The last semester has been a busy, stressful blur. Now that I am finally on winter break, I can take the time to think back fondly to that satisfying, warm summer. This is part one of two photo posts about my summer, 2013.
Jiufen (九份) is a small town on a mountainside just an hour north of Taipei. With its gorgeous winding streets, stone pavement, delicacies, and local cultural snippets, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. I was ecstatic about the chance for a quick weekend elopement to Jiufen.
After we dropped off our luggage at the guest house, we surveyed the town and sampled all its delicacies, architecture, history, cultural goods, and hospitality.
Taro balls are a famous Taiwanese dessert, and Jiufen taro balls are especially delectable.
The town is characterized by a labyrinth of narrow alleys, Escher stairs, and retro-styled shops and kiosks of sorts. I loved the atmosphere and the look of it all.
Apparently, so did Hayao Miyazaki, who drew inspirations from the tea house for his spa house in Spirited Away. We would return again at night time.
Having explored the town, stuffed our stomachs, and climbed all the stairs through the day, we returned to our lovely, Japanese styled room. It is a very simple, roomy space with a particularly fancy bath, thick futons, and soft tatami. I love tatami.
After a bath and short nap, we took another walk around Jiufen—this time focusing on the edges and outskirts. It was sunset by then.
We came back around to A Mei Tea House, and what a stunning sight it was. The luxurious red lanterns and brown wood contrasted with the stark night, the scenery is breathtaking.
Unfortunately, the tea is a bit bland and far overpriced, but the scenery and the atmosphere is worth it.
After a late night stroll, we returned to our place in Jiufen. This is a view of the kitchen from the lobby of our guest house. Our room is on the second floor overlooking the bay.
Breakfast was served at nine: fish, rice, miso soup, lychee, tofu, and tamagoyaki. The owner of the guest house was a Japanese chef, who had ran a noodle shop back in the days.
One of the reasons we chose this particular guest house was that it housed a collection of kimono, and the lady of the house will help dress you. Of course, before we left, we had to play a little dress up!
The final stop on our short weekend trip was to the nearby small town, Pinxi, which is just a few short train stops away. This small place has an even more quaint feel to it, and much quieter.
Pinxi is known for its sky lanterns. On the sky lanterns people write their wishes, and set them to the skies. This is our sky lantern. We would later go on the train tracks, set a fire under it, and watch it fly into the night sky.
May we all have a lovely, safe new year!