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Updated: Mar 19, 2021

Welcome to this month’s FREETOGO blog post. This is the last blog post of the year and comes at a very special time for many. There are holiday celebrations galore worldwide.

These celebrations are especially timely in that it has been a difficult year for many. The good news is that the year 2021 promises to be much better.

In this blog post, I’d like to bring your attention to three sites.

1) The first site can be found in the Category ‘Annual Events.’

China's Ice City Harbin 2019

The International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China has gained international attention for its popular winter extravaganza which features elaborate ice sculptures.

(From Wikipedia)

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival (Chinese: 哈尔滨国际冰雪节; pinyin: Hā'ěrbīn Guójì Bīngxuě Jié) is an annual winter festival that takes place with a theme in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China, and now is the largest ice and snow festival in the world. At first, participants in the festival were mainly Chinese, however it has since become an international festival and competition, with the 2018 festival attracting 18 million visitors and generating 28.7 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) of revenue.[1] The festival includes the world's biggest ice sculptures.[2]

Officially, the festival starts on January 5 and lasts till late February. However, exhibits often open earlier and stay longer, weather permitting. While ice sculptures are erected throughout the city, there are two main exhibition areas:

· Sun Island is a recreational area on the opposite side of the Songhua River from the city, which features an expo of enormous snow sculptures.

· Ice and Snow World is an area open in the afternoon and at night which features illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of 2–3' thick ice taken directly from the Songhua River. The park usually opens from late December to late February. In 1999, the first Ice and Snow World opened to public to celebrate the millennium. Each year the park has to be rebuilt with newly designed ice buildings and snow and ice sculptures. In recent years, the park has been as large as 80 hectares.

During the festival, there are ice lantern park touring activities held in many parks in the city. Winter activities during the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing, winter-swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.

2) Next, I’d like to call your attention to some fantastic light displays.

Entire Neighborhoods Battle for Best Christmas Light Display

These families have turned their homes and their neighbors' homes into extravagant Christmas wonderlands

You can find this video in the 'Special and Unique’ category. [UPDATE! This video has now been moved to the 'Archive of Holiday & Season Showcase' category.]

3) Lastly, you should check out a new website I added to the ‘Like you are There’ category titled, “Radio Garden.” It allows you to navigate the globe to listen to a local radio station for any locale. Like, “Window Swap,” accessing Radio Garden offers a great example of how one can travel virtually at any time.

Radio Garden

Explore live radio by rotating the globe. Listen to radio broadcasts anywhere in the world as if you are there.

Radio Garden is a non-profit Dutch radio and digital research project developed from 2013 to 2016, by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, by the Transnational Radio Knowledge Platform and five other European universities. It is funded by HERA. According to the service, the idea is to narrow the boundaries from the radio. It gained popularity in 2016 when it surpassed the 8.000 registered station mark and, as announced at The Radio Conference 2016: Transnational Encounters, went viral.


I invite you to check out the above videos and the many others curated for this website.

Also, be sure to see all of the many ways people are using FREETOGO at the bottom of the ‘Travel Now’ page.

Most importantly, help to improve the quality of life of everyone. Please share this website far and wide, especially with anyone unable to travel freely. Sign up as a member, leave a testimonial, and visit the website regularly!

Get creative and have some fun traveling virtually. I look forward to the day when the term Virtual Travel will be as commonplace as the term travel.

Until next year, thank you.

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