I found Taiwan fascinating. I plan to write long blog posts like the one about Experiencing Zen & others which are a work in progress. As I was going through my photographs, I saw that so many of them are clicked randomly as I was walking/cycling around the cities. And I felt like sharing them. So here are a bunch of these photographs with almost no long write-ups. *ahem* 😉
I have never really taken photography too seriously. In fact I use my mobile phone (One Plus One) to click pics as I travel. And a lot of times I am busy just observing stuff and don’t bother with the camera at all because I feel it takes away from the experience. Lately however I have been appreciating how photography is also an experience in itself.
Green rolling hills, beautiful country views with a Buddhist temple perched austerely on a hilltop. Holistic accommodation, serene vibes, friendly people and easy vegetarian food. This is the image of Taiwan that a Canadian friend of mine had shared with me many years ago. It was the first time I ever really thought of exploring Taiwan! And when the plans to visit this island country happened a few months back, I was totally over excited.
😀 A whole month in Taiwan!
So following my cycling adventure in Australia and tryst with some very cold temperatures, I was really happy to jump fly off to Taiwan which was at pleasant 30C! 🙂
When I landed here however, I had a pretty crazy day, but I kept picking up these amazing small touches in this country that were so thoughtful. I had not seen such thoughtful user design anywhere else in Europe nor Australia. And over time I found myself telling people to visit Taiwan to experience some Zen. And it was completely unexpected.
Here is an attempt at capturing this feeling and sharing it with you,Continue reading
On the road: Just about 4 months
Countries: Australia, India, Taiwan
It is hard to write this 2016 review post because I am in a bit of a daze. Since September to mid-December my life has been on one intensely awesome ride that I find hard to grasp. So much in life has changed in a great way and I feel that if I wrote it down I might lose it. Maybe things will ‘come back to normal’ which is not desired at all. But as with everything the moment even a thread of fear enters my heart, I must face it. So here goes,
Anyway in life I have no interest in wasting time on stuff that is transient. So let me try and articulate about the 3 and half months traveling.
Firstly this was my longest continuous trip so far. This was just my second solo international trip – the first being cycling in Europe. And I was carrying my bicycle from India to everywhere and back. There were two completely new countries – Australia and Taiwan.
Australia culture-wise was fairly normal – western. But the land, the flora & fauna were a new experience. The weather was also a new experience – I have never spent so much time in such cold and that too camping many days. After my trip to Europe it was awesome to find that there was hardly any language barrier. So long conversations with people started happening. Eventually I made some really good friends.Continue reading
Traveling to Aussie land in Spring? You probably need to know more about the Australian Spring weather before planning your itinerary. I was in Australia from 1st September to 15th October, 2016 – a month and half long trip and the idea was to cycle for at least a month. I would be in Melbourne for about 10 days and then take off towards Adelaide. That was the tentative route Melbourne to Adelaide via a more northern route and then come back via the Great Ocean Road. However, I found the weather was just very difficult for me to cope with. And I was not at all prepared for the cold, wet and windy. The Winter in Victoria had been unusually wet and the trend continued into spring. I think in the end it was for the good because I learnt a lot about camping in cold, wet and windy weather. It made me stronger. I also got an idea about Australian weather patterns, so here sharing my thoughts on it, hopefully it may help you plan your Aussie trip better 🙂Continue reading
I went on a cycling trip to Australia in Spring 2016. I was to land in Melbourne and had tentatively thought of doing a Melbourne to Adelaide Cycling circuit. One obvious route between these two cities is the coastal one including the great ocean road. I plotted another more northern route which I thought would give me a taste of the Outback without making it too serious because I was still a newbie in bike touring. Continue reading
Australia is amazing! So much unique flora, fauna, wildlife and also to a certain extent the people culture. The scenic beauty especially the Great Ocean Road (pic above) was so good. And the country/continent is so huge that I have barely explored a bit so there is much room for it to get better. Here is a not-so-quick overview of my time biking Australia,
Cycle distance covered: 300 km
Time spent: 1.5 months (1st Sept – 15th Oct, 2016)
I ended up cycling (& camping) a lot less than I would have wanted and anticipated, I will share the reasons for this in the ensuing post. The upside however was that I ended up staying in AirBnb a lot more. This meant meeting more people, having conversations and making friends. 🙂
(This was my Original Plan)
September is the start of Spring season in Australia, so while I had anticipated colder weeks in the beginning I expected it to get warm by mid Sept when I would start cycling. However, it never really got warm in Victoria. Moreover, it rained like crazy and every week there was severe weather warnings released by the MET department.
In 1 and half month I had only 3 days when temperatures were over 15C. Nights were almost always below 10C and a lot of times as low as 3C. There were chances of it dipping to 0C. Too cold for someone from Mumbai who is used to 28C to 36C temperatures. Along with this it would often be windy and rainy.
So basically cold, wind and wet!
Too much.Continue reading
I had asked a couple of other travellers about vegetarian food in Taiwan and they had said it was available. But I was still sceptical because a lot depends on travel style.
For eg: travellers who may have spent 5 days in Taiwan won’t realize some things which are lacking for people who spend longer here (like me). For eg: vegetarian snacking options. After 15 days here I find a problem of snacking options – I don’t seem to have any filling veggie options and have increased eating chocolate. Either I am drinking packs of rice/soy milk (a lot of that!) Or just munching on chocolate. I am sure there is stuff available but I will have to go on an asking/hunting spree.
When I explored the Taipei Google map the Elephant Hiking Trail seemed on the outskirts of the city. But as I rode towards it I found that it is amidst a whole lot of tourist attractions including the skyrise Taipei 101, city hall and Dr Sun Yet San Memorial.
This hill right by the town is called Elephant mountain due to a protruding section which reminds people of the elephants trunk.
(sorry for the large watermarks. I am writing many of these posts on the road from my mobile, so often don’t realize if the watermark looks too big or if the formatting is off until I sit on a desktop somewhere)
It was really tough to take the decision of turning back. I kept wondering if I was chickening out. But I realized one thing very clearly – I don’t have gear for cold and wet climate. That’s all. That was the main reason I turned back.
To give you a synopsis the weather became really wet. It rained – a lot, and the reservoirs, rivers all across Victoria were flooding or close to flooding. Moreover in Inglewoods I saw a rain shower that lasted only for 15 minutes but it was so hard!! Like some sort of cloudburst. It freaked me & that shower brought water into my tent as well, luckily I pulled out my sleeping gear just in time and rushed into the caravan that the motel owners thankfully gave me for no extra cost. I stayed in the caravan for 2-3 days. Part of those days the roads were closed, and no one could say what would happen as this weather was just very unusual for this region!Continue reading