Taroko - Taiwan - CycleBlaze

January 12, 2020

Taroko

A day of mountains and music

Often described as Taiwan’s most popular tourist attraction, Taroko Gorge is a ‘must see’, but we awoke to rain and a forecast of more rain. Our plan was to either cycle the lower part of the gorge, or somehow get a lift for us and our bikes on a bus to the top, then ride down. However the wet weather didn’t make either of these plans a good option, so we resorted to Plan C.  Caution is the greater part of valour. 

We rode to the bus station/train station, locked our bikes and caught a shuttle bus to the top of the gorge. The coast and lower section of the gorge was very wet, but the higher we went, the drier it was. Perhaps we could have cycled it, and we did see a few riders, including a French fellow who’d ridden his road bike from bottom to top in about three hours. 

The scenery is stunning, and we were very pleased we did the trip up and back, even if we missed out on cycling it.

Later in the day, back in Hualien, we lucked onto an amazing little cafe-bar where we spent most of the evening. The pics below will reveal the attraction of the 1709 Cafe. It is a gem.

We cunningly disguised our bicycles as motor scooters near the station bike park.
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Wheels almost touching the station roof
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Gorge country. Massive cliffs.
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Marble and limestone
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The road edge is never far from a steep drop
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At the top. A Buddhist temple.
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View from the temple
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Joe on the bridge too far
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Temple entrance
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Inside the stupa
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From the stupa
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Newly built temple
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It’s not often you see a Buddhist nun hurtling around on a forklift. She was transporting supplies from a cable car to the temple.
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The 1709 cafe bar. Simple, cosy and welcoming. It is staffed and run by Aboriginal Taiwanese musicians.
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More of the cafe decorations. A few familiar flags.
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Wall mural in the cafe
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One minute she was serving beers and ice cream waffles. The next she is playing amazing guitar music and singing as good as a professional concert performer.
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One of the three staff who played and sang, as well as served food and beer
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The food!
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Another of the staff. He had an extraordinary vocal range.
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Today's ride: 5 km (3 miles)
Total: 508 km (315 miles)

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