day #14: hualien, taroko gorge.

we traveled by slow train from taipei to hualien.  the train ride along the east coast of taiwan was gorgeous.  it is a perfect mix of mountains and beaches.

when we got to hualien, we got on a tour bus and headed for taroko gorge.  it was more incredible than i ever imagined.  at the visitors center, and aboriginal taiwanese man tried to teach me how to play one of their cool instruments.  {if you want to hear this instrument, it is in a youtube video here. fast forward to about 2min 30seconds.}

we headed off to explore the gorge....

ran into a few creepy crawlers....


isn't this place so beautiful?

this aboriginal woman sits and weaves cloth all day.  she had amazing talent.  her shop had so many beautiful items.  i may have bought a few things for gifts....

we had to wear helmets and beware of "falling rocks"


one components of our hike was a trek up a thousand stairs to get to a buddhist monastery.  it isn't hollywood making all those stairs up to the top in karate-kid.  there really were a ton, and they were very steep.

then we saw the eternal spring shrine, which is kind of the picture of taroko gorge.  it's a waterfall and temple literally in the mountainside.

we finished off the day's adventures with a surprise stop at hualien beach!  the sand is actually black rocks, not sand - most of the rocks were at least the size of a black bean.  it was stormy and lovely.  

our nighttime activity included the jade/coral market {i bought presents!} and a aborginal song/dance performance.

{p.s.  this is the view from outside of our hotel in hualien.  a little bit quieter than tainan, don't you think?}

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