An early morning goose alarm clock, taking the very long road to Taichung, and celebration beers in a trendy taproom.

Day 237: Nantou & Taichung, Taiwan. We were woken this morning by a guy cycling past shouting at the top of his voice (we assume he was selling something), which caused a gaggle of local geese to start honking their heads off. No alarm clock needed here.

After a long and leisurely breakfast, we checked out of the hotel at 11am, then still had an hour and a half to wait for a direct bus to Taichung. The hotel is being renovated and the communal area is upside down, so we walked down to a local cafe and sat drinking more coffee to pass the time.

Getting a direct bus to Taichung meant we didn’t have to shuffle on and off buses with our backpacks at Nantou, however the downside was the bus took rather a long time to get to where it were going. It stopped at dozens of stops and wounded around lots of neighbourhoods – good sightseeing out the window though.

The bus driver was curious to know why we were on a slow all-stops local bus, and sent a passenger who speaks English along to chat to us, to make sure we were on the right bus. Lucky there was someone who spoke English, as the bus wasn’t exactly full.

We arrived in Taichung mid-afternoon. It’s the second largest city in Taiwan, and a large iron footbridge spanning a main road displayed the words ‘The Dazzling City’. We’re all set to be dazzled.

After of a bit of a kerfuffle getting access to our hotel (our fault for not reading the Chinese instructions), we eventually made it to our room and got settled in.

Today marks 5 years since we started dating, and of course memorable dates mean more great opportunities to celebrate. So we headed to a craft beer bar called ChangeX, which the brewer from Pro Beer recommended. We had two great draft German weissbiers.

Afterwards we walked across to Taihu, the very trendy taproom of a Taipei brewery set up by two Americans and three Taiwanese. It was really busy on Monday evening with an eclectic mix of locals, expats and visitors. We had a great IPA and a Double IPA, both really good beers.

Tai is short for Taiwan, and Hu means tiger, and the brewery’s smart logo revolves around a tiger surrounded by hops.

Afterwards we walked back across town, passing a huge teddy bear enjoying a glass of vino. He looked very happy with this lot.

We also passed another Xmas tree so Jim hopped up to have his pic taken – we’re loving that Christmas is STILL a thing on 20 January.

Then we headed back towards our hotel, stopping for dinner on the way, and had a quick wander through the local night market.

At 9.30pm on Monday, the night market was absolutely heaving, with people out eating and drinking and socialising. We’ll have to have a proper look around another evening.

Tomorrow we’ve a choice of things to do, from exploring the town to museums to long walks. Whatever we do, we’re hoping we find ourselves dazzled.

More then.