Winter is coming approaching. Are you constantly dreaming about sunbathing while you deal with a long, cold afternoon wearing five sweatshirts and drinking hot tea? If this is the case, I ensure you won’t be so cold after reading this.
Harbin Hā’erbīn 哈尔滨 is the capital city of Heilongjiang Hēilóngjiāng 黑龙江 province and one of the most important cities in China north-eastern region (Dōngbĕi 东北) – it definitely is the most known and visited one, both in China and abroad, thanks to the Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, which takes place in January and February every year and involves the biggest ice sculptures in the world. Its main settings are two areas in the suburbs, also accessible before and after the event – and it was a stroke of luck, since we went to Harbin weeks before the Festival and we could only see its setting up, including chinese workers carving 20 meters high ice blocks without any kind of protection. The best time to attend the Festival is at night: the sculptures are even more amazing with the addition of multicolour lights. Small sculptures are also erected in the city center.
This event has its price, though (and I’m not talking about the entrance ticket). Ice sculptures obviously require cold temperatures, and Harbin winter is not warm, or even cool, at all. Average temperatures are between -20° and -25° C, but it could get even colder. But don’t get scared!, as low temperatures kinda made Harbin what it is nowadays. We wouldn’t have the beautiful ice sculptures if it wasn’t that cold, right? And we wouldn’t have the chance to ice skating on Songhua river – definitely worth a visit and the renting of a “sleigh” probably obtained from old bus seats –, or the Siberian Tiger Park, too.
Tell me: are you happy with your winter now?
Featured image: Thanks to Trent Strohm.