Caoling Historical Trail in Taiwan
There is so much to do around Taipei which means that we’ll have a very VERY busy schedule during our stay here in Taiwan. Let’s just hope that my feet will cooperate with all the walking but it would be a pity to sit at home and relax.
This is how my boyfriend and I usually function: he finds a place and works out the itinerary (he is a GPS on legs, a mastermind for maps) and I just follow him around with my Sony Alpha 500 camera. Then when we get back home (wherever that is, remember – we are digital nomads), he sits down and has a nice rest while I deal with a huge amount of photos. And when I say huge, I mean it!
I must tell you that it was super hard to get up this morning. We had already walked a lot over the last few days and I knew that my feet would be needed for another long hike. OK, not THAT long, about 10km but still… On a bright note, the temperature has gone done, which means that we can breathe again. It’s about 25°C but it’s still very humid. We just sweat and sweat and I’d probably be unapproachable if I didn’t use sodium bicarbonate (FYI an amazing anti-odour product).
It took me a while to get ready and my punishment was that we didn’t have time for coffee. We managed to work out how to buy the train tickets and how to validate them too (shouldn’t we be proud of ourselves!!!) and one hour after we had got up, we were comfortably seated and enjoying our first ride on a Taiwanese train. I spent most of the journey sleeping on my boyfriend’s shoulder and I probably missed some extraordinary views. That’s because of an invisible button at the back of my head which means that as soon as I lean my head back against something, I immediately doze off.
An hour or so later, I was woken up by a Taiwanese woman saying: “Turtle Island, Turtle Island”. People here are incredibly kind. They will always try to tell you where to go or what to see. It’s not always easy to understand them but they will insist until you get their point. And they are right! That’s how we should all treat foreigners in our own country.
Now, the Turtle Island is a protected island and its name stems from its shape. We are planning to visit it too but we read that the visits are very restricted.
And so we got off the train, spent some time observing the Pacific Ocean and the Turtle Island (of course) and were eager to start our hike (here I’m talking about my curiosity and not my feet). This time, Mr Map-reader (i.e. my boyfriend) took me to Dali (yes, just like the Spanish painter).
He decided to bring me here because of the Caoling Historical Trail, the only remaining portion of the Qing Dynasty road that once connected Danshui to Yilan.
We walked along the road for about 5 minutes when we saw a stunning temple on our left. The start of the hike is on the temple property which was a perfect excuse to visit this magnificent temple.
(In this photo you can see the famous Turtle Island in the background)
The beginning of the pathway was a mix of stairs and road for about 15 minutes but that went quite quickly. The perfect way to check our progress was to look for the Turtle Island on the horizon.
I was already covered in sweat when we reached “the entrance” of Caoling Historical Trail. After reading the panel about the dangers along the path, we were more than eager to discover what lies ahead.
At that moment, it started to rain; first a little and then a lot. But somehow, we were not bothered by the rain. Either because it was not cold or because we were totally impressed by the surroundings; many different types of trees, plants, birds, insects… I took a lot of photos and I nearly killed myself on the slippery stones trying to eternalize one of these stunning creatures. However, I’ll write a separate post about the animals so you’ll have to wait a tad longer to see them.
Towards the end of our hike, there was another interesting temple…
And this villa…
And don’t think that we were alone on the trail! There were many other people. We were all soaked (a mixture of sweat+rain) while they had they pretty umbrellas (they have the most amazing umbrellas in this country) and proper rain jackets. There were only Taiwanese people though. One girl was so amazed to see us (messy looking Europeans) that she even took a photo of us.
Anyway, my feet were ecstatic to arrive in Fulong, which marked the end of our excursion. We wanted to go to the beach but were stopped by a police officer. He showed us a plasticised paper which stated that you could not access the beach. What happened was that the bridge leading to the beach kind of collapsed during the passage of the recent typhoon so you can not get to the beach.
And that’s basically it. We took a train, had a little nap (again!) and were back to Taipei. How did you like our adventure?