomeration, has been there many times with his school. All last term they spent Friday mornings there learning how to skate. The Agglo offers many such advantages. Next term they'll be learning how to swim (although my youngest is already taking lessons) at the Olympic pool downtown.
It was 27Eur for two adults and two children including skate-hire, so not exactly cheap, and would have been cheaper had we lived within the Agglo. Never mind, the skates were relatively new and definitely well-maintained with sharpened blades. There are two skating areas there: the ice-hockey rink; and a 'piste ludique' with dance floor, learning rink, tunnel and slopes.
My youngest shot off, running on the ice rather than skating per se. My eldest followed and they bombed about the ice which was thankfully quiet. Our friends hired ice-pushchairs for their little ones. Children can either use them to sit on and be pushed (for the under 5s), or use them as a prop, a bit like a Zimmer frame... It gives them confidence and helps build balance and technique without continually falling over.
On the ice with us were some proper skaters who were trying to practice jumps and other fancy steps. My youngest went straight onto the ice, potentially causing havoc, but he never seems to get into trouble because everyone just smiles at his 'casse-cou' approach to skating. He's in fact told me he wants to learn to play ice-hockey, which I'm not surprised about at all. He's just the type! We will certainly go and watch some matches which, my friends tell us, are noisy, fast, violent and just the sort of thing young boys love.
We stayed just over an hour, after which we braved the biting wind and headed home, not to a picnic in the countyside having to staple our sarnies to the table, but on the terrace out of the wind. Had it been less windy, a beach picnic would have been fun, but I've really lost the capacity to each crunchy sandy sarnies.
Actually, I'm not sure I ever had it. There's parents for you!