Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Visit to Taoyuan

As you all probably know, my good friends and sometime traveling companions Stephanie and Colleen have both move to Taiwan this year to teach English with another program. Their schools are located in Taoyuan (just to the west of Taipei). I've gotten to hang out with Stephanie a few times since I've arrived but I hadn't seen Colleen yet. So, since Taoyuan is just a hop, skip, and a jump away (or a subway ride, failed bus ride, and a taxi cab away) from Taipei, I decided to crash at their apartment for the remainder of the long weekend.

After a quick, Taiwanese style breakfast:
we hopped on a train to Yingge, a little town right next door to Taoyuan known for it's ceramics. Unfortunately, we hopped the wrong train so we ended up taking a detour to the suburbs of Taipei before we could turn around and head back to our actual destination. But hey, we all decided that that's just part of the fun of traveling.

When we finally got there, we hiked down to the Yingge Ceramics Museum. It was a pretty exciting place because, not only did it have some beautiful art (and, okay, a whole display about toilets and other "functional" ceramics) but it was also free! Here are a few of the highlights:
Colleen celebrating the year of the rabbit
An elephant and some bats. That's just how he rolls.
Stephanie with a piece from the "Franz collection" (I kid you not,
that's what it was called)
Part of their exhibit about functional ceramics. Notice both are shaped
life frogs' heads.

Ceramic baozi! Awesome :)
After the museum, we headed across the river to visit the old street area in Sanxia for lunch. Stephanie and I split a papaya milk smoothie, an avocado milk smoothie, and two cow horn croissants (they're the big thing in Sanxia).

Making the avocado milk. As you can see, there is literally
a whole avocado in it. Sounds weird, tastes amazing.
Avocado and papaya! So good!
Dancing Viking Santa outside of a cow horn croissant place.
Yummy lunch!
After that, we wandered around the old part of the city and took in the sights.
A phoenix pillar at Zushi Temple
The shops on old street
My personal favorite sight of the day: a guy riding his bike
with his cat standing on the back. Also, the cat was in a top hat.
Honestly, I can't even make this stuff up. 
Then we headed back to Taoyuan for the night and Stephanie and I made our famous mushroom-lentil burgers! Despite the fact that our bread was a little bit sweet (as all Taiwanese bread tends to be), it was like a little cheesy, guacamole covered piece of home.
A perfect ending to the day!

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