A couple of times I made a stopover in Harbin on my way to Qiqihar. Sometimes it’s more cost effective to fly into Harbin and then take a train or drive to Qiqihar or Changchun. When I did that the first time in 2012, the train was a “green train”, i.e. a very slow one, but in 2014 they opened a new high-speed line.
Harbin train station
Inside a slow train to Qiqihar. The tea in a thermos is courtesy of the Chinese Railroads
Harbin main street
My couchsurfing friend Lucy. I never actually couchsurfed in Harbin, always staying at hotels but Lucy and her son Richard were very kind to show me around the city.
With Richard in front of Saint Sophia Cathedral
At Pizza Hut with Lucy
This year Lucy invited me over for a tea
At Lucy’s. She lives in a new high-rise with her husband, who works at a nuclear powerplant (or a company that manufactures equipment for nuclear power plants, not sure). Her son Richard now goes to the University somewhere in Shanghai.
A Soviet-style building in downtown Harbin
Inside Saint Sophia Cathedral
On Zhongyang street
A Russian singer on the balcony of Modern Hotel performing Chinese songs
Pedestrian-Railroad bridge across Songhua river
Typical Soviet-style “Khruschovkas”
A Wal-Mart on Zhongyang street
Funny Russian translations
Cablecar to Sun Island Park
Sun Island Park
With my friends Jackie and Linda at Sun Island park. Jackie is one of my colleagues, he lives and works in Guangzhou and has relatives in Harbin. Linda is his cousin from Harbin.
Jackie horsing around
On a Songhua river cruise boat
My hotel at the end of Zhongyang street by the river
This is Harbin Flood Control Monument at Stalin Park
Zhongyang street at night
My hotel at night
A nice piece of art at the hotel lobby. The water flowing from second floor through a bunch of bowls to the fountain in the lobby
View from my hotel room
Jackie’s family took me to a Japanese hibachi restaurant. We spent there 3.5 hours and the food just kept coming!
Some kind of eggplant dish, super delicious
Bamboo & chocolate rolls at the hotel, also really good
At a western restaurant on Zhongyang street
We found a Russian restaurant (which wasn’t a problem at all)
Jackie discovering the taste of borsch
Sparkling water – a rare find in China
I took advantage of people sitting still while having their portraits drawn by street artist 🙂
Qiqihar is a second largest city of the Heilongjiang province, about 300 km north of Harbin. I go there fo work every year for a couple of days, sometimes I fly direct and sometimes I get picked up at Harbin airport and they then they take me back. On my way back to Harbin, I am usually accompanied by the family of my host at the company, they use this opportunity to visit Harbin and shop 🙂
Toll highway from Qiqihar to Harbin
A roadside restaurant
Deciding what to order
One time they took me to Zhalong Nature Reserve with its famous red-crowned cranes.
At Zhalong Nature Reserve
My travel companions