Harbin Part 1
Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
44Trip End Ongoing
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It is such a popular destination at the moment, that finding train tickets was incredibly difficult. Usually in China, train tickets are released 10 days before the train leaves, but at the moment, as Chinese New Year approaches, such is the competitiveness with tickets, that the tickets are released 20 days beforehand
We were travelling there to see the Harbin International Ice Festival, which was of course created in 1999. This year between 7000-10,000 workers (depending on what report you read) helped to create magnificent structures made of ice. 590,000 square feet of ice and 492,000 square feet of snow were used in the process, one which we hoped would be worth suffering through sub-zero temperatures to see the completed product.
I hear at the moment back home in Melbourne there's a heat wave, so it seems like my family and I are both experiencing extremes in temperatures, though at opposite ends of the spectrum. There was a 70 degree Celsius difference between Melbourne and Harbin, with Harbin freezing at -28, and Melbourne sweltering through 42. It was so surreal to receive pictures from dad of candles melting outside from the heat back home, while I was so cold that it was painful.
My first impression of Harbin was just that-- it was cold. So cold, that each time I ventured outside, my breath was lost for a second, and my chest stung at the first instant of the cold air. The first day we arrived in the late afternoon, so we didn't plan on doing anything in particular. We discovered that our hotel room had windows which inconveniently allowed the air to seep in through the edges, so we stocked up on pillows and blankets for the night ahead.