Purple has now turned blue... purple is joy, yet blue is hope!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Taiwan TaiTung - HuaLien Bicycle Trip (Part 3) March 2016

Guess what? I'd totally forgot there's another final section of my 1Q2016 trip to Taiwan. Believe 2016 had came till the end, while it has carried on my life fairly quickly. At a glance, year has came to its end. [yet I have 1 more week to complete my pending blog]

Grabbed my headphone and there I go... continue writing..

Day 3 of our cycling tour brought us from Guang Fu 光復 to Hualian 花蓮.

花蓮光復糖廠 Hualien Sugar Refinery

Since we missed the ice cream store due to the rain a night before, we headed to the ice cream factory immediately after breakfast, and before our journey up North. It's typical a local tourist spot, surrounded with some Japanese styled building and their typical tourist i station.

Brandy and Wasabi ice cream - early in the morning
We continued our journey, till some midway we stopped for a decent photo shooting at a grass land. Somewhere out there, while I couldn't hit the exact location in 4sq and Instagram. 

Lovely grass land for photo shooting
The last day was being quite a least excitement ride, as the road was flat without much difficult pedal. As we approached noon, we were guided to a nice tourist cum fishery pond place for lunch. As lunch and dinner wasn't included in our tour trip, we didn't expect such a proper dining place didn't cost us a bomb. Thanks to our guide, as we would believe "they" all have a good deal to start with.

Lunch at 五餅二魚
Ops, rain was approaching

Local drink - assam and sarsi
Heavy meal - mainly seafood
We continued our journey after the rain... cycled cycled and finally we reached the entrance of Hualian.  Stopped by the beach side 南濱公園 around 4pm, which was supposed to be our final stop. We requested for additional challenge to ride all our way to 七星潭 Chihsingtan Beach which in our old memory about 7 years ago, it was a nice beach side. Unfortunately, the expectation was ruined. The place has been a bit run down with very lease maintenance. The ride wasn't too pleasant too, having to ride through the narrow streets, up hills and some slopes towards the beach. Nevertheless, I managed to concur the final elevation [wasn't that bad though].

Concluded the 3 days adventure to Hualien

We concluded our guided cycle tour journey when our tour guide brought us to the homestay. Some glitch in the arrangement for homestay, as our group were booked at 2 different B&B, while good thing was it was next to each other. I was slide disappointed the night, but was satisfied with our breakfast served the next morning.

Night was on our own, free easy. We headed to the famous Hualien night market. 福町夜市 Fuding Night Market

Nothing much to expect here. Quite huge for walk, proper meal and snacks area.. nice weather to walk around. But since we were all tired, we didn't shop much though. Had some food to snack on, particular the local / aboriginal traditional dumplings. Tasted good though.

Hualien night market
Traditional dumpling
The group still stayed up late, while the guys went for foot massage, the ladies hung up outside with a cup of coffee. Chilled weather was always good to stay outdoor.

Coffee while waiting for those went for massage
Our stay in Hualien 美麗家民宿 Which I can't recall which was my stay vs. the other group stay. They both equally good, but I personally prefer my breakfast served below. It was home cooked, and refillable all morning long. Served with nice soybean drink too.

Hearty breakfast
Owner's Corgi breed doggie
The view from mini garden
Hualien Homestay
Upon check out, it became our long day long journey back to Taipei. We missed the intended train from Hualien to RuiFang, because there was a large crowd of mainland visitors clogged the queuing area. We had to wait 3 hours for the next train. There goes the plan! It was an unplanned stay at the surrounding of Hualien. But good thing was, we shopped at Giant shop, after storing our luggage at the lockers.
Luggage lockers
Some of us rented a bike each at Giant shop near the station, off we went to hunt for food and another larger Giant store nearby. It was a pleasant shopping, I have got myself 2 sets of Liv cap which I very much liked it.

We found some good dumpling too 公正街包子店 Gongzheng Street Baozi
and fresh mochi 曾記麻糬站前門市

Rush rush off we went on the train and hit RuiFang 瑞芳 station. That brought us to further tourist spot of ShiFen 十分, QingTong 青銅. Timing was bad, from our delay... by the time we reached the spot it was almost evening and night. We were quite tired in fact.

Train to RuiFang
Luggage storage at RuiFamg

Old display
Had our early dinner at a place which used to serve "workers meal" 紅寶礦工食堂

Workers meal

十分天燈廣場 Shifen Sky Lantern Square

I don't fancy this at all, because its so not environmental friendly.

Lantern wish
We return to our Taipei hotel close to 10pm. And yet, some still continue hanging out at 7-11 below the hotel. Weather has turned chilled and cold that night.

Great recycling program at 7-11
7-11 Suntory beer
The very next morning, we woke up early as usual. Walk over to XiMenDing for breakfast. Sad to learned that some of our members turned sick. Probably due to the sudden change of weather, plus over tiredness throughout the day. Before heading to XiMenDing, I grabbed a bit from the  kiosk next to 7-11 優兒咖啡 Your Coffee nice sandwich they had. Was meant for office workers' quick bite.

