Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let it Snow: 48 Hours in Harbin Part Two

Fueled by a good night’s sleep and a hearty hotel breakfast, Chris and I were ready to explore more of Harbin.

We started our day at the Sun Island Park for the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo.  For about 90 Minutes, Chris and I strolled around the frozen masterpieces and had more winter fun.

When we arrived at Sun Island we were greeted by more goats who were sculpted to bring in the new year. 
Some of the sculptures were a little nerdy...like this finger and skin sculpture.

My favorite sculpture was the replica of the Kremlin.  
I found it very ironic that they had a Sir Issac Newton statue that was attached to...

...a garden of Eden sculpture.

This is how man met technology...I LOVE it!

Snow Darwin, meet....

Snow Einstein!

I was so impressed with the detail on many of the sculptures. 

I really appreciated the sailing minions.
Someone created a dragon boat filled with random Disney characters.  The sculptures felt like ice covered in snow.
Like many of the other snow parks, Sun Island had many other fun activities other than gawking at snow sculptures.  For an additional 60 RMB, visitors can take a dogsled ride around a very short track.

The adventure was way to short to be worth the 60 RMB, however we did it for fun.

If you are cold while exploring the arctic, I highly suggest eating ice cream.  It helps your insides get adjusted to the outside temperature.
This little guy was walking around trying to collect donations. I was both appalled and charmed by this stunt. 
I HIGHLY suggest not doing the ice festival and Sun Island Park on the same day.  Breaking up the activities helped keep us warm!

After we had our fill of snow, we caught a cab to Central St. in downtown Harbin.  Central Street is a bustling, Russian influenced pedestrian street. 

Central Street was packed with tourists.  Before this time, I had never visited a place that felt so Russian.

The temperature almost hit the melting point according to this side street thermometer.
The Central Street sidewalks were decorated with different ice and snow sculptures.
We were hungry, so our first order of business was to catch a warm Russian lunch.   We had a great meal at Madieer Restaurant.

I had always wanted to try Russian food.  This was the chance!
I enjoyed warming up with some Borsch and Russian Beer.
Next on our agenda was a visit to St. Sophia’s Cathedral.  St. Sophia’s was built to serve the ministry needs of Russian Orthodox immigrants in 1907.

The architecture of the cathedral was incredible!
Many birds made their homes on ledges outside the cathedral. 
In 1949, the cathedral was signed over to the Chinese government.  During the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the cathedral was repurposed as a storage facility for a local state run department store.   Now the space is a construction art museum.  I was so disappointed with how the museum came to be, that I allowed myself to take only one picture of the interior.

I thought something was off when the admission ticket said, "Harbin Construction Art Museum".
The interior of the cathedral was not what I expected at all. 
Outside the cathedral, I finally caved in a bought some candied strawberries.  Vendors sell these yummy treats at many tourist attractions, and I highly recommend them for an afternoon pick me up.

Candied fruit on a stick is wonderful!  But be careful when biting the fruit in cold weather...these are frozen!
After our snack, it was time to catch a cab back to hotel to snag our luggage and head back to the airport so we could head back to home sweet Shanghai.

I HIGHLY recommend taking a weekend in Harbin to get a winter fix.  The snow and ice will take your breath away.  Don’t let the temperature scare you away.