Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Taroko Gorge

We traveled from Taipei to Hualien by train. The journey was spectacular with the ocean on one side and cliffs and vistas on the other.
 
We were staying at the Silks Palace in Taroko Gorge and had arranged for them to pick us up at the train station in Hualien. The drive through the gorge to the hotel took our breath away. We just couldn't believe how beautiful the gorge was.

The hotel sat at the confluence of two rivers.
 
In this photo you can see the different colored waters converge.
 
Our room overlooked one of the rivers and the sound of the water lulled us to sleep at night.
 
It was easily the best hotel I'd ever stayed in - it had luxury, service and location...and restaurants were fabulous. The breakfast buffet could take you all day to sample everything. At night you had a choice of a Western buffet - all you could eat provided you had room left over from breakfast - or a ten course Chinese banquet.

There were a selection of hot tubs on the roof that offered a variety of temperatures. From here you could soak in the hot water and soak in the view at the same time.
Across the river from the hotel sat a monastery. 
 
We were able to go explore it on our first afternoon. 
 
We could go into the tower and climb up to the top.
 
The tower gave us great views of the Gorge and the little village beside us - Tienhsiang.
The best ways to enjoy the gorge are hiking and biking. As we passed through the village on our way to our first hike, we were joined by the local friendly dogs. One of them had only three legs, but was keen to come for a walk nevertheless.
 
The other dog liked to run ahead and show us the way. We thought it really cute when he stopped at the trail head to wait for us. Obviously he's done this before, and he knows where the tourists like to go!
I was glad they were with us as we walked in the dark through the first of many tunnels. Tunnels and bridges were the flavor of the week, and you could see why when you looked at how the river had carved up the landscape.
 There were many warnings about the dangers of hiking in this area.
 
 But is was so beautiful we felt it worth the risk.

 Water thundered everywhere.
Even on our heads as we walked through one of the tunnels. As if being in a dark tunnel wasn't scary enough - this one had a water fall in it!
And with a different setting on the camera, you can see the stepping stones alongside the river.

It was particularly sweet that there was a supply of raincoats provided to get us through the tunnel.
The tunnels came in all shapes and sizes. The noise in this one was horrible when a truck or a bus would pass
Some came with reassurances that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel - nice touch!
 
Others were just a hole in the mountainside, and I'd clutch my husband's hand tight as we walked through.
Perhaps being in a tunnel was better than being in a half tunnel - thank goodness for the railings.
This sign was not very comforting!
 
And we soon learned that in Taroko Gorge not all bridges were created equal.
I like this one - nice sturdy concrete. 

But this one I refused to cross - too high, too long, too narrow, too ropee, too swayee...
 and too broken!
After that I needed a nice cuppa by the river.
 Cycling was great - even the up, up, up hill!
 The view at the end was so worth it.
 
Taroko Gorge was probably where the word "gorgeous" comes from. It was simply that gorgeous!
We had a beautiful time in each others company, having adventures and reveling in more of the wonders our planet has to offer us.




 Okay - enough wandering for now...back to the garden next time!

Byddi Lee











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