Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Danshuei 淡水

This weekend was our friend Eric's birthday, so a small group of us got together to celebrate!
And just how to do you celebrate a birthday in Taiwan, you ask... at the KTV, of course! 
Any time we hang out with Eric we are guaranteed to have a good time, especially when there is dancing involved... he's awesome! Check out his dance to Britney Spears' Oops I Did It Again!

After a couple hours of singing and games

we turned in for somewhat of an early night, to store up our energy for Saturday. Eric spent the night in our spare bed room and then we all went up to Taipei early Saturday morning to spend a jam-packed day together.

Our first stop in Taipei (after lunch) was at the National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院). Although the museum is in Taipei, they managed to build it in an area that is completely surrounded by lush green mountains. The scenery was beautiful, the air (seemed) clean, and the sky was BLUE! It was a gorgeous day.

Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take any pictures inside of the museum, but it was definitely neat. They actually have artifacts from China dating back to 8,000 years ago!!! 

I have to admit, I felt a bit rushed through the museum (we had a full day planned) so I would definitely like to go back again another day, just the two of us, to spend more time reading about the history and checking everything out. 

After the museum, it was off to Danshuei 淡水 to see the sunset. The Danshuei River runs through northern Taiwan and feeds into the Taiwan Strait about a 45 minute MRT ride from Taipei.

Like any tourist attraction in Taiwan, the board-walk area was crowded and full of street vendors. Even so, it is a really nice little area. It was so nice to be out of the city and actually near the ocean that neither one of us actually minded the crowds.

By the time we arrived in Danshuei, the sunset was already drawing near, so we headed to the Pier to buy a ticket for a sunset boat ride.

Unfortunately, our timing was a little off. So, we ended up (not) watching the sunset from a long line on boardwalk (with a completely obstructed view of the sunset) instead of out on the water!

Fortunately, our friends were gracious enough to hold our place in line so we could get a view of the sunset. 

I must say, it was refreshing to see the sun actually set for the first time in months.

Just as the sun set, we boarded our boat to Fisherman's Wharf (淡水漁人碼頭).

Fisherman's Wharf was much less crowded and had a really nice feel to it. There really wasn't much to do there except walk around and take in the view, but it was really enjoyable. The restaurant right on the pier had a great female singer who that added to the whole atmosphere... it was very relaxing.

The main attraction of Danshuei's Fisherman's Wharf is a little bridge that reminded me of Boston's Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge

(picture from here)

but a bit smaller....

From the bridge, we had a great view of the pier, the ocean, and the sky

For the casual tourist in Taiwan, I don't know if I would label Danshuei as a must-see attraction... it's a pretty typical wharf-area you can find pretty much anywhere, but for someone living in Taiwan, it's a great way to "get out of the city" without actually leaving the city.

Both at the museum and at the wharf, there were large crowds to navigate, but we did go out on a Saturday, so this is inevitable. Fortunately, it wasn't so much that it stopped us from enjoying the day. 

It's pretty rare for us to see a blue sky here and even rarer still to catch a view of the sunset, and spending the time with good friends made it even better!

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