Friday, 23 April 2010

Taroko and Hualien Picture Post

The Taroko Gorge National Park is just such an amazing place and we took so many photos, that this selection can only give a vague idea, but here we go!

This is the 'gate' to the park

A short way inside, you come to the Eternal Spring Shrine, which is dedicated to the dozen who lost their lives during the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway a few decades ago. Sadly, to add insult to injury, the highway itself has been closed since the big earthquake back in 1999.

On the way through the caves to visit the shrine itself, (or at least the lower part of it, there is also one very high up and we gave up climbing so many stairs without any idea how far there was yet to go!), you come across this, which really reminds you of the photos of triads of gods you see in the publications exposing the origins of the trinity doctrine.

Fancy a walk across??

This was hysterical. The dog was staring up at something or nothing, so I went to mess about with him and looked as well. Then, as you can see, Rob started to look up, then a bunch of Chinese tourists behind Martin with the camera started to look up....

The water is really and truly grey in Taroko!

A view out from the Nine Tunnels Walk

Here's another pagoda

And this is what it looks like inside, looking up

A nice new pet for Martin

Hualien itself hasn't much to offer, I felt, but you can get your teeth fixed in Japanese, (if you're brave enough!!!!!!!!!!!!), and your motorbike sorted in English - pretty passable English for a change too!

We stayed in the most amazing hotel just outside the city, which was one of the old courtyard style homes. This is the front entrance.

And here's Martin cutting the fingernails of the manager's granddaughters!!

We caught up with Wenfei, whose been assigned to Hualien for a good year now. She invited some from her cong over and here we are on their stairs. What face I am pulling and why I dread to think, but it was a much better photo of everyone else than the other I have, so I've sacrificed myself!!

The next day we took ourselves off to the Qixingtan Beach and Martin now has this photo as his laptop background wallpaper.=)

Such a blue sea!

We walked rather a long way, up lots of steps:

And I got the worst sunburn I've ever had! Thanks to lavendar and peppermint oils, (this one's for you, Jane!), I was able to stop it from peeling, blistering and going generally nasty, but it was an experience I won't forget. I will also not totally rely on weather forecasts that predict only cloudy skies and low 20sC, when it was as clear as could be both days and soaring into the 30s!

Here are some of the paddy fields near Yilan, seen from the train on the way home.

Hope you enjoyed the ride!

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