Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Taiwan Translated: Day 3 at Danshui and Keelung

We started off our road trip in Taiwan on an ambitious note, driving from Taipei all the way to Hualien in two days... after which the hubby and I concluded that we would slow down and take more time to explore each place, especially since we had baby J in tow.

Day 3 in Taiwan was spent wandering around in Danshui.  We didn't manage to visit Fort San Domingo (which was built by the Spanish when they occupied the area), but happened to chance across the Danshui Presbyterian Church while strolling around.  Sunday service was in session when we were there (I nearly walked in thanks to my excitement in photographing the church), so we walked around the church grounds instead, which still had their nativity and Christmas scenes up:

Then we had some time wandering around the area around and at the Fisherman's Wharf (Yuren Matou), and bought two colourful handwoven baskets.  These seem to be one of the common craft products sold in the area, and came in very handy for holding various things like gloves and coats when we were travelling in the car.  The area is crammed full of shops selling all sorts of stuff, ranging from food (like sausages stuffed with fish or pork, as well as quail eggs wrapped in a fluffy coat of fried egg and whitebait which hubby gamely posed with)...

 to winter wear and doggy clothes...

and of course, fresh seafood!

No visit to the wharf is complete without a boat trip across, so we took a quick cruise and came back to the wharf for more munching (fried sotong and "pearl" dumplings, nicely washed down with sugercane juice).

Then it was down the North coast highway, along which is dotted with many points of interest, such as the Temple of the 18 Kings (Shibawang Gongmiao) as well as the rock formations at Yeliu.  However, since we were rushing down to Keelung, we only stopped once to view the huge stone arch known as Shimen (Stone gate).  The hubby saw this bridge at the ocean's edge and pronounced it as THE gate:

But he was wrong, as the actual Shimen turned out to be quite far off from the water's edge as plate tectonics had moved it.  There are steps etched into the massive arch, so we managed to climb up to the top and braved the freezing winds to take some photos. :)

Then it was all the way down to Keelung (Jilong), the second largest port in Taiwan, and unfortunately we got lost trying to find our hotel since the city is full of one way streets that made us go round and round the area.  Finally, after circling the place for awhile, we managed to get to the hotel (Hua Shuai Hotel), which turned out to be quite a little gem thanks to its proximity to the night market.  Our room was really comfy, with down pillows and a king-sized bed... (However, the room was a tad small, so it was quite cramped after we set up the travel cot.)

Keelung has various sights and the city is bursting with shops selling everything and anything, but the hubby had planned to come here only for one reason: Keelung's Temple Street Night Market (Jilong Miaokou) has supposedly the best snack food in Taiwan.  Our hotel was about a 5 minute walk away from the market, and we went nuts buying food for dinner: Oyster omelette (darn good), muah chi, fried chicken, oyster mee sua (this one wasn't that great though), just to name a few... and that very good meal ended our day with a bang (and an extremely full stomach)!

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