Friday, 31 July 2015

Taipei in Bloom - 9-13 March 2015

It's so easy to overlook Taipei cos it's not in the top must-see places. Hubby and I, minus the kids, went for a short trip to Taipei and we went without any expectation. We arrived very early and couldn't check into our hotel rooms yet, so we dropped by Chiang Kai Shek Memorial to get some fresh air. It's spring, and the air smelled like fragrant flowers. The park was very well-maintained, with info signs to educate us on different types of trees, flowers and birds. But the biggest surprise was to see the blooming cherry blossom trees! 

Dozens of bird enthusiasts clicking away, but the pink cherry blossoms were not the Star, it's the white-eye bird! It was quite a sight to see all the expensive telephoto camera lens aiming at those small, active birds. 

We enjoyed the walks very much - maybe it's the fresh spring air, the sakura season, the beautiful trees or the carefree holidays without kids... I loved it so much that I came back to the same place on my own again. I learnt how to differentiate between the Taiwan cherry blossom and plum flowers. There's also a few cherry blossom species and they bloom at different timing. There're so many bird species we saw in the park too.

Next important to-do on the list - FOOD! Taipei is so well-known for its street food that it needed no introduction. Taiwan was a colony of Japan for 50 years, so a lot of its food culture bears a similarity to Japan. There's so so much to share about the food & snacks in Taipei - it needs another post.

Nearby CKS Memorial, we saw a long queue of people waiting at a corner coffee shop for the Jinfeng braised pork rice and the side dishes and herbal soup. It's great to take something hot on a cold, windy day.

Famous fermented stinky tofu at Shilin night market. Also love the fried milk snacks and the teppanyaki, the oyster omelette, etc.

Next surprise is the Yehliu Geopark, which is about an hour's bus ride from Taipei city. The park is well-maintained and entrance fee is very reasonable. It's not necessary to join a day tour cos the public transport is very reliable and convenient.

It's rather rainy and windy that whole week we're there, with mostly overcast sky. The Pacific ocean was very rough and fierce. It's very scenic to see the impact of weathering, like a sculptor was there shaping, refining, cutting the rocks into various layers, shapes and sizes. And it's an ongoing piece of art, we're seeing new shapes and rock formations.

Famous 'Queen's Head'

A fairy's shoe or slipper?? Formed due to seawater erosion on rock layers. Indeed the wonders of nature!

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