It should be no surprise to anyone to know that I am completely bullocks at propelling myself across the ice. Knowing this, one would be even more surprised to find out that I openly decided to expose myself to ridicule and partake in the Brisbane Winter Festival merriment just a few short days ago. Taking advantage of a splendid Spreets deal, the boyo and I managed to score a double pass, including two glasses of mulled Glühwein wine and souvenir mugs for the crisp price of $33.
Now, as noted before, I’ve never been fantastic at keeping my balance. I have problems walking straight on solid ground, let alone making a merciless waddle across an icy surface – and what made it ten times more nerve-wracking was the onslaught of curious onlookers – the wise children who had decided to brave-out the cold not on the ice, but in the Lipton Chai Latte Lodge sipping free cups of warmth. Smug bastards. Also, this whole shindig takes place in King George Square – and thus people WILL GAWK AT YOU. This may inspire you to greater heights of ice-carving/showing-off/narcism. In my case, I awkwardly waved at onlookers and then shakily lurched towards the hand rail – hey, someone has to be on the end of the bell curve!
My boyfriend, in stark contrast to me, is very good at ice-skating and other activities that involve balancing and/or co-ordination – so while I slowly inched my way around the rink, he gallantly guided me around, skated backwards, weaved around in circles and took pictures of my general mortification. At one point, while chatting to his mother he managed to send his dear iPhone skidding across the ice. Smooth.
Here’s an interesting segue – HOW ARE THERE SO MANY PEOPLE IN BRISBANE THAT KNOW HOW TO ICE SKATE? I mean, seriously, ice is not a naturally occurring natural phenomenon in our state, so why are there so many people who can skate with grace and much in the way of skill and agility? I imagine these people are swirling around us less-fortunate with self-indulgent smirks on their silly faces. Gyeh.*
After flopping (me) around on the ice (I got off easy, one very diligent and determined young woman managed to fall over at least 13 times – of which we managed to glimpse) – we (me) wobbled over to grab a hot drink and bratwurst. Already warm from our escapades** we were soaking in steaminess while nursing our glasses of Glühwein. In the end, we had to tip out some of each mug (one can not simply wander out of the area with an alcoholic beverage in tow) – but look at the adorable design imprinted on our mugs! I was hoping for one of each (the other depicted a snow-flake emblazoned with a semi-sexual reference to general warmth) but the Saint Bernard on our take-homes was cute enough to keep me entertained for hours.
Pichlers Tiroler Glühwein: A traditional European winter feast isn’t complete without a warm mug of Glühwein, (spiced, mulled wine, pronounced “glooh-vine”). Our friends at Pichlers Tiroler Glühwein are joining the festival feast, bringing their traditional Glühwein recipe, brew bags and syrups to the Winter Festival for you to enjoy and even take home! Pichler brew their delicious mulled wine with specially selected spices and syrups, keeping to the traditional recipes loved by Europeans for generations. Take in the taste of the Alps by a roaring fire and celebrate winter in authentic European style.
We also managed to pick up a smoked bratwurst to share. Not knocking the great work of the German Sausage Hut, but my preference for German meat-product-filled-intestines lies with the smoky bratwurst that we managed to score (I’ve managed to forget the name, but it’s the same one that sets up at the Wednesday City Farmer’s Market in Reddacliff Place) – and it’s because I don’t particularly like sauerkraut – give me caramelised onions any day. Also, don’t be stingy with the German mustard and tomato sauce.
All in all, the experience was a heck of a lot of fun – despite my lack of skill on the ice. I can imagine that during the peak period (5.30 PM onwards/weekends) the ice would be packed to the gills – so Brisbanites, if you can snag a day off and launch yourself onto the ice during the middle of the day, I firmly support this – you will most likely have it all to yourself. YOU COULD BE THE KING (OR QUEEN) OF THE ICE. Well, at least until the 26th of June, in any case.
PRICING: ( 45 minute skating session )
$20 for adults
$15 for kids
– additional $7 for skate hire
– additional $5 for Winter Festival Bobby
** Me concentrating on not falling over. Him, concentrating on laughing at my efforts to not fall over.