Harbin has had a lot of Russian influence in the past and we even saw quite a few Russian tourists staying in our hotel while we were there. This Russian Orthodox church is near the center of town only a block away from our hotel. It has been converted to a museum.
Our first night we visited the Harbin Ice and Snow World. It is a park area of about 15 acres where they have built fabulous structures entirely of blocks of ice with lights inside. There were buildings that you could climb steps up for a view of the entire park, monuments, bridges, ice slides and a few snow sculptures. The temperature on a big thermometer at the park said -28 degrees C, which is -18 degrees F. Everyone had about 3 layers of thermals plus big coats, scarfs, and hats. It was an experience we will not forget.
At the end of the evening our guide told us we would go to a Russian dance show. Great, we thought, a little culture. Well, the dancers probably were Russian but I don't remember Russian dancing like this. Something must have been lost in the translation.
The next morning we went to a Siberian tiger preserve. It was a large park with many tall fences. We boarded a small bus and drove through several large enclosures to see the tigers. After the bus ride we also were able to view other tigers in smaller enclosures. They had several hundred of these beautiful animals.
We next went to Snow World where there was a big display of snow sculptures, large and small. They also have a competition that was in progress and various groups were working on their sculptures.
This one is for Libby's Mom and her love of giraffes.
After a dumpling lunch we went to Sophia's Church and looked around the museum. I then went to Center Street to mingle with the crowds. Even saw the King of Pop, but even he complained that he was getting cold.
At the end of Center Street is the Songhua River which was frozen over. The city has created an ice park with ice skating, tubing, and other ice sports. There were even ice bumper cars. I had to be very careful walking on the slippery ice.
After dinner at a very nice European style restaurant. We then went with Stan and Nancy Pace for a walk past a smaller ice park near the center of town, then strolled one more time along with the crowd on Center Street, and finally went to McDonalds for some dessert. It was a great trip with many unforgettable memories.