A big fun evening at a brewpub, spotting a large reindeer on the MRT, and time to hit the pause button on Asian Rambles.

Day 263: Taipei, Taiwan. It rained heavily all night, and all through the day. Which gave us a good opportunity to catch up with planning and admin.

Late afternoon, as we were starting to get a little stir crazy with being stuck indoors, we headed out to a secondhand book shop just outside Shilin MRT station. Lil had a pile of paperbacks she needed to offload, then we headed off across town in search of some craft beers.

We’d read about a small brewpub called Kikeriki that’s run by a Taiwanese guy who trained in Germany, and now brews a great range of German style beers locally.

The girl serving us was really lovely and chatted with us about our time in Taiwan, and the places she hopes to travel one day. Then she introduced us to William, the brewer and owner of the bar, who was very happy to hear we were so impressed with his beers.

He asked if we’d had Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor in Taiwan, and when we said no (we’d never heard of it, to be honest), he got one of the staff to dig out a bottle from under the counter so we could try it. It was pretty potent at 53%, tasted a little like some rice wines we’ve had in the past, and was really good. Jim braved a second glass, but Lil worried she might wobble off her bar stool.

William then brought us a plate of apple slices with mullet fish roe – Lil wasn’t a fan, particularly once she realised what it was, and wrinkled her nose, nudging Jim to discreetly eat the entire plate by himself.

As the evening went on, the bar got busier – impressive for a Sunday evening. One guy who clearly knows exactly what he wants came in and leaned over bar to enter his own order into the register. Gotta love it.

A couple of kids came in with their parents, and sat drawing at one of the tables. At one point they went outside to light some sparklers on the street, which was fun to watch.

A sign in the bathroom says last beer is served at 12.20am, then they clean the beer lines, and the bar closes at 1am. The sign asks people to get home safely and rest well, so they can face their daily life and challenges with full energy. Wise words indeed.

We said our thanks for the great drinks and fabulous hospitality, then headed off to catch the MRT home, leaving the children still in the bar at nearly midnight. Jim couldn’t resist posing with some Chinese New Year rat characters – possibly the last we’ll see for now.

On the MRT a guy was carrying a huge reindeer – perhaps to mark the 53rd day of Christmas.

Tomorrow we pack up and head to Europe for the next chapter of our adventures. We’ve absolutely loved our time in Taiwan – it’s an awesome country, with heaps to do, amazing hiking and food, and the people here are just lovely.

So this is our last Asian Rambles blog, until we return at some point in the future. It’s 9 months today since we set off from Sydney on our Asian adventures and experiences; we’ve had a heap of fun, and created millions of happy memories. After this we’ll be switching to a ‘blogette’ called Euro Escapades, which we’ll post directly on Facebook every day.

Cheers for now.