Day three started out with my friend in Taiwan meeting us at the hotel. She took a day off work to show us around Taipei and also to take us to Jiufen. I hadn’t seen my friend in many years and she made the trip much funner.
Jiufen is located in the mountains about an hour’s ride from Taipei. From our hotel it took two trains and a bus to get to Jiufen and about $5 or so in cost. The fact that it is a combination of temples and small shops in the mountains makes it a great place to go, but the biggest reason it is such a tourist attraction is because of the movie “Spirited Away”. Hayao Miyazaki used one of the buildings in Jiufen as inspiration for the buildings in his movie “Spirited Away”.
After we got off the bus, we headed down the small pathway lined on each side by a shops. A lot of the shops were food shops and so there was a large array of smells. The only one I had a problem with was the stinky tofu. When I say stinky, I mean hold my breath and walk faster! My friend kept teasing me to eat it, but since she wouldn’t eat