When the weather report in Taipei says that there will be no rain, you learn to take advantage. This time of year (ok, any time of year really) there is a chance that you will have rain for days on end. Last Monday was one of those days for us.
Chad had the fabulous idea to take the trip to Tamsui (formerly known as Danshui) on what turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures of about 88º F and low humidity. It was perfect!
Chad, Zoë, and I hopped on the metro and within 45 minutes we alighted in Tamsui. This lovely town is easily reached by taking the red metro line to the Tamsui stop (it’s the terminal stop in that direction).
Tamsui has a diverse and interesting history which includes being controlled by the Portuguese, Dutch, and the French in the 17th and 18th centuries. You can see remnants of the different cultures in the architecture of many of the buildings.
We walked out of the metro station and took an immediate left into the tourist area of the town. The roads and alleys in that area are all one outdoor market lined with street food, carnival type game booths, little shops with souvenirs and novelties, and tea stands. We walked into one of the alleys and immediately noticed that one of the children’s clothing stands looked as though they rented out strollers that looked like the Little Tykes car. We decided to rent Z one, what a great way to entertain a two year old while walking around! Not only did Z love love love it, but it only cost 100NTD (under $4 US) for the WHOLE DAY!!! Back home you can’t even rent a stroller at the mall for less than $5 US. The whole afternoon and evening, Z “drove” her car and was actually happy to be contained.
We walked and Zoë drove down the walking path down the river and came upon the ferry that has routes to Tamsui Fishermans Wharf and Bali. We decided to take it to the fishermans wharf instead of walking (walking takes about 45 minutes). The ferry is a large speed boat, costs 75 NTD a person to get to the wharf (15 NTD for Zoë, but only on the way back for some reason), and we were able to take Zz’s car with us.
We arrived at the dock near a fantastic looking walking bridge called the “Lovers Bridge.” There were a couple of restaurants with outdoor seating along the pier and then we came upon a strange looking arcade called “Bubble Sea World”. We decided to stop so
Chad and I could play some games Z could try out some of the arcade games. She ran around for a bit and when we made to leave the teenage guy working there gave Zoë a little 2013 planner book. She was so excited and got right in her car to read it while she drove. We are training her to be a safe driver already.
We made our way over the Lovers bridge and walked through a little building that had kiosks selling dried fruit, iron eggs, and other Taiwanese fare. There is a large park on that side of the bridge, but we didn’t see a playground so decided to just head back to the ferry and go get some dinner.
We took the ferry back and walked around the market running through all the alleys in the area. We decided to eat at a chain restaurant called “Easy House” because Zoë wanted french fries. After her being sick and having the seizure, and because she was being so good driving her car around that whole day, we were admittedly spoiling her a
lot little bit.
Easy House has numerous locations through Taipei. As we went to order from their diverse menu, we realized that they are a vegetarian restaurant. I love that Taiwan has so many options for vegetarians. I myself am not one, but I usually go without meat in my meals and enjoy the creativity that goes into vegetarian/vegan food. Chad and I ordered a fried sampler platter (obviously we were spoiling ourselves too) and an amazing veggie burger. The EZ Burger was not just a normal veggie burger, it was a soft fresh bun stacked with two fried eggs, two burgers, two different types of lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and a sauce that was downright delicious. The thing must have been 8 inches tall! Chad and I split it and we all left feeling full and satisfied.
After dinner, Zz hopped back into her car and we made our way back to the metro station. We took our time and enjoyed the fact that we were finally at a market at night. We stopped along the way and Chad won Z a toy shooting balloons. We went and bought some souvenirs for friends back home. It is hard to describe the fun and free feeling of walking down an alley lit by neon and fluorescent lights, past all the people selling their wares, and their voices yelling at you to come see what they have for you in Mandarin. It is almost overwhelming all that you can see, eat, drink, and buy. At night it just feels amplified and surreal.
We returned the car stroller with just a little fuss from Z and hopped back on the metro to go home.
Spending the day in Tamsui made us feel like we were traveling again. Being in Taipei so far has been like being back home for us, so doing something like taking an afternoon to see the sights reminded us what we are doing and why we are doing it. We are on an amazing journey to see the world. I am excited for all the travels to come and being able to share them with you.