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:
By then it was dark, so we walked the couple blocks to Zhaolin Park.
Saw cars with blankets:
The park was filled with many large ice block sculptures, including a light rail car:
These columns were shapely:
This part of the festival was sponsored by Baidu, the Chinese "Google:"
Many of the ice sculptures had a fish theme:
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.