Ow Taiwan, how you surprised us!

We did not know the deal about Taiwan when we booked our spontaneous flight five days ago.
Taiwan has not declared itself independent from China but sure is a different country in every way. Different currency, stable community, clean streets, very highly developed technology and most importantly no propaganda.
Although most people inTaiwan are Hanh Chinese.
The mainland claims Taiwan as a part of China but Taiwan does not want to give up on it's democracy.

Day 1:
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan and is a mix of Asian culture and big, modern city vibe.
On the first day we took the metro to the Lung Shan temple. The temples are probably one of the most fascinating constructions i've ever seen. So peaceful with people lighting candles and the sticks that smell good (what are they called??) and praying in front of the amazing sculptures of their Gods.

Then we took the metro line to the Memorial Building of Chiang Kai-Shek. It is built in the honor of the chinese leader of the nationalist government that lost the war against the communists and fled to Taiwan in 1949. With him followed 2 million people who also wanted to escape the communists.
We also were lucky to see the changing of the guards which was an interesting little performance.

Then we had lunch in form of street food at one of the local food streets.

After that we visited two other temples. One of them was an unesco cultural heritage. Very impressive although it was pouring rain which on the other hand scared all the tourists away part from us ;-)

We were going to walk up the Taipei 101 building to see the view all though it was raining so much that we decided to save the money for a sunny day so we could see the view.

Day 2:
Today we got up early to eat our free breakfast at the hostel in shape of oatmeal with fruit, peanut butter jelly toasts and caramel coffee!

Then we took the metro to the Taipei Hot Springs! As i've been to the most amazing Hot Spring in Island, I have to admit that I was not that impressed although it gave us a very relaxing morning!
We figured that this was probably the best way for the older people that came there to keep their bodies in check and keep their immune system strong. They would get in the coldest pool (which was very freezing) and sit there for a good 10-20 min before they jumped in to the 45 degree pools.

We weren't as hard core and started off in the ~40 degree pool as a start and then worked ourselves up to the 45 degree one. It was very cozy cause it was raining!

After the Hot Springs we accidentally ate McDonald's ... Haha tourists.
Then we took the metro to the Taipei Zoo!
We didn't have much time before they closed and it was pouring rain so I can't say it was the best zoo experience that I had but the animals were very well treated and in good care. We saw some very fascinating and funny personalities amongst the different animals and we were lucky to get some action from the cages, haha!
But the best part was the feeding of the pandas! I've never seen a Panda before and they are just remarkable creatures. So happy we got to see them.

We met some nice people at the hostel and then went to bed.

Day 3:
Today we took the train after breakfast and headed down south along the east coast down to Hualien. We had heard that there was supposed to be beautiful nature!
The city itself was not much to cheer for although we found the best restaurant with free drinks and free ice cream! But for the main meal we tried out the chinese hot pot :-)
Then we had an early night at our so called "Bear Hostel".

Day 4:
We decided to buy our first tour that would take us through the Toroko Gorge and National Park. Unfortunately the tour guide only spoke chinese so we didn't get any of the facts or history of the beautiful place.
We still had a great day seeing the mountains, a temple and a beautiful coast line!

To make a long story short, we took the train back to Taipei and stayed the night there.
We took the bus to the airport this morning and have now landed in Hong Kong!

Btw; if you're wondering what weird orange food thing is in the picture, it's the Taiwanese specialty: Mango ice with frozen milk and terra cotta! Yummy :-)

Toroko Gorge

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