Trotting down the Taitung Train Track
Day 883 – 886
We are now in Taitung, a city on the southeast coast of Taiwan. We love old train track walks so were thrilled to find one here.
We have now arrived at Taitung, on the East Coast of Taiwan, after a relaxing last day in Hengchung, saying farewell to our host and her delightful son, and then taking a bus and train journey. This took us by the coast, passed mango farms with all the fruit bagged for protection and through the mountains with so many tunnels. Finally, we reached our new destination for the next four nights.
Tim had booked our accommodation (I was on strike from planning). We unlocked the door downstairs to find ourselves in a Wedding Dress Shop. Oh, I’d so love to try on some of the dresses, with sequins, lace, and fairy tale skirts – I think Tim would too!
We climbed the stairs and opened our room – what has Tim brought me too? It’s a purple boudoir with drapes over the fur-covered bed and a glass chandelier! Not our usual clean, minimalist rooms we like. I can’t think what he had in mind!
Our first evening we walked into town to find somewhere to eat. We are a bit away from the centre, so had to trudge along a busy carriageway with no pavement and a couple of close shaves with motorbikes charging down the edge of the road.
During our meal, Tim looked for a better way back and found an old railway line which has been converted into a pathway. This is the Taitung Mountain/Ocean Biking Lane, a 21km circular route. What a shame we don’t have bikes.
The next day, we walked down the old train track in daylight. With no traffic to contend with, it was so relaxing with loads to see. It took us ages to get into town as we kept stopping to take photos. I think this type of walk is my favourite. I remember years ago when our sons were small walking along a train track near Snowdon in Wales, we even walked through old tunnels. Such fun.
We passed by gardens filled with flowers and vegetables as well as seeing some wildlife, including male and female Malayan Night Herons. As we walked over a bridge across a river, water buffalo were enjoying chewing the grass and having a dip in the water. One even came out of the river to see us!
We passed by an old pillbox bunker, probably built by the Japanese during WWII. Snow White and her seven dwarfs, as well as Pooh Bear, were out to play, and some beautiful murals adorned some walls. We love walkways like this. Do you have anything like this where you live?
Some of our family and friends have shared with us that when they’ve been taking advantage of the daily allowed exercise during the lockdown, they have discovered new local places. There’s something exciting about finding somewhere new, and even when revisiting it; we often see something different the second time around.
We walked up and down this track a few times while we stayed here and each time saw something different. How we missed the windmill the first time, I’ll never know.
One reason we needed to come into town was to top up our sim cards; Through google translate we discovered that we had to buy another sim as the tourist one only lasts 30 days and we needed to show our passports; scanned copies were not permitted.
We returned the next day and decided just to buy 1 sim as they were £27 each (for one month unlimited). This is quite hefty in price compared to most countries we’ve visited. Oh well, I’ll just hop on and use Tim’s data when I need wifi.
Near the Telecome shop, was Taitung Art Museum, so after getting our temperature checked (at both places) and hands sprayed, we wandered around the complex with its five separate exhibition halls.
The largest of the exhibition halls was being prepared, with lines of paintings waiting to be hung up. Even so, we were still permitted to wander around. I cannot imagine many Art galleries allowing this. There were some fantastic paintings here depicting life in Taiwan, not always complimentary. I liked the picture of the schoolgirl, raising her head out of the drudgery of the strict school system to a world of colour and fun. And the one with the tower of trash is revealing. The streets are relatively clean from rubbish here, but there is so much plastic being sold in shops – where does it all go, we wonder.
In two rooms, there were some wooden sculptures, and again, this exhibition had not officially opened. An entourage of people was milling around, some fiddling with lights and shifting the figurines slightly for the best effect. We wondered who the artist was; the man in green or the man in black? We will never know.
After mooching around town, we came across the Taitung Aboriginal Gallery where local artisans can work, not that we saw many of them. Their units are made from recycled shipping containers, which I love, but it was the roof that was special; a fabulous wave-like roof, drawing inspiration from the Pacific Ocean that edges the city.
This area was different from the rest of the town, quite hip with large comic statues, mosaic trees, paper lanterns decorated by children lining the pathway, and an area called Taitung Music Village, which was quiet when we were there. I think it all gets going when we’d tucked up in bed.
We needed to get back, My nephew Joel was giving a keep fit session on zoom for me and my sisters. After this and all our walking, I am shattered now!