Had our breakfast at  蜂大咖啡 Fong Da Coffee. Personally thinks it was an overrated cafe. Anyway, it was concluded my curiosity from some tourist write up.

Fong Da local brewed coffee and almond biscuit
Our bus ride from the station to airport was just right opposite our hotel stay.

Bus station - noticed the ad?

Here's our great cycling tour group contact. They provided really good and personalized service to us. Yet, they are not so commercialized in such, so much personalized and customized free and easy trips we could get from them. Excellent choice!

Bike tour

Looking forward for our next adventure in 2017!... which is very soon :)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Taiwan TaiTung - HuaLien Bicycle Trip (Part 2) March 2016

Day 2 cycling journey, started after a healthy and hearty breakfast. It was a sunny day in the morning. We did our group stretchecise, there we off. It was a hard ride with 7KM uphill road, some with significant climb. Our mind was all blogged with how hard the climb will be, many forgot to appreciate the nature and scenic scene at the 1st KM (Wushibi 烏石鼻 township - flat and downhill route). A shame! Except for a friend of mine, whom did stopped down and took a snap. 

(after note: its just about the same as a journey in life, start-stop, hard-easy, with the will and mindset, we will get it through... enjoy every moment in life! - it's my self reminder, BE THANKFUL & HAPPY with who you are and what you have)

Photo credit to a friend <3 td="">
I love the sun & sea, plus the blue skies!

Junction towards the uphill climb
I tried on the 1KM+ climb, but had to give up after some pestering due to the need of conserving energy for our remaining 60+KM ride to our next destination of the day. Our guide picked us up anytime along the way... though it wasn't just me. :) but I was quite sad... :( In fact, we have a total of 2 hours to complete this 7KM climb. Anyway, self note : there will be another time.

Location : 玉長公路

Guide dropped me and my bike at the peak of hill
Next was an easy ride in the tunnel 玉長隧道, for about 2KM before hitting a straight 7KM downhill ride.
We stopped by a native stall after getting out from the tunnel. Observing lots of local vegetables, fruits, etc which we hadn't seen before. A friend tried chewing on Pinang 檳郎, but ended up dizzy, instead had to omit the downhill ride. Tips : Never try chewing Pinang if you are a non-smoker, the "kick" could cause dizziness.

Local convenient stall
Pumpkin, preserved chilli, banana, etc

7KM downhil was fun, road was slightly narrow. Glad that our guide did gave us some tips before the ride, and proper techniques when pressing the breaks. My speedometer wasn't working during that ride, because the guide had placed the front wheel at its opposite angle. Too had, wasn't able to observe the speed.

Location : An Tong 安東
Right at the foot of hill, An Tong was a small township famous with its hot spring. Too bad, it's not our stop to relax our feet. In fact, it was our arms and wrists that need exercise, after the long downhill pressure. 安通溫泉飯店 An-Tong Hot Springs Resort

Journey continued, where we hit to the very own bicycle lane of An Tong. The place was an old train station and tracks were converted to dedicated bicycle lanes. It was too scenic that day, emptied bicycle lane, except us on it. We was in fact over our riding time for lunch. 

Old An Tong station, now bicycle society
Close mid-day, yet riding effortless
Paddy field
Dedicated bike lane 
It's ME 
Along that bicycle lane, we were honored to the statue where 2 earthquakes plates meet. The Eurasian and Philippine sea's plate. Of course, that became a pit stop for picture taking.

Earthquake plates meet

Lunch : Yu Li township's 玉里麵 - 張媽媽美食
Our guide's recommended lunch place wasn't open that day. So, we had to make our own judgement and hop in whichever shop we feel like it. We tried all noodle and dumpling they offered. It tasted good!

YiLi Noodle
Yam Dumpling, served with Coriander and sauce
After lunch, I quickly ran ride over to the opposite train station to collect my tourist stamp! :)
The ride after lunch as slightly bored. Long, cruise and ride with cross wind. Our pit stop was either 7-11 or now we had a small police station, they called 春日派出所

Quick stop with coffee
Another bicycle lane we went by, can't recall the name. Along the train track. It started to rain drizzling by 3pm. We stopped by a park entrance, if it didn't rain, we would surely do photos bomb.

Another bicycle lane track
Quick stop at a park entrance
Travelled close to 76KM that day! It was the longest route of the 3day expedition. We arrived at GuangFu 光復 township. There's where we had our stay - 砝溙岸。

Homestay at GuangFu
Dinner : Farm in 光復 - 欣綠農園
As it was raining that evening, we were all wet like the 1st day. No chance for us to change our cloths as it was too late in the evening, we had to just drop our bags and head straight to the dinner place. Transport was arranged by our guide. Had our 12 course dinner, all ranging from farm fish, fresh farm chicken, and lots more. We had a whole bucket of purple/red rice, no limit added rice.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring my phone a long that night. Hence, no picture for this meal. :)

Breakfast : Our homestay's breakfast was extremely simple. Even Americano coffee needs additional charges. No matter how simple the meal was, it's still the local styled plain porridge plus many times of little dishes.

Simple Breakfast
Paid Americano

Stay tune for Part 3. Till then.