Friday, March 10th
Let’s just start this way.
Thursday night was a bit of a blur, but we made it to the hotel and checked in to an impressively tiny room (the theme of hotels in Taiwan). The next day was the start of Explore Taipei! We began by taking a train and bus up to the National Palace Museum. This is a collection of art and artifacts, mostly from mainland China. There’s this odd situation where, because one government ran to Taiwan in 1949 and took a bunch of artifacts with them, you can see a fascinating collection of Chinese history on an island that has only been a part of China (on and off) since the 1700’s.
The politics are complicated, the art is great.
Just down the road is the Chiang Kai-Shek Shilin Residence, which has lovely gardens. Chiang Kai-Shek was the leader of the Nationalist government that was defeated by Mao Zedong and retreated to take over Taiwan.
It was raining a bit so hard to get many photos, except of the cheerful topiary gardens.
That evening we wandered the streets of Shilin trying to find something we could eat (we’re both vegetarians, which is the first challenge, and Christy is allergic to a high percentage of food so this is always a bit of a process). Then it was off to the Shilin Night Market! The night markets in Taipei are collections of vendors who setup tents and sell everything from clothing to street food but only at night for some reason.
Day one in Taiwan: fantastic!