A Little More Winter

When a friend and I decided to visit the city of Harbin, China last month, T said it was because I wanted to experience a little more winter. ¬†It has been a rather odd season in Shenyang. ¬†January brought two to three days of 32F followed by two to three days of 15F followed by much of the same. ¬†Weird. ¬†I’d worn my lighter weight down coat for two months while so many were suffering a polar vortex in the US. ¬†For Harbin, I pulled out the heavy duty Lands End coat and the trusty (original pair of) Merrell boots, a few layering items, some hand warmers and the camera, then S and I hopped on a train and headed out.

Located at 44 degrees North, Harbin, or Ha’erbin, China is famous for the annual Ice & Snow Festival, celebrating 30 years in 2014. ¬†We began our tour with a stop at Sun Island Park for the Snow Sculpture Art Exposition. ¬†Many artists create works of snow in this wooded park, the detail and size of which I find difficult to believe, and I’ve seen them twice in the last few years. ¬†We spent the afternoon there, and were even treated to a special show. ¬†You can check it out here at¬†http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFgwynmz1yI.

We moved on to Ice and Snow World. ¬†This year, there were many models of churches and church themes. ¬†The largest monument was modeled after a church in¬†Reykjav√≠k. ¬†There were Gothic archways and pagodas and more. ¬†I am so glad we saw them in the afternoon sunlight and in the LED-filled evening hours. ¬†The sculptures were gorgeous as well. ¬†We went later in February and, with a “warm” winter, we could see some rounding edges on the various displays. ¬†That didn’t take anything away from the view for me.

On Sunday, we hired a taxi to take us around the various sites, including the Siberian Tiger Park, the Temple of Bliss, the Pedestrian Street, then back to the train station. ¬†We were lucky to have a beautiful weekend in Harbin, not too cold, but a nice, winter experience. ¬†You can check out CNN’s coverage,¬†http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/03/travel/harbin-ice-festival-2014/, and get my view too. ¬†Enjoy.

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