Reporting from Harbin
04.01.2013 - 04.01.2013 -25 °C
Mike and I are in Harbin for three nights and four days, on our first trip away from the children, who are being ably cared for by my parents in China visiting for Christmas.
Woke up on our first morning to news that there was no hot water at our home in Shanghai, fortunately sorted very quickly and easily!!
Got dressed to face extreme temperatures. Layered clothes on, I wore five layers on my top and three on my legs, plus hat, ear muffs, neck warmer and scarf. Found I couldn't bend to put on boots.
Left hotel at 930, walked full length of pedestrian street and over to river. Walked down on frozen river where there is a 'theme park' with dog sleds, horse and carriage rides, a game where with a whip you spin a top which makes the ice hum, ice skating, sit sledges that you pole yourself along, toboggans, hovercraft and other ice games. Then headed back to the warmth of costa coffee in ZY street, for brekkie, coffee and a ham and cheese panini and a choc muffin, then after half an hour faced the -20C cold again and walked to the park where the ice sculptures are, but gates locked.
So headed over to St Sophia's cathedral to look at an exhibition of photos of developing Harbin.
Walked along river to cable car to Sun Island. Went to snow sculpture park- amazing!! Thawed out with poshest two min noodles in a bucket ever in a popup /temporary glass restaurant on a frozen lake but with the sun shining in and the heating we defrosted properly!! Bliss.
Missed last cable car back and random man offered us a lift across the river for 30rmb... In his car!!
Went back to hotel and took ages to actually warm up, but spoke to kids and had little sleep.
Came out again for Russian dinner at Russia 1914. Cute restaurant like a granny's house! Hearty and filling dinner.
Some odd observations about Harbin:
- lots of people seem to be eating ice creams, on a stick and a teeny bit chewy, but its about -20C!!
- Lots of Russian tourists.
- Gangnam Style is Harbin Style!
- Chinese girls still look skinny.
- They don't speak Chinese quite as I know it!!
- Some people appear seriously underdressed (compared to Michelin-man me)
(PS can't publish photos from my phone, so will add when I get home!!)