The last hurrah of our Spring Festival holiday off from school and work was a trip with our branch from church to Longqing Gorge to see the annual Ice Festival.
We loaded up two buses, around 70 people, and headed an hour and a half outside of Beijing. Nobody had been there before, so expectations were questionable.
We arrived in late afternoon and hopped on a golf cart to get into the gorge. Imagine a long gorge, surrounded by vertical cliffs, leading to a tall dam. This is what it was like.
The first thing we did was a looooooong toboggan ride. It went down the complete hillside and was a blast. You can see part of the track in the picture below.
At the base of the toboggan were some outside ice sculptures. We really thought this was it. Oh how wrong we were.
While we were looking at ice, D and his partner in crime decided to climb the hill and slide down on his bum. They had a blast!
This picture below shows the toboggan track (yes, the bridge-looking thing). You can see the dam far off behind it. At the base you see the entrance to the dragon mouth, which is the entrance to the indoor ice sculptures. Look closely to the mountain on the right and you will see a yellow and green dragon climbing up the mountain. This is an enclosed escalator that takes you to the top of the dam.
I am so glad we went inside! There were three rooms of ice sculptures and each room got better and better. Each sculpture had light from within to illuminate the creations. Something we will not soon forget!
THIS IS ALL ICE!
When you have completed the sculpture "rooms" you are at the base of the dam. Below they have sprayed the wall with water and let it freeze which created the most beautiful ice fall.
Below is one of the sculpture rooms from above.
After we finished looking at the sculptures we headed up the gigantic dragon escalator to the top of the dam. Below is the view.
As night fell, lights clicked on. To our surprise they had lights replicating The Great Wall up the side of the mountain.
Below you will see how the dam is illuminated.
Disneyland has nothing on the lights of this place!
This was one of the best experiences we've had in China so far! We totally recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to go, go! We look forward to going back in the summer when the gorge is filled with water and the mountains are filled with lush green.