Making the Rounds: Taipei

March 10-11, 2015

Having spent the last couple of days hustling around Taichung Area/Central Taiwan it was time to go North and travel around Northern Taiwan. We got up bright and early and made our way to the train station to travel up to Taipei. As soon as we got to Taipei Main Station I purchased EasyCards for my dad and sister and we made our way over to Ximen MRT Station and walked to our hotel.

After checking in it was time to start checking off some of the spots that my dad and sister said they wanted to see in Taipei. We took the MRT to 2.28 Peace Park. I had just gotten a short vacation from work because of 2.28, so it was nice to be in the park that commemorates that tragic day and time period in Taiwanese history.

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We then ventured over to the Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial. I still think this is a must see when you are in Taiwan. We decided to stay until the top of the hour to watch the changing of the guards. Their precision and ability to stand still for 50 minutes at a time amazes me. I’m not sure if I can sit still for a whole minute!

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Changing of the guards

Changing of the guards

Since the weather is less than appealing in Taipei during the spring I decided that maybe we should go out to Tamsui (Danshui) area. We got on the MRT and made our way out to Tamsui. I was going to show them the forts that used to be controlled by Spain, Japan, the United States, and several other countries. In Tamsui we walked on the boardwalk that follows the Tamsui River to the ocean, quickly made a pit stop for a waffle and brownie snack, and then arrived at the first fort, Fort San Domingo, and then kept walking towards the second fort, Hobe Fort. Both looked very gloomy and regal in the foggy weather. A couple was taking engagement photos at the run-down Hobe Fort too despite the threat of rain clouds coming in. I thought we were going to get kicked out of Hobe Fort because at one point my sister was opening doors and looking inside places that clearly had a do not enter sign on them.

Fort San Domingo

Fort San Domingo

Hobe Fort

Hobe Fort

At this point in the day it was drizzling out so we took a cab back to the MRT station and made our way to Shilin Night Market. When we arrived it started raining so wandering around Shilin started to become an umbrella maze. We ate some more Taiwanese snacks along the way and I popped into a few shops to look at clothing. I was not familiar with the area so as soon as I saw a place that would serve food my sister would eat I stopped and we sat down. We ate some dinner and then took the MRT back to Ximen. I was really hoping that the rain would stop because most of what I had planned for that week was outside and the weather forecast was rain, rain, rain.

We woke up in the morning to more rain. Against my advice my dad thought it was a good idea to keep going with the itinerary even though it was raining. This did not make me excited for what was about to happen next. We took the MRT to the stop all the way past Taipei 101 and walked towards Elephant Mountain. We proceeded to be those crazy foreigners hiking in the pouring rain. By the time we reached the “top” of elephant mountain I was wet, cold, and crabby. (It was a very poor time to discover that my rain jacket was not the best at protecting me from the rain.)

View of Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain

View of Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain

We took pictures of Taipei 101 when the rain clouds briefly cleared from the sky and then we walked back down the mountain. My dad kept making comments like, “oh let’s see where that trail goes”, and I was not in the mood to even attempt to give his comments a response. At the MRT station my sister and I had a little tiff that I don’t want to get into, so I helped her get back to the hotel while my dad and I went to lunch at Belle Epoche. They are known for their menu including the trademark Pearl Milk Tea Pancakes. My friend had had them so I was excited to try them for myself. What a sugar bomb in my stomach! AND I had a sweet latte too! Talk about a sugar overload. They were delicious though.

Pearl Milk Tea Pancakes

Pearl Milk Tea Pancakes

With the rain still being a damper on the day my dad and I decided to go see a movie at a movie theater in Taipei that shows movies that have been out a couple of months already. With the wait times being too long for the movie we wanted to see we opted for a different one, Big Eyes. I liked the movie. It is definitely something that I would have watched in my free time. It wasn’t exactly in my dad’s movie wheel house, but it was cheap.

We still had some time before we were to meet up with my friend Rachael for massages, so I took my dad to the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial. We actually ended up coming in when the guards were finishing up their rounds for the day. It was cool to see them actually leave instead of just rotate between guards. As we were walking around the mini museum they have in the memorial a tour guide was giving us some information about Sun Yat-Sen. It was nice extra bits of information that we wouldn’t have otherwise known had no one told us.

Sun Yat-Sen

Sun Yat-Sen

It was time for my dad and I to go to our massages at Villa-Like Spa. We both got the Thai Oil Massage with a short foot massage beforehand. It was definitely the royal treatment and I can’t wait to take my mom back there.

Dad enjoying his foot massage/scrub

Dad enjoying his foot massage/scrub

Then my dad, Rachael, and I went to dinner at The Lobster Bar. We picked this place because my dad and I had walked by it earlier and I said, “Hey, we should try to eat dinner there”. When we walked into the place there weren’t any tables available so we agreed to sit at the bar. Great decision! The rest of the evening we were eating our dinner and chatting it up with the bartenders. There may have been some innocent flirting going on as well. By the time we left we had made new friends and one of the bartenders, Jerman, had made us all 3 free drinks that were pretty tasty.

I had been a chill afternoon and evening for me and my dad. We said our goodbyes to Rachael and went back to the hotel.