Thursday, January 31, 2013


PLEASE excuse the stuttering!  5 days later I am JUST about defrosted from our 40-ish hours in one of the coldest places on the planet.

Well, I can’t say that..I’ve not done the research…but let’s just say Harbin is the coldest place I’ve ever been…and hopefully the coldest place I’ll ever go for awhile (until Corey gets the days together to go to Antarctica!)

First…where IS Harbin?  Harbin is so far into China it is practically Russia.  In fact, the city is hugely influenced by Russia…you can see it in the food and architecture.

The day we left was Corey’s 50th birthday.  WHAT a trooper!  This was definitely not what or where he expected to spend his B-Day…but he went.  To make it up, we ARE going on a beach trip in a couple of weeks.

We arrived in Harbin in time to get to the hotel…unpack…and LAYER UP. 

This is one trip where it really did not matter how you looked…warmth and comfort was the key to enjoying this trip just one bit.

IMG_7637 OK…this pic is taken “inside” My layers included:  Silk, thermals, jeans, ski pants, double socks, foot warmers, boots…On top…silk, thermal, turtle neck, Heli Hanson Jacket, BIG coat, hand warmers,  double gloves , scarf, face mask and SUPER CUTE hat!  Yes, I could move…and yes, I was comfortable. Feet and hands are pretty hard to keep warm.

I guess the secret to warm feet is ROOM in your boots for warmed air to circulate…and by the end of the weekend I realized my boots were too small (luckily borrowed) and a mistake I will not make again.

We took our bus (which was heated to at least a balmy 25F – but when it is –14F OUTSIDE…that is warm!

First, Harbin is known as a winter destination b/c of the Snow and Ice Festival it puts on every year.  Millions of tourists come to see the city stocked full of carved ice and snow…in ALL shapes and sizes.

Our first stop was an ice and snow park where the entrants to an ice – carving competition are held in a building…but all around are small structures w/LED lights in them to give them depth (and to make picture taking much easier!)

IMG_7626 We took this pic and realized…yea…gotta make sure the flash is ON for people pictures…and OFF for structure pictures

IMG_7636 Different place but you can see the difference!

We walked through the park and made our way to the carved ice structures:

IMG_7646IMG_7632IMG_7631 They are truly amazing. 

I have decided that Steeler Nation needs to go on more trips:

IMG_7648 CNN covered the opening of the Festival…here is their carving.

Eric (our guide) offered to take our pic:  Here’s the first attempt:

IMG_7642 Eric exhaled…so for the next picture we all held our breath:

IMG_7643 MUCH better!!

We had about an hour in the park…which was plenty of time in the comfortable factor.  Here are a  few more pictures:


As we walked out, we found these really neat frozen flowers:

IMG_7668IMG_7667Corey by the rosesIMG_7665IMG_7664

 IMG_7669 As we walked towards the bus, there was one more pretty neat ice carving…so we stopped.

We were last on the bus, but made it with 20 seconds to spare…you do NOT want to keep a group of 19 other people waiting….that’s just rude!

Off to our Russian dinner (eh, not so great), then back to the hotel where SOME of us went to the ice bar (NOT US!…who needs an ice bar?  You can just walk outside), some of us went to the hotel bar (YES US!), then upstairs to our incredibly HOT rooms (as in slept outside the covers).

Tomorrow would be a FULL day…and you know I have the pictures to prove it!


  1. Are these where the artists come from to sculpt ICE at the Gaylord?

    Kim Caylor

  2. Wow! I'm shivering just reading this. I'm glad you went and not me, lol.

  3. Kim! They are the same!! My friend Sheree told me that. I have more to write about ...Day 2 was colder!! and longer