With the bike safely packed I had the whole day free as the flight isn’t until 11.45pm. By an amazing coincidence, LingLing who owns La Maison Du Steak Restaurant in Cambridge and is a longstanding friend happened to be in Taipei to visit her family and attend a wedding over the last weekend.
So this morning she appeared with her sister in a posh car to take me on a little tour of President Chiang Kai-shek House & Mausoleum, Daxi Tea Factory & Daxi Old Street and of cause a lovely vegetarian restaurant 🙂
Of cause now I’m leaving it turned into a gorgeous warm sunny day with no wind, perfect for cycling, but good for tourist pics too 🙂 Interesting to see the pics of the Taroko Pass being built with picks & shovels. Even more amazing is the park with all his various statues that have been removed, on the New Governments Orders apparently, from all over Taiwan and now parked in the park! Quite bizarre. We also took in the changing of the guard at the mausoleum which I’m afraid just so reminded of Cleese in Ministry of Funny Walks 🙂
Afterwards, we drove down the Old Street in Daxi where totally amazingly I spotted fellow cyclists Graham & Frances out for a stroll! our third such meeting 🙂
Then time for lunch in a real Vegetarian Restaurant where the food is sold by weight and incredibly cheap then LingLing took me to an ice bar from the days before ice cream where a blog of ice is scraped into a bowl, you pop in the fruit you want (sold by weight) then more ice and goo is spread over. Quite good although the fruit should be in smaller chunks.
A great morning and good to have the “local knowledge” from a real knowledgeable bi-lingual person. So many thanks, LingLing & your sister!
Oh dear no posts during the Taiwan bike trip 🙁 and the bike is all boxed up and ready to fly tomorrow. I’ve had an excellent time apart from my wretched cold and the daily rain showers with occasional strong winds but it’s lovely and warm so those discomforts didn’t matter 🙂
I did one complete clockwise loop of the island reaching both lighthouses at each end. Plus straight across the island to the Sun & Moon Lake and then up to the highest mountain pass in Taiwan at Wuling, 3,275 metres above sea level quickly followed by the awesome 10,700 foot descent down the renowned Taroko gorge, the highlight of the trip even though it was pouring rain and I ended up riding for two hours in the dark; although the amazing Qingshui Cliff section on the East Coast Suao-Hualien road was a close second. I was very fortunate as there had been a very recent landslide which blocked the road, although I snook across 🙂 so I could zig-zag across and get loads of cool pics.
I like Taiwan a lot relatively cheap, my accommodation averaged out at £36 a night with quite a few ‘fancy’ places, food is inexpensive and plentiful with 7-Elevens seemingly around every corner street markets everywhere. The drivers are courteous but watch out for the zillions of scooters in the towns. Roads are well marked for cycles with many super duper special cycle paths. Although the Route 1 cycleway fails to use them! Its more set up for folks who want to bomb around the island in 9 days 🙁 the route manual is here!
All the route details are on Strava and pics are all on Flickr, hopefully, the links will appear in the spreadsheet below:
I met some interesting folks and hope to be able to introduce Sally to Graham & Frances on our next little UK tour.
My basic stats for the trip are 926 miles biked with 51,500 feet of climbing, 106 hours riding time in 19 days plus 8 rest days. Amazingly 144GB of internet data used, well it was an unlimited SIM. 🙂
Sat 11 Nov 2017 My first post on Cycling around Taiwan written after 9 days & 431 miles of biking.
The 15 hours of flying to Taiwan then a 8 hour leap into the future took its toll on me leaving me a bit of a wreck on arrival although discovering I could have UNLIMITED mobile internet for a month at NT$1000 (£25) cheered me up no end 🙂 ( as I write this I’ve used 39GB and service coverage has been 100%.
The Ty Motel picked me up and my badly damaged cardboard box with the bike and took me to their room complete with integral garage to reassemble the Schwinn bike, fortunately, no bits were missing although I’m left with trying to get a box for the way home. The night was marred by torrential rain and the room leaking over the bath area 🙁
Hopefully, more posts to follow soon…..
For the confused, the Day number above is the number of days since I was born.
Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life