My first week in Taiwan brought so many exciting adventures. I celebrated my first weekend here with a trip to 象山 (Xiangshan) with my roommate! This day was the 228 和平紀念日, or Peace Memorial Day, which is a day that holds great significance in Taiwanese history. It is a public holiday, and many people use this day as an opportunity to travel or spend time with family and friends. 象山 was extremely crowded with people of all ages. I took this picture at one of the several observation spots they have on the mountain. The 101 is almost always visible from the trail, so while there were many places for people to take selfies, people often waited in line for the best picture spots.
The first week in Taiwan also means the first week of classes! My roommates Allie and Holly have classes at the same time as me, so we all go to school together. We use the Taipei Metro, a.k.a. the MRT, to go to NTU. Since I love good public transportation, navigating Taipei via train has been really fun. We often run into other students on our way to school, and on this day, we finished our journey with Brandon, another CET student!
All the streets in Taiwan are beautiful, and I especially love the streets near the NTU campus. There are always plants growing everywhere and bikes lined up on the sidewalks. Even in black and white, this picture feels so warm and full of life to me.
Just outside the NTU campus, there is so much to see. With a traditional market, restaurants, food stalls, boba shops, and clothing stores, the 公館 (Gongguan) area has everything you could ever need. There’s even a night market! Many students go there in between classes or after school to grab a bite to eat or watch a movie. I’ve already eaten several times there in just my first week.
Gongguan has more than just stores and food. A few blocks into the area, the streets get greener and less commercial. There are many small parks and gardens to explore here, as well as different art galleries and museums. I snuck this picture of an artist’s backyard, where they had various sculptures and other creations on display.
I spent my first weekend with other CET students on a hike on 草嶺古道 (Caoling Historic Trail) by Taiwan’s east coast! This was my first time out of the city, and I was so excited to see the ocean. It was great to meet new people at this CET-organized event. Our Chinese language classes are relatively small, so it was great to get this chance to meet other students that I usually wouldn’t see.
We split the hike into two parts, and after a few hours, we took a lunch break to prepare for the 2nd half of our hike. Many people used the break to play in the nearby creek, while others lounged on the grass. Everyone was having such a good time we almost didn’t want to leave this area to finish our hike.
We passed through a small section of terraced fields, and it was my first time seeing fields like these! I had no idea how people could make these fields on the mountainside. They seemed as if they were no longer in use, but they added so much dimension to our view.
Landscape of rice paddy fields
After a couple of hours, we finally made it to the oceanside! Everyone was taking pictures of the Pacific Ocean and Turtle Island from our observation deck. Most people were relieved to reach the end of the hike, but there were some to go further. Here are Qi, Allie, Roye, and Tara, who took the opportunity to rest a bit before continuing up the mountain.
This was the view from the opposite side of the observation deck. From here, you can see the way we walked up and the endless mountains in the background. You can almost see Fulong Beach in the far distance! Although it was a tiring journey up, seeing this view made it all worth it. Overall, it was a wonderful trip, and I look forward to what’s in store next weekend!
The top of Fulong hike