Heading back to Harbin

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,
Saturday, February 2, 2013

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I got up and had a leisurely breakfast. I wasn't planning on skiing today and check-out time wasn't until noon so I had lots of time. My train wasn't until after 4:00 so I could have skied but I didn't want to be rushing to catch a train at the end of the day. Everything seemed to be going fine.  Then I found out that the gondola wasn't running due to the high winds. Another drawback of staying at the top of a mountain.

I was sure they've had this problem before and have a solution. I was expecting to wait until noon to see whether they could open the gondola before then but around 10:30 I was rushed out of my room. I took my bags downstairs. I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen. Some people took a couple of my bags. It turns out they were going to ski down with them. I don't envy them. One bag had been 47.5 pounds and the other 37.5 pounds when the airline weighed them. My third bag was strapped to the back of a snow machine, I put on my backpack and two of us got on the snow machine behind the driver for our ride down the hill. That was a bit of excitement I wasn't expecting.

I eventually made my way to the train station and caught my train to Harbin. The train seemed to have more cars than the train I had taken to get here although that was during the week and today is a Saturday. I don't understand why, but the train had pulled in so that none of the train was in front of the station. Even the closest car required a bit of a trek. The further cars, and mine was one of the furthest, extended well outside the roofed area so I had to schlep my bags down a very long platform over the ice and snow. I eventually got my bags onto the train, found my seat and settled in for the trip to Harbin.

The train initially was fairly empty but it filled up a little more with every stop. Eventually, nearly every seat was taken and the train got quite hot. It wasn't a pleasant trip.

I got to Harbin, got off and headed for an exit. The route to the exit involved two flights of stairs down and two flights of stairs back up. There were no elevators or escalators. They don't make it easy for people traveling with a lot of luggage.

I eventually reached the exit and headed for the taxi stand. I had caught a taxi here the day I first arrived and thought I knew how it worked. It didn't work quite the same way today. The taxi stand was mobbed with hundreds of people many of whom seemed to have just come from the same crowded train as me. I eventually worked my way to the front of the queue and got a taxi. Since I stayed at the same hotel when I was in Harbin earlier this week I had a business card from the hotel, which I gave the driver. It was much easier than what I went through when I first arrived in town. The taxi dropped me off at my hotel, I checked in and I headed for my room.

My room this time was a suite. It was a nicer room than I had the last time I was here. The Internet worked in this room unlike the one I was in before.  This one also had a window into the bathroom. The window was smaller than the last one but it looks into a shower stall about the same width as the window. From the bed you'd be about three or four feet from someone showering just on the other side of the glass.The window had a shade on the bed side of the window like my previous room.
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