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Trip Start Aug 12, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Stone House

Flag of Taiwan  ,
Monday, June 6, 2011

Many years ago, there was an advert in Britain saying "This is the age of the train!" This is certainly true in Taiwan where the High Speed Rail system careers through the country at 300 kmph. The Taiwanese have essentially copied the Japanese bullet train system and it's cheap, efficient and oh so fast! Fortunately we have a station ten minutes from our house so this was the starting point for our Dragon Boat holiday weekend trip to Hualien. 

The east coast of Taiwan is all about nature and we were searching for dolphins and whales. We set out to sea and while the whales remained elusive, we saw so many dolphins leaping around that it was truly amazing! 

With all sorts of tempting snacks and drinks on offer, we managed to pull ourselves away from the steaming dumpling stands and head for a most unusual beach. This is a stony beach with a difference as many of the stones are semi-precious. Typhoons wash them out of the surrounding gorge and rough seas churn many stones up onto the beaches of the east coast. So we went hunting and sure enough found some gorgeous specimens. 

The following day we were up at the crack of dawn for a day of trekking in the Taroko Gorge National Park. Spectacular ravines and mountain ranges make this the finest national park in Taiwan and it is incredibly beautiful. We followed numerous trails and it was utter bliss. Until Tania sharply recoiled, we were about to tread on a deadly Pit Viper that just happened to be slithering across our path. One more step and ......!

We loved Hualien, the friendly locals, the great atmosphere and all of its natural surrounding beauty and we were sad to leave after a fabulous Dragon Boat Festival weekend. We didn't actually see any dragon boats, but we did eat plenty of Zong Zi, a wonderful sticky rice dumpling stuffed with all kinds of goodies that is traditionally served over this weekend. 

And we can confirm that while it may not be in Britain, here in Taiwan, this is very much the age of the train!

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