Taiwan: Hualien (to Taroko Gorge)

Probably no exciting updates here today, but just to keep you abreast of the situation, Nick and I checked out of our hotel in Taipei city (goodbye beautiful Gloria Residence!) after having another breakfast at 沒事”早事”坐.  This time, I opted for a spicy chicken cheese roll with a salad and Nick had a chicken burger with hash browns and a salad. Nick had an ice coffee and I had an orange juice as well.

We headed immediately to Taipei Main Station.  This is a central hub for other train networks aside from the very orderly MRT system in Taipei city itself. From here, we had to find our train to Hualien.

It was pretty straightforward but we were SO glad we had chosen the option of picking the tickets up at 7-eleven the previous day. It was pandemonium at the station.  This section in particular was incredibly busy. It seems that all the services very quickly book out (entirely!) so there are always heaps of people milling around waiting to catch their trains.

Boarding the train was not an issue and the train itself was really lovely.  Spacious and clean – it wasn’t quite as flash as the Japanese Shinkansen cars but comfortable never the less. So comfy I ended up having  a little nap. Thanks Nick.

The journey took about 2 hours and there was some very scenic views of the seaside on the final stretch of the journey.  The train headed first to the northern most point of Taiwan before heading south along the coast towards Hualien.

Nick had managed to find us a hotel very close to Hualien station, KKS Hotel.  While it is quite a step down in luxury from our previous hotel stay, it is clean and comfortable and we are only here for one night.

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We weren’t able to check in straight away and had a bit of time to kill so we went and had a 7-eleven lunch (Nick had spaghetti and I had sushi rolls).  We also made contact with our guides who would take us on our tour of Taroko Gorge tomorrow. Unfortunately, the the weather is quite rainy and we will most certainly be getting damp during the tour.

Once we were able to check into the hotel we let our wet clothes dry for a while and rested.  One thing to note here is that the beds are VERY firm.  As in, more firm then when we were sleeping on futons on the floor.  Zero give in these mattresses ha ha. Luckily, Nick and I are both fine with firm beds but I can imagine most people would have some issues with this.

Later, we decided we better brave the rain (though I didn’t love putting my feet back into my wet shoes) and headed out for dinner at The Moose Bar, run by a very friendly Canadian.  Just a note here – this has been our first fully western meal in about a month. Not because either one of us is bored with Asian food, but because here, in this town, western foods seem to be the most highly rated.  So we thought, why not?

I had a steak sandwich and Nick had a Ruben sandwich with a Caesar salad.  I ended up giving a lot of my meal to Nick.  Western food feels a lot heavier in our stomachs then Asian food.  I am not sure why this is but I found I didn’t need a lot to fill me up.

Nick happily finished off both our plates and then we headed back to the hotel to pack up ready for our Taroko Gorge adventure tomorrow.  The rain will not be very fun but we are hoping we will have a few good pictures for you despite the weather forecast.

Stay tuned!

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