Taiwan and Japan - Day 7

Spirited Away with the Maos!

Today was our last day adventuring in Taipei and we had another day trip planned. Our driver for today was Peter Wang and he met us down stairs at 9am. We all excitedly jumped into the car as we had many places to visit. We were heading put towards the East Coast today. The views again were spectacular and before we knew it we had arrived at our first destination. The Shifen waterfall is the broadest waterfall in Taiwan and we were excited to see it. To get to the waterfall it was a short walk from the car park. We crossed a huge suspension bridge and walked through the small village to the waterfall. The waterfall was magnificent; it had been raining so it was flowing very quickly. We took some photos and then a lady cam and asked us in English if she could get a photo with all of us. I really think Taiwan does not get many westerners as we have been stared at multiple times and a few people have been brave enough to ask for photos. The lady also gave Anthony her business card, it was very odd.

We did some souvenir shopping before heading up to the car. Our next stop was to be Shifen Old Street. Peter was amazing and walked us right down to the shops and helped us order a sky lantern. After a bit of thought we ordered a 4 colour one with the colours that represented Happiness, Promotion, Health and Wealth. We all painted on each of the sides and made our mark and then it was time to send our good thoughts and wishes into the sky. We took the lantern onto the train tracks in the middle of the street and the guy lit it up. A few photos were taken then magically we were able to let the lantern go flying into the sky. It was pretty cool seeing the lanterns fly off into the sky and our wishes with it. Peter then gave us some time to explore the street and suggested we go to the end and buy the chicken and rice.

The street was filled with souvenirs, nougat and lots of food. I bought a beautiful glass lantern and we all got some nougat. We made our way slowly down to the end of the street and found the chicken vendor. The food was amazing it was a BBQ chicken filled with flavoured rice and slowly cooked. I think it is probably the best food we ate on this trip. We ate it and headed back to the car taking more pictures of the used train tracks that run right through the centre of the town.

Back in the car we started driving to Juifen, this is where the inspiration for the movie Spirited away came from. When we started driving up the mountain the clouds and rain had settled in for the day. It was seriously like driving up into the clouds. We could not see the view from the top of the mountain so we continued to the Golden Waterfall. The golden waterfall is multi tiered waterfall that is golden in colour. Juifen used to be a mining town so the reason the rocks and water are gold is because of the left over minerals in the soil from the mining days. It was pouring at the time so we did take a few pictures and quickly jumped back into the car.We made it to Juifen and from the top all we could see was clouds. We could barely see in front of us it was very cool. We stupidly decided we didn’t need umbrellas because the rain had stopped and quickly realized our mistake when halfway down the street the heavens opened up. We decided to duck into a dumpling shop to wait out the rain. We had issues with the owners speaking no English and though we had ordered 6 cups of tea but it turns out we ordered 6 pots. We laughed it off as its part of travelling and drank out way through all 6 pots. I had 5 cups of tea. The rain had eased a bit when we came out. And we used the new umbrellas we had got. We walked quickly through Juifen Old Street and bought the best thing ever soot and no face (from spirited away). Back in the car we headed to our last stop Hutoung Cat village.

Rob was so excited for this stop and it did not disappoint. The whole cat village is huge and the cats have free range in a beautiful environment. There are so many places for them to hide and scratch and get food. The cats were so friendly and followed us around. One climbed into Steve’s lap and decided to sleep there. We spent a lot of time patting and looking at the cats, they were so cute. After 2 hours we dragged Rob back into the car and made a decision to return to the hotel.

The group decided that after a rest we would head out for dinner and finally we got to go to Modern Toilet restaurant. It is a restaurant that is themed after….. You guessed it toilets. Let’s just say it was so funny and many a toilet pun was made. We explored Ximen for the last time and headed home to pack.