Sunday, April 1, 2012

Riding High on the Maokong Gondola

by Pa Rock
Our new friends, Jasmin and Patrick
World Traveler

The second half of our first full day in Taiwan involved a ride on the Maokong Gondola which travels across several mountain peaks and numerous valleys (2.7 miles) from the Taipei Zoo to a touristy mountain enclave called Maokong.  The ride involves four stops, and the next to the last was a the Zhinan Temple.  We got off to walk the temple grounds on our ride back toward the zoo.

In the gondola, me, Murphy, Valerie, and Patrick
When we were trying to figure out how to purchase our tickets to ride the gondola, we met a local tour guide who was there with a young man from Ireland.  The guide was Jasmin (a.k.a. Ya-Fen Chen), who lives on Taiwan, but met her friend Patrick Needham, who is from Ireland, while she was in Ireland going to school.  We shared a gondola car with them across some of the most beautiful wooded scenery in Taiwan.

Our our way to Maokong we passed above tea plantations.  Once at our destination we walked through a beautiful apricot orchard that was in full bloom - and then went to a local tea house where Jasmin ordered for us and then prepared our tea and served it.  There were also some wonderful local munchies involved in the tea break.

Riding high above a tea plantation
One of the local delicacies that we experienced in Maokong was tea eggs.  More on those later.

Enjoy the ride into the mountains!

Me, Valerie, Murphy, and Patrick in the apricot orchard.
It was a cold and dreary day.
Lovely Jasmin and lovely apricot blossoms
Jasmin preparing our tea
Valerie is missing, so she must be behind the camera!
Some foliage on the mountain

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