Harbin Ice Festival, China

Long have I wanted to go to the city of Harbin and witness the Ice festival for myself.  As we were going to be in China at the same time as the festival, I couldn’t think of a better time to make the trek.  Danni’s parents were more than generous to cover the costs of my trip as a way of welcoming me into their family.  I was a bit uncomfortable about accepting, but was told that it’s simply the tradition so I tried to be as gracious and grateful as possible.

First day in Harbin, checking out the small ice sculptures on the high street.

Arriving alone in a country where very few people speak your language is daunting, but I’ve done it before and managed so I didn’t think I’d have any issues doing it again.  Which likely would have been true had the airline not lost my luggage on a direct flight from Guangzhou to Harbin.  Fortunately I had the dynamic team of Danni and her mom to harass the complaints department until my lost suitcase turned up.  4 days later when I was due to leave, but I was happy to have it back regardless.

Cycling across the frozen river

I don’t normally mind when the airline loses my bag as it (so far) always turns up in the end.  This time however, it was more inconvenient than usual as the suitcase contained all of my warm clothes an my trusty tripod.  Had I known that my bag was going to be MIA for the duration of my trip I would have simply picked up some more warm clothes, but instead I took an optimistic ‘It’ll be here on the next flight’ approach and dealt with the -25ºC weather as best I could.

Sliding down one of the many, many ice slides.

The ice buildings were by far the highlight of my trip.  Massive, multi-story buildings constructed of ice and lit from within by every changing lights, it was everything I’d hoped it would be.  I had a grin frozen to my face (quite literally after a few hours in that cold) the entire time I was there.  I managed to push a few kids of out the way and ride most of the ice slides like every good 6 year old should and spent as much time as humanly possible taking photos.

Here are a few more from the trip, some of which are up there with my all time favourite images I’ve ever taken.  Such an amazing place and fortunately it changes every year so I have an excuse to go back!  Not that I would have needed one.

Gonging the bell

More slides

Ice buildings everywhere

There are quite a few more images of this incredible place in the gallery.  I wish I could say I did it justice, but it’s one of those places you really have to visit to fully appreciate.  Let me know if you’re going, I’ll likely tag along!

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply