Danshui Old Town, Temples, Street Market

Trip Start Feb 29, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2012

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Having checked into the hostel I now had some time to check out the old town where I am staying. The metro line terminates at Tamsui but the neighbourhood also called Danshui somewhat confusingly as there are two spellings from the original chinese. 

This was the original colonial settlement founded by the Dutch and the Spanish when they came in the 17th century. There are forts and colonial homes from this period. 

The guy in the hostel had given me a map of the local neighbourhood and explained some of the sights. As it was after 4pm I wanted to try to get to the fort before it closed. The route took me thru the old street which was a narrow street with whizzing motorcycles. 

Then I came to the first temple Tamsui Fuyou. Having just done Vietnam it was somewhat similar but nice nonetheless. Aside from the normal shrine, buddhas, and lit incense there was interesting artwork on the exterior. The doors were painted with artwork and there were painted decorative figures on the roof and exterior of the building. 

I then made it to the fort area but it had already closed. Walking back a different path I traced my way thru the colonial buildings. There was a university, girls school, governers residence, and customs office. I would come back again in the day to explore all this when it was open. 

There was meant to be a second temple behind the first but I didnt want to climb up all the steps. Coming back the long way from the fort I was already up on the hill so managed to curve round to this temple. 

The Tamsui Qingshui Zushi Temple was more larger and elaborate than the first. The entrance was a massive arched doorway with many painted carved figures above. It was now sunset so hard to photograph. 

Inside was a large typical style shrine. However, each side had a small corridor with smaller shrines. The corridor had an arched doorway decorated in elaborate gold leading a few steps down to the altar. There was a pair of these small corridors on either side of the central main temple shrine. 

Coming back out I traced my way off the main street to the traditional market street. This was part traditional market, part fairground. Mixed in with the food vendors, were souvenir shops, and other fairground type shooting games. There were many strange types of fruit I hadnt seen before. 

To my delight they had what looked like mooncake which I hadnt seen since mongolia province in china. The guy spoke english and they had english labels. They had pineapple, bean paste, and other flavours. I chose the pineapple one for 40 TWD ($1.30).  This was a giant round shortbread biscuit with a pineapple filling.   

I then needed real food but something cheap. I noticed in 7-11 they had what looked like korean odeng (fish sticks in broth) which were 10 TWD each (.33 cents), so I had a couple with the broth. Then I was already quite tired from the days journey to taipei so needed to rest for my next full day in taiwan.   

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