Harbin Ice and Snow Festival Day 2

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 17, 2013

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Where I stayed
Gfour Holiday Hotel Harbin
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of China  , Heilongjiang,
Friday, January 25, 2013

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I wanted to go to Zhaolin Park in the evening for the Ice Lantern Artistic Show (Or at least I think that's what they're calling it now although I've also seen it called the Ice Lantern Art Fair. It used to be the Ice Lantern Garden Party and I still see that name on the Internet but I'm fairly sure they changed the name although that could still be the name of something held at the opening ceremony.  It's hard to get information here and the name on the ticket is in Chinese) Since I knew I'd be walking around in the freezing cold all evening I just stayed in during the day.

I walked over to a nearby hotel that, since it's larger, I thought might offer more in the way of tours and I thought might have more English-speaking staff. It turns out I was wrong on both counts but I was able to purchase my train tickets to Yabuli where I'll be skiing in a few days.

I went back to my hotel, grabbed my camera and headed for Zhaolin Park. The park is at the end of the block from the hotel so it's very convenient. It was around 0F with little wind, which is cold but it could be much worse.

I bought a ticket and went in around 4:30. It wasn't quite dark yet and the lights in the ice sculptures had not yet been turned on. I started walking around to get some sense of the layout. I seemed to be alone.  The ice sculptures fill a huge area and I had not covered very much of it when the lights came on. I started taking pictures.

The park is filled with hundreds of ice sculptures ranging in size from eight feet high, eight feet wide and a couple feet thick up to buildings up to over thirty feet tall. While some of these are quite large the scale is still much smaller than at the Ice and Snow World venue and even some of the structures I've seen scattered around town that I've caught glimpses of out of bus windows.

Most of the sculptures looked fairly durable and you seemed to be allowed to touch them. In fact, there were many benches throughout the park that were made of ice and you could walk around in many of the buildings. There were a few that had very delicate parts that were roped off. Naturally, I saw someone lifting their kids over the ropes so they could take a picture of the kid touching the sculpture.

I came across a building labeled Harbin International Ice Art Exhibition Hall. I wandered in and was surprised to find some of the better ice sculptures. I think they may have been part of a competition.  Even though the building is not heated and it has a large, open entrance, my camera lens fogged up since it was a little warmer inside.  The fog quickly froze.  It's very hard to delicately scrape ice off of a camera lens.  I'm having to deal with some new problems due to the cold.

I wandered around in the cold checking out the sculptures and taking pictures until about 8:30. I knew that the park closed at 9:00, which didn't give me enough time to go into one of the restaurants and warm up, so I packed up and headed off to my hotel.
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