Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hiking, Taiwan-style

Hiking in Taiwan is unlike any hiking I've ever done.  For one, the climate is lush and tropical so the plant growth is thicker and greener than most hikes I've seen.

Secondly, the trails are much more manicured than your average walk in the woods. There are fountains and wood sculptures as well as stone monuments to figures such as Confucius.  
 The park we saw was Yangmingshan, famed for its cherry blossoms.  This is the entrance.
 Elaborate floral-scapes and arrangements covered the hillside and a flower-covered working-clock was a landmark (see below).

 But the biggest difference was not the tai-chi groups or careful attention to detail of the landscaping, nor the occasional gazebo or Japanese bridge.

No, the biggest difference was....

the FOOD.

 We started the hike with a platter of fried fish-balls, fried stinky tofu, and fried potato pancake.  This was 9:30am second-breakfast.
 A mile into the leisurely, no-incline hike we came across what I think was called "Little Food Village" on the hike map.  At least 20 stalls dotted the path, selling everything from ice-cream, fried foods, fresh fruits, and other portable edibles.
 This is acceptable hiking gear for a Taiwanese hike.  Gotta keep up appearances and, obviously, keep your energy up too!

After snacking along the way, we ended our brief hike with soft-serve.

Thanks Taiwan for a lovely and fulfilling (and just plain filling) hike.  I can't say the health benefits outweighed the caloric content, but I will say the bar for an enjoyable hike has been set pretty high.

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