Taiwan Walk – Day 1 – Hualien To Fengbin Township
Taiwan Walk – Day 1 – Hualien To Fengbin
It was still dark outside when we left Joseph and Wendy’s house early in the morning.
A taxi took us all to buy a takeaway breakfast, on our way to the airport.
I love typical Taiwanese breakfasts, which include many varieties of tasty choices.
Among my favorites is a crispy scallion pancake, served with or without a fried egg, and hot soy milk without sugar.
There are other options which I also love, including a steamed bun filled with bamboo shoots or vegetables, and congee, a salty rice porridge eaten with a variety of pickles, seaweed, peanuts and a salt preserved or century egg.
From the domestic airport, we flew from Taipei to Hualien.
There we took a taxi to a contemporary design mall, with very unique architecture.
Among the buildings in this mall is a cool Starbucks cafe, built from recycled shipping containers.
The day was blustery, with occasional rain and a strong wind.
It was not ideal weather for our first day of walking.
Wendy suggested that since taxis are inexpensive in Taiwan, we can arrange to send our bags to the inn we will be staying at tonight, and walk without our backpacks.
We readily agreed.
Wendy said that she knows we always carry our own backpacks, and that she did not want to offend us by suggesting that we send our backpacks ahead, to the next hotel or guesthouse every day.
Midday, we realized what a good idea she had.
It is not always a possibility on a pilgrimage, but if it is possible to transfer our backpacks every day instead of carrying them all day, we would much prefer to do so.
Wendy said that since we will only be walking a distance of twenty or twenty five kilometers per day, it would cost very little for a taxi, and at times the guesthouse owners would be happy to transfer our bags at no cost.
With no backpacks on our backs, we walked light-footed along the Pacific coastal road.
The coastal road is rocky with undulating hills and with beautiful dramatic views.
The East coast of Taiwan is mostly populated by aboriginal tribes.
There are sixteen different tribes, with the Amis tribe being the biggest of them all.
The aboriginal people do not have the same physical features as the China- born Taiwanese natives.
They look more like the Samoan, Maori and even Eastern Island people.
Their art and crafts also resembles that of Pacific Oceanic people.
The weather improved as we walked south, and the wind and the rain subsided.
We stopped for lunch at a small local seafood restaurant.
They had pictures on the wall of the dishes they offered, making it easy to understand the menu for those who cannot speak or read Chinese.
The aboriginal tribal villages are located between the tall mountains and the ocean.
Their meeting areas are decorated with unique Pacific carvings and paintings, often displaying hunters and fishermen.
We passed by rice fields by the ocean, with a recreation of traditional houses and an art installation made of bamboo and rattan.
We arrived at our accommodation for the night, just before sunset.
Our b&b was truly awesome.
It has only three guest rooms, and it was created by a very creative couple, who designed the place in a modern and elegant way.
The friendly owners spoke perfect English, and they told us that they were both teachers who used to live near Taipei.
They moved here to enjoy a simpler, rural life by the sea, seeking to regain their health and heal the stress out of their souls.
They normally do not offer dinners, but it was New Year’s Eve, and Wendy had planned ahead and suggested that they buy the ingredients for us, and that we all cook and eat together.
We cooked dinner together and ate it seated at their big wooden table.
They put on some CD’s of local musicians, and the music was sweet and soft.
The conversation was friendly and interesting.
We spoke about their journey of buying the land and the difficulties and cost of building in a rural location in the middle of tribal land.
Travelers to Taiwan see the low cost of food and relatively lower cost of accommodation, and might think things are inexpensive in Taiwan.
But it is not so at all.
All imported goods are much more expensive here, with imported cars costing double what they cost in the USA.
This lovely house cost them 1.2 million US Dollars to build.
It is a fabulous house indeed, with expensive design elements, and it sits right in front of the Pacific Ocean, on coastal land that is often battered by typhoons.
The owners told us that during the last typhoon, they suffered no damage at all.
They sat in their glass living room, and looked out over the water.
“I could see many, many dragons forming and dissolving over the horizon,” said Nancy.
I looked around me at the kind faces in the room, and felt an inner warmth.
I was happy to be here, and I felt very content to be walking in Taiwan with our friends.
Wishing you love and light,
Daily Steps: 31,886
Daily Kilometers Walked: 23.5 km.
Active Walking: 5.5 hrs.
Total Walking Time: 6.5
Hualien Boutique Ocean Inn, Fengbin Township.
A beautiful modern guesthouse, with well designed rooms and a guest kitchen. Very comfortable beds, excellent shower, gracious and very friendly hosts/owners.