Saturday, November 21, 2009

The rest of our Harbin trip.

The one thing we do take for granted back in Xiamen, is the lack of cars constantly beeping their horns. How Mark slept through that I still haven't quite figured out.

Searching for sites was a bit difficult if you weren't going to Harbin for the ice festival but we managed to find a few sights that sounded interesting.

We found a very charming Russian cafe and had breakfast/lunch. The building dated back to the early 1900's and it was reminisent of old Russian architecture. After lunch we walked back to St. Sophia's church figuring it would look quite lovely with all the snow, plus we wanted to visit inside.
Once inside we were greeted by a choir who sang quite beautifully. As we listened to them sing we took in the history of Ha'erbin as it's now a musuem and services are no longer offered. The church itself is older, and much of the paint is cracked but you do get a sense of grandeur back in the day.

Mark and I wanted to visit one of the museums, named Unit 731 Museum where it depicts the horrors of what the Japanese did to the Chinese during WWII. Here is where our best laid plans come unfolded. The museum was a 45 minute drive from where we were and due to the weather we weren't going anywhere quickly. Finally the taxi driver told us it was too late as the last entry into the museum was at 3pm and it was already 2:45pm, so we scrapped that idea and decided to go to the Confucius Temple except that too was closed, and the idea of going to Dragon Tower was squashed as the weather was to bad to actually see anything. Last on our list was to try this British pub. Hey after a long day of sightseeing, one needs to find a nice place to relax.

Okay, so we get to the pub to find out that it's closed. How can that be? We checked the opening hours and on the weekends the pub was to be open from noon until late. Well it was about 3:30pm and it still wasn't open. The original thought was that the employees were late due to the weather, but we saw a light inside, though the gate was locked. We found a coffee shop where we warmed up a bit, and then checked the pub again. Nope now the lights were off. Batting 1000 we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel to grab some food. Yea, the fun of China around 4:30 is trying to find a taxi during this time when they are changing shifts and everyone is searching for a taxi. We managed to find one
that would take us back to the church. After taking some night photos of St. Sophia's church, we finally made our way back to the hotel for dinner, watched some movies and called it a night.
It is a very pretty city, and would be interesting going there in the summer where you could wander through some of the older streets. Perhaps next time...

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