Photos: Dutch skate on frozen canals as Siberian blast continues to grip Europe

People walk and skate on the frozen Prinsengracht canal in downtown Amsterdam, Friday, March 2, 2018. The icy weather gripping much of Europe is good news for the Dutch, many of whom love to skate on frozen waterways if the weather allows. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)

Amsterdam is well known for its picturesque canals as boats wind their way around the city.

But you don't need boats this week. Just a pair of ice skates or some really good-gripping boots.

Ice on the historic Prinsengracht canal was thick enough for residents to lace up their skates and glide across its frozen surface. Tourists without skates slid across the ice, taking selfies.

"It's just cool. You can go fast and you see the world from a slightly different perspective," skater Noldus Reijnders told the Associated Press.

It's part of the storm nicknamed the "Beast from the East". It's caused travel chaos, with hundreds of flights canceled in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerland. Trains broke down. Motorists found themselves stuck on highways and trapped in frosty conditions for hours.

But in Amsterdam, nobody was complaining about the cold. Residents on skates glided past tourists who slithered across the ice for pictures. One woman took her dog for a walk along the frozen canal.

Temperatures in Amsterdam dropped to 16 degrees F Thursday and 17 degrees F Wednesday and overnight lows have been 28 degrees or colder since Feb. 20.

Still, despite measures taken by authorities to help the ice develop, there were still some holes and parts of the canal weren't frozen at all. Reijnders was wearing a special red ice pick around his neck just in case.

"If you sink through the ice — and there are still a few dangerous places — you can pull yourself out," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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