Day 236: Nantou, Taiwan. Another gorgeous sunny day, another long walk – and this time no need for any buses or trains.
Just behind our accommodation, a small road leads to a bigger road, which leads to a smaller road, which winds all the way up the hill to Henshan, the highest point in the local area.
The walk was glorious – through fields and fields of pineapples and tea, with hardly any traffic and just a few people out tending their crops. Pineapples are a traditional gift for Chinese New Year (as are pineapple tarts and cake), so we expect a lot of the fruit will be picked over the next week. Pineapples signify good luck as the word for pineapple – ong lai in Hokkien and wong lai in Cantonese – sounds like ‘Wang Lie’, meaning imminent luck.
Some of the pineapples even wore circular sunhats, to stop them getting too much sun. Perhaps someone should invent pineapple sunscreen too.
We passed a chicken farm, where an unbelievable amount of white chickens were squawking in a long pen, alongside a whole barn full of the fluffy things.
We walked to the highest point at Henshan Peak (not overly high, but still a local landmark). There were great views across the valley and hills beyond, though sadly it was a little smoggy.
Then we retraced our steps a little and walked to the Hawk Watching Terrace. In another couple of months this will be an awesome spot to see eagles but today, a little earlier in the year, we didn’t spot any. There were more great views though.
Then we walked back to town, past a cafe and playground which had a giant Santa Claus sitting in the garden. Every day is Christmas, it seems.
The walk back down the hill was even more spectacular, as the sun started dropping across the fields. Such glorious countryside.
Lil stopped at a local store to pick up some diet coke, and came out clutching something called Coca-Cola Fibre+, which was the only diet coke they had in the shop. It’s diet coke with added fibre, and claims to be the healthiest variant of Coke on the market. How bizarre.
Tomorrow we’re packing up again to catch a bus to Taichung, the second largest city in Taiwan. And hopefully it will still be Christmas there too.