Take a Peek at the World’s Largest Snow and Ice Festival in Harbin, China

Lintao Zhang, Getty Images
Lintao Zhang, Getty Images

Harbin, China, doesn't hibernate during its cold winters. Each January, the city hosts the International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, believed to be the largest event of its kind, Insider reports.

The first-ever Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival took place in Harbin in 1985. Today, the attraction lasts a little less than two months and draws millions of visitors from around the world.

Close to 10,000 people are needed just to transport and sculpt the ice that attracts spectators. The structures are built using 777,000 cubic feet of ice blocks obtained from the nearby Songhua River and cover 6.5 million square feet of land. At night, they're illuminated by colorful, interior lights to create a dazzling display. The effect is inspired by the traditional lanterns of Heilongjiang, the province where Harbin is located. There, lanterns are carved from ice and lit up with candles. These traditional lanterns are much smaller than the festival's ice sculptures, which can reach as high as 150 feet.

The International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival lasts until February 25, and costs $48 to attend. If you can't make it to northern China to catch the event, check out some photos from this year's festival below.

International Snow and Ice Festival
Lintao Zhang, Getty Images

International Snow and Ice Festival
Lintao Zhang, Getty Images

International Snow and Ice Festival
Lintao Zhang, Getty Images

International Snow and Ice Festival
Lintao Zhang, Getty Images

[h/t Insider]

Dream Job Alert: Irish Island Is Hiring a Couple to Run Its Local Café

twstipp, iStock via Getty Images
twstipp, iStock via Getty Images

Resolving to spend more time unplugged isn't easy in 2020, but if you'd like to replace the gaming, binge-watching, and social media in your life with silence, nature, and solitude, consider moving to Ireland. As The Guardian reports, Great Blasket Island, off the country's west coast, has a job opening for two caretakers to manage a café and accommodations that are straight out of the 19th century.

The position comes with free food, lodging, and an undisclosed salary. Duties include maintaining three cottages and serving tea, coffee, and snacks to up to 21 guests. Such luxuries as Wi-Fi, hot showers, and electrical lighting are missing from the island. Instead, caretakers will depend on candles for light and stoves to boil water.

Great Blasket isn't completely off the grid. A small wind turbine there produces enough power to charge a smart phone, but with the spectacular views of the 1100-acre island and the Atlantic coast, you may not want to return to a life of nonstop scrolling.

Whether you apply for the job with a romantic partner or a close friend, it's important that the two caretakers get along well. Alice Hayes, the person behind the job listing, also stated that they should be friendly, talkative, and in good shape.

The gig starts on April 1 and runs through October 1 of this year. If you're interested in leaving the modern world behind for a few months, you can contact Alice Hayes for more information at info@greatblasketisland.net.

[h/t The Guardian]

A Cheese-Themed Hotel Room Is Popping Up in London

Cafe Rouge
Cafe Rouge

Winter is the perfect time to lock yourself indoors with a stockpile of cheese to keep you company. You could clear out your local cheese shop and do this at home, or, if you're the winner of a new contest hosted by Café Rouge, you can do it in luxury.

Between January 29 and February 6, the UK-based French bistro chain will put up nine winners and their guests in what it claims to be the world's first cheese-themed hotel. The Cheese Suite is designed to promote Café Rouge's cheese-heavy winter menu.

Concept art for cheese suite.
Cafe Rouge

The accommodations in Camden, London, have all the amenities of a typical hotel, plus plenty of special features for fromage fanatics. Upon arriving, guests will be greeted by cheese wallpaper, cheese bedding, and giant cheese art installations. Even the board games and toiletries in the suite are cheese-themed.

If the dairy-centric decor works up their appetite, guests can nibble on the cheese and crackers in the room or call the cheese hotline to get more substantial dishes delivered to their door. Items on the menu include halloumi frites, a camembert and raisin chutney baguette, and a beef bourguignon burger stuffed with raclette and comte cheeses.

Concept art for cheese suite.
Cafe Rouge

The on-demand cheese, as well as the suite itself, are complimentary. At the end of their free stay, guests will have the option to donate to Café Rouge’s charity partner, the Prince’s Trust, an organization dedicated to vulnerable young people.

To make your funky dreams come true, enter for the chance for you and a friend to win a one-night stay at the Cheese Suite through Café Rouge's website. The competition, open to UK and Channel Island residents only, closes on January 21. Here are some cheesy facts to brush up on in the meantime.

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