Saturday, January 29, 2011
Castles in the Snow
HARBIN -- Snow and Ice World -- Part 3 of 3
Most impressive of my two-day trip were the castles, temples and towers of the Ice and Snow World. Each structure was made from blocks of ice carved out of the solidly frozen Songhua River that runs north of city center. In my youth, my dad and I had struggled to make small, two-room buildings out of packed snow. Seeing entire castles that resembled those in Europe, in size and grandeur, made these childhood efforts seem trivial.
As night descended, the lights within each ice block that formed the foundation, walls and spires of the buildings were illuminated in an aurora borealis of colors. Against the snow-white ground with the colorful lights dancing about, it felt like I’d slipped into a life-sized snow globe – a machine in the distance dispersing freshly made snow completed the scene.
By the end of the trip, my feet were frozen, my hands sore and my nose red like Rudolph the Reindeer’s, but I had a slew of great photos and a new found respect for the word “cold.” And like my other foreign friends who have visited the ice festival, I can check Harbin off my list of travel destinations and fondly remember the fun I’d had in the snow and ice of the northern city while enjoying warmer climates in the winters to come.
TOWERS OF ICE:
BIG, COLD BEER:
ALL LIT UP: