Harbin Style

Trying to finish the tea that had turned into
an icy slushie before entering the Ice World.

During the winter in China, we love get away from the endlessly rainy and cold days of Shanghai. But for some reason, this year we decided we wanted to get colder.

Harbin, China, is a sight to see, something which I hadn’t ever thought of until a few people started talking about taking a weekend trip there. After conducting some research about this city, I came up with the annual Harbin International Ice Festival. Apparently, it’s a huge deal for travelers around the world. Here I was, two and half hours away from it, and I had no idea just how interested people were in Harbin.

Harbin just looks cold. By cold, I mean, really freaking cold. When most of your city’s attractions are ice sculptures, snow art, and Russian food, it must really be cold.

While in the States for Christmas holiday, I picked up cold weather gear – thermal and waterproof boots, a long, down, thermal jacket, hand warmers, Isotoner gloves, hats, scarves, long socks, and thermal layers from Under Armour. It was a bulk of my luggage allowance – all this warm stuff for a three-day weekend in Harbin.

We went at the end of January, during the height of the festival and right before Chinese New Year holiday. The temperatures ranged from about 5’F to about -15’F below, but we managed sunshine and almost no wind, which helped the sensation of cold and from any exposed skin from freezing.

Literally “iced” tea!

Ironically, Chicago and most of the Midwest was in the grip of what’s now known as the “Polar Vortex,” and for all my fear of freezing to death in Harbin, it was actually warmer in Harbin than Chicago during this time.

So, how do you get ready for Harbin?

Well, you end up looking quite like an Eskimo!

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