There’s a lot more than meets the eye and that we initially thought to the city of Harbin.
The snow and ice festival that takes place isn’t the only thing here. We stayed in a good location. Actually a great location that we could walk and see some of the local sights.
Zhongyang Dajie- Central street is just across the street from our hotel and is one of the key attractions of the city. A lot of Russian architecture with European style buildings along a cobble stone street. Here you can go for a little stroll, find a little cafe for some good coffee and dessert, get some Russian chocolate or bread, delicious street food ( vanilla ice cream blocks are a huge hit- I had 2) or even eat at an authentic Russian restaurant ( always booked up so we didn’t get to). I love these kind of streets and the atmosphere.
St. Sophia Cathedral- this is Harbin’s MOST famous landmark. It is an orthodox church, damaged during the revolution and later restored to its original grandeur. It is so beautiful day time and night time. It was fun to watch the children feed the pigeons. Brought back memories of when our three kids were little and feeding pigeons in Public Gardens was always on our list for summer activities 🙂
Songhua River- A little stroll along the river ( if you know me, you know I love waterfronts) especially in the winter is so interesting. And on the river, there’s skating and fishing and horse rides, dog sleds and fox holding and…swimming, yes swimming even in the winter. Pick up a sweet potato to warm your hands, it’s a great little snack as you walk along. Oh, and the huge blocks of ice that are used for the ice masterpieces… are from the Songhua river.
Siberia Tiger Park- So close to Siberia there has to be tigers right? There is only about 700 Siberian tigers left in the wild and Harbin’s tiger park has become a breeding park for these amazing animals. We had fun photographing them, and were very thankful for the fences because these guys are hungry and a few times they jumped right at ME when I was getting them on film. David wanted a do over so he could get it on video BUT I said NO WAY! They are amazing animals though.
Ice Bars and Restaurants- Enjoy a sumptuous hotpot dinner inside a crystal palace made completely of ice! And if you want some alcohol to warm up your body, there’s an ice bar that conveniently provides you an extensive selection. ( we enjoyed some hot chocolate)
Like I said there is just so much MORE to Harbin. We could have explored this city another couple days. Lots to do and see! It was a wonderful weekend away and hey, who cares about the cold! ( But next trip is gonna be tropical)