“I don’t want to go back. I want to stay here. Just for one more day.”
Those lines were on repeat in various orders in my head on the last day of our trip. I felt like I could explore the nooks and crannies of the city for weeks on end without getting bored. Plus the winter is “warm” by my Aussie blood standards.
We got a late start and check out wasn’t until midday, so I went for a walk around the block to see what I could catch for breakfast. After being a masochist and staring at the bread in another local bakery, I stumbled across a nameless fruit shop that had exactly what I was looking for – cuts of the fresh stuff. I got a container that included dragon fruit, papaya and some lovely, thickly cut kiwi fruit. After securing some egg roll from FamilyMart, I went back to the hotel and nommed it all while Theo went out for MOS and an egg tart from a shop he wanted to try. Note to future egg tart sellers – puff pastry is better. Sweet crust? No, just no.
Our last sightseeing hurrah was Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, which was not far from our hotel. In terms of comparison to Sun Yat Sen, this memorial was bigger (it has dedicated classroom facilities and a museum) and the statue of Chiang himself was less severe. While Dr Sun looked like the scary school principal, Chiang looked like a friendly Chinese granddad who would be happy to read to one of his grandchildren sitting on his knee.
The building housing Chiang was almost temple-like looking down across a pavilion, flanked by gardens and a theatre either side. I would have loved a photo, but much to our horror, Disney’s FROZEN had set up some sort of event tent smack bang in the middle of the promenade. Why, Taipei City, why?
After saying goodbye to Mr. Chiang, Theo and I made our way towards Da’an Park, where we stopped into 8% ice for lunch. Minimum spend per person was NTD $300, which was annoying but manageable. I ordered pumpkin ginger soup and mushroom fruit salad (shared) while Theo went for the Fisherman’s Soup, an Americano (thick, he said while drinking it) and a few bread rolls for us to split. I couldn’t get good shots of the food because of the light, but the salad was amazing, a perfect combination of sweet and savoury. Who new cinnamon apples and sautéed mushrooms (amongst other things) could work so well? The soup was thick and comforting on the grey day we were having and the bread was nice and warm. There was also the smell of pasta. All. The Time. Let me into that kitchen just so I can go head first into that meat sauce, please! The ambience was rather nice, and the wait staff were attentive. 8% has three floors, and we managed to get a seat on the third, more quiet level compared to the busier downstairs.
Taipei 101 called us once more for some afternoon tea (PAUL Boulangerie macaroons for me and a berry tart for Theo) where the Burberry Christmas tree had a piano man playing in front of it, banging out classics like “Rudolph”, “White Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming”. Christmas Day had turned into Christmas Week, but I wasn’t complaining.
And finally, with heavy hearts and weary legs, we went back the way we came to go home via Taoyuan Airport. Taipei was full of amazing experiences for me, and I’ll be coming back for sure. I don’t know when I will return, but hopefully it won’t be too long. I know where I want to visit, re-visit, take more shots, and where to get some good dumplings. Dumplings are important.
Until next time, Taipei.