Friday, January 11, 2013

Harbin 1 Zhaolin Park (1/11/2013)

Friday, January 11, 2013
Our China Highlights trip to the Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin.
We caught a taxi early to the airport because of rush hour traffic. We arrived in plenty of time, only to learn we had been sent to the wrong terminal! We had a bit of a wait for the shuttle bus from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1, and started to get anxious. However, we got there and were able to check in and catch the 11:05 flight to Harbin. Then we sat on the runway. An hour late to take-off and an hour late to arrive.
Yvonne was there to pick us up and a driver took us to the Modern Hotel in Harbin. She was flexible enough to offer to go with us to Zhaolin Park, which we wanted to do this evening instead of the next. And she recommended a place for dinner.
Since Harbin was greatly influenced by the Soviet Union, we decided to go to the Russian restaurant Tatoc at No. 127 Zhongyang Dajie. It was downstairs, and had a homey feel:
Wine cellar:
Crocheted place mats and sturdy cutlery:
The famous Dalieba/big loaves of bread:
Baltika Beer:
We had the meal for two, which we were able to share with Yvonne. We started with a thick tomato-based vegetable soup. It came with thick slices of bread with butter and blueberry jam. There was a plate of pickles, a salad of lettuce and shredded turkey with mayonnaise, and a small bowl of lamb stew. We each received a plate with a sizable sirloin steak with a few cooked veggies. They also brought out a dish with fish fried in an egg batter. For dessert there were (whipped) cream puffs that seemed to be mostly chocolate and baked cinnamon-flavored winesap pear slices. Maybe not entirely Russian, but hearty and filling.
By then it was dark, so we walked the couple blocks to Zhaolin Park.
Saw cars with blankets:
Zhaolin Park is the home of the Ice Lantern Garden Party which began in 1963, but was ended during Cultural Revolution. It resumed in 1985. It is the smallest of the three major venues of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival which began in 1985.
The park was filled with many large ice block sculptures, including a light rail car:
Church-like buildings were never more than 2-stories tall:
LED lights are imbedded in the ice, so that night time is really the best time to view them:
Walls and railings within the park were made of ice.
These columns were shapely:
This was the basic ice lantern:
I was a bit disappointed that there were not any traditional ice lanterns. I would have loved to see rows of ice blocks candles inside, set out like luminaria.
This part of the festival was sponsored by Baidu, the Chinese "Google:"
There were also large blocks of ice that were sculpted by different individuals and groups.
Many of the ice sculptures had a fish theme:
The snake was also popular, as the year of the snake will be beginning in February:
One person or two persons?
An emperor?
A frozen lotus pond and pagoda:
Colored ice rat with real scarf:
Triangle tunnel:
Reindeer with doves in their antlers:
One of five bridges in the park:
An ice slide:
Kent & Tamiko with a dragon head:
A wedding photo shop:
An ice gazebo:
Flowers in ice:
Windmills and flowers:
Another bridge:
Back at the hotel, we had hot drinks in the tea room:
Christmas decoration on the Art Noveau lamp:
Okay, it was freezing cold outside. Well below freezing. Kent had many very cold parts. My fingers kept getting too cold so that I swore I was done taking photos, but then they would warm up enough, and I'd see something I wanted to try to photograph...
But inside the hotel, it was stifling hot!
Harbin was essentially founded by the Russians in 1898 with the building of the Trans-Manchurian railway, later called the China Eastern Railway, an extension of the Trans-Siberian Railway that created a shortcut from Chita through Harbin, to Vladivostock. Now it is known for the Ice and Snow Festival, as well as being named a UNESCO "City of Music" in 2010.
Next, Harbin 2 Central Street & Tigers.

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