20th Februaury 2017 Harbin
Another brisk day in Harbin but only -16 !!! Off to St Sophia based on Russian Orthodox Church used now as a history museum. Interesting exhibits and wonderful series of photos depicting early life in Harbin and the mix of people and cultures.
Next to the Confucius temple
on to the Buddhist temple.
For the remainder of the afternoon we were left to our own devices to navigate Centre Street a cobbled pedestrian street of shops, restaurants and shopping centres. A extravagantly constructed street when built during the early Russian settlement cost approximately $1US per brick.
While not wanting to buy a single thing we had a browse around a multi-floored shopping centre finding brand names galore. On the outdoor floor filled with Northface, Jack Wolfskin and others I bought new and warmer gloves.
While we had been told Starbucks was available – we instead found a cosy Café – Bomele Bakery where we warmed rather than chilled. The cold seemed to give us permission to eat delicious custard filled pastries temptingly on display along with a selection of sandwiches. Watching the process via the locals we discovered you could choose bakery items downstairs to have with hot drinks upstairs.
At the end of the street we met up with David and with the time left we went shopping for a hat for Chris which turned into a large fluffy hat each. Warm, a bit silly looking and for $8 (rather than the more elegant real fur hat we had seen earlier for around $100) we were forever grateful.
A final meal of ‘Dumplings with the King’ as Chris termed the Dumpling King. Quick, simple, delicious.
Delivered to the train to Beijing with the usual chaos and masses movement of people. David was unable to enter with us and we were separated as the wave of people carried us through security and into the station.
We found our way with help from people in uniform scattered around the station to our 4berth cabin. Sharing with 2 women overnight proved easier than imagined – including sliding into sleepwear once the lights went out.