the last of the taiwan posts – and really, this place on its own is all the reason you need to visit this country in the spring. taiwan has an intriguing mix of metropolitan cities and the great green wilderness – rolling hills and mountains and green, green grass so far as the eye can see (so much that you forget just (sorta-)round-the-corner is a bustling cosmopolitan city like taipei).
when we were here in february, the weather was chilly, windy, and very good for long walks. there’s something very surprising about this place – it reminds me of the lake district and all those scenes you read in literature about the great british outdoors – certainly not something you anticipate being in this part of the world.
anyway, enough preamble. I hope you enjoy the photos!
this is long overdue – but better late than never!
hualien is.. a frequent stop on the taiwan travellers’ circuit, but it’s both unassuming and pretty indistinct. it feels more like a pit stop before going through the pretty darn cool taroko gorge (coming up sometime!), and I’ll be frank – if you’re not doing the latter, this place might not hold too much charm for you.
there’s some decent food to be had though (hence better gastronomically than cingjing), but it lacks the picturesqueness of the former, or the bustling draw of taipei – and is essentially a small, old town.
absolutely beautiful. breathtakingly, shutter-snappingly gorgeous. you see these scenes on the telly and it’s pretty, right, but it’s another thing altogether when you find yourself in the rolling hills and beneath the shade of the sakura. it was late in the season when we arrived, so while the trees weren’t effervescently blooming, they did hold a few late pink blooms – which was more than enough, coupled with the view it so wonderfully framed.
it’s not an eating town so much (one of the best things was the oden at 7-eleven), but the sightseeing makes up for it.
let’s try a bumper of a post this weekend – starting with a roundup of the lovely things I ate in taipei. I mentioned earlier (during my market summary – so technical, eh?) that taipei is a great city for eating, and it stretches far beyond its too-famous markets.
eating in taipei – and taiwan, in general – is an education in the merits of spacing your calories out throughout that day. come to think of it though, it’s not calories you’re so much bothered with so much as stomach space.
decent noodles and dumplings at this taiwanese chain – I’ve done a post on this one before because I really rather like it, but here’s an update (including one of their best dishes). also – this is an effortless way to say hello(!) in the midst of post-holiday-induced melancholy, and fortuitously, a recommendation for an easy dinner out if you can’t bring yourself to cook tonight.
this is a good fallback restaurant (but not if you’re dining at a typical meal hour, as it’s always full) for decent food and low prices; and while I think the crystal jade empire (and more relevantly, its equivalent la mian xiao long bao outlets) serves better food when their kitchens exert themselves, this place shows a higher degree of consistency in production.