Saturday, January 12, 2013

Harbin 4 St Sophia and Ice and Snow World (1/12/2013)

Still Saturday, January 12, 2013
After lunch we drove to the former St Sophia Cathedral:
Established in 1907, completed in 1932, it is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the Far East:
Now it houses the Harbin Museum of Architecture with photographs and models:
Peeling paint:
Chandelier suspended from the center dome:
Radiator heating:
Only the windows are civilized?
Out in Cathedral Square, a McDonalds:
Now we drove back across the Songhua River. There are towers at the entrance of the bridge, as well as an Art Nouveau spire inside the spiraling entrance ramp:
The grand entrance to Ice and Snow World:
Kent and Tamiko:
The steps are lighted from within:
A peek through the gate:
We entered the ticket/reception area:
Fortunately we had seats to wait nearly one and a half hours for the tour group we were to join to enter. They limit the number of people allowed inside of Ice and Snow World, and give preference to large groups. Yvonne had arranged to meet up with a colleague at 16:30, but they were late in arriving.
The crowds waiting inside reception:
Since we had to wait, Yvonne negotiated that she would be the guide allowed in with the group, so that we still had her with us.
And the temperature is... -13 degrees F:
The grand castle as the centerpiece:
A horse and carriage in front of the Little Mermaid:
Yes, a little Disneyesque!
The queue to an ice slide (there were several ice slides in the park):
Ice stupas:
An ice garden with a dragon wall:
A Hangzhou bridge:
Sculptures in this area told the legend of the White Snake, where a boy unsuspectingly buys immortal pills in the form of a snack. After eating them he is not hungry. He goes back to the seller who laughingly holds the boy upside down over a bridge so that the pills are vomited out into the West Lake. A white snake spirit in the lake eats the pills. Later the white snake turns into a woman and meets the boy (now a man), they fall in love and marry. Meanwhile, a jealous turtle spirit in the lake takes the form of a monk and tells the man to have his wife drink regular wine. She turns back into a white snake, and the man dies of shock. The white snake goes to find a special herb to bring the man back to life. The man loves his wife even knowing her true self, and the story goes on to how first the man, and then the snake/woman are imprisoned by the turtle spirit, but eventually get back together.
There was an ice Taoist temple with a giant Buddha:
A mosque:
Looking from the mosque back at the castle:
This year's general theme seemed to be cartoon/animation characters; the Smurfs:
 The Angry Birds:
A maze in front of the ruins of St Paul from Macau:
We stopped in a Mongolian yurt for hot drinks, completed the circuit of Ice and Snow World, and were returned to the hotel. We found a Starbucks for more hot drinks and a snack instead of dinner.
Candied (and frozen) fruits:
The Modern Hotel is famous for its ice cream:
They also have snack stalls along one side (outside!):
Time to warm up and go to bed.
Tomorrow, Harbin 5 Temples.

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