Taipei - The Mega City
Taipei, Taiwan a completely different culture, food and first of all language. Not many people speak English. That's challenging! Anyhow, we already experienced several kind residents trying to help us. The food is delicious and cheap, but you can't compare it to Asian food in Europe. Yesterday, we had a first look at the city and bought a special ticket for the metro for the day after. We like to have a closer look at different temples, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, and our highlight might be the walk to the top of Elephant Mountain. From here you get a spectacular view of Taipei City and the world trade center 101. Yesterday, we wanted to take the elevator to the top but more than one hour waiting for the elevator to get up and again for getting down and hundreds of people queuing there, too much for us. So, we figured out this hill, more our way of traveling.
Luckily, the weather is not that bad as forecasted. It's often cloudy, rainy in the north. The west and south have much better weather and higher temps. The humidity is heavy, and we are freezing although we have 20 degrees. Not only me also Markus is freezing, and we are wearing long trousers and a fleece pullover.
It was a good decision to spent 4 nights in the apartment in New Taipei just to adapt to the climate, culture, and behaviors. The residents are super friendly and attentive. We become curious to explore Taiwan by rental car. It’s not usual to do this. Most people travel by bus or train. You won’t believe there are only three parking spaces for rental cars at the airport. We got the impression we were the only ones.
Luckily, I didn't book anything in advance. Here are tones of campgrounds, and lots of affordable rooms are offered on Airbnb. Now, we plan the next 12 days where we might like to stay and camp. We are driving from Taipei to the west then to the south, and as deeper, we get the weather always improves.
What we absolutely love is the high-speed internet everywhere. We bought unlimited data at the airport for roughly 17 Euros for two weeks. Anyhow, there is WIFI for free on the trains and metro. You even can recharge your mobile.
In our opinion, the traffic lights for pedestrians are quite funny. You get shown the seconds for the red and green period. When it turns to green the figure is walking, but at the last third or so it starts running ;)
Weekends here in Taipei are super busy. We got the feeling that all families go outdoors or shop or whatever. From Friday evening on it is more difficult to figure out where to stay and what to do. The reason that we plan our highlights for the week after. We hope the weather in the east will improve for Hehuanshan and Taroko Gorge.