Well, running your own business is never easy! In fact, it’s often difficult to take time off, and in previous years we always felt ‘guilty’ taking time off because we weren’t making THAT much money that it didn’t worry us. This summer we’ve found a little more time than usual so we are taking a two week break around the island.
I won’t bore you with the details of where we stayed, but I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Last week’s trip started on Monday and we came back on Saturday evening!
Monday: Coastal drive on Highway #2 from Keelung to Ilan County where we stayed at a Japanese style hotel in Jiao-xi. Along the way we took so many pictures that I had to charge my camera every night and I filled a 4mb SD ram card as well as several hundred pictures on another card.
This coffee shop had pretty decent coffee and was situated right on the highway coast with a spectacular view.
Tuesday: Coastal highway from Ilan to Hualien where we spent a couple of days, traveling in the country, enjoying the hotel.
It was difficult to capture the motion of the waves, but the light was failing as sunset was coming which contributes to the slightly dark gray air of the picture.
The geology of the East Coast is quite impressive actually, every few miles we went and stopped we seemed to encounter quite different topology and geology. It’s a geographer’s dream!
On getting out of Suao, we started up the highway to Hualien on what is a notorious road, but the only highway between Ilan and Hualien. There is still a huge debate on the economic and environmental impact of a new highway. But if you’ve ever driven this road, you’ll know just HOW awful the road is in places, and you’ll wonder why a road hadn’t been built yet! Still, if you stop off, you’ll get stunning shots across the bays at Su-ao.
Once we got to Hualien, we couldn’t find the hotel we were supposed to stay at, the Park-View. When we did find it, I was pretty exhausted, but still the room we had was quite expensive, and suitably spacious. We enjoyed staying in this hotel much more than any of the others, but it’s a pity we didn’t actually go swimming in the pool. Oh, well.
On Wednesday we drove along the #11 highway to TaiDong where we took this enigmatic and wonderful picture of the bays in the distance. In the late sunshine of the day, we thought that the beach would be very beautiful. Somehow things in the distance turned out to have much more mystery!
Thursday: Taroko Gorge which was gorgeous. We split this into two days because of the difficult nature of the drive and the long time required which took over 8 hours to drive from Hualien to TaiChung. Truthfully we didn’t drive quickly but with breathtaking scenery like this, who would?
Friday: We were blessed because the route that we originally would have taken was closed after the earthquakes of 9/21 so we had to turn from Route 8 to Route 14 which took us upto over 3,400 meters as we ascended Ho Huan Mountain where the daytime temperature was only 12.7c. Most Taiwanese like to visit CingJing Farm area, which is famous for its elaborate guesthouses, but we found the other side of Ho Huan Mountain far more fabulous than that. In fact, as we drove through CingJing Area it was covered in fog and we didn’t see much at all there.
TaiChung – it was nearly 10pm when we hit TaiChung and got to the hotel. We were pretty zonked by the drive… so we went out for dinner with some friends. Then on Saturday after more entertaining we hit the highway home to Tamsui.
That’s when I saw this sight, and I realized how appropriate it was. The flag flying against the setting sun. By the time we got home the wind and rain were already picking up for the oncoming typhoon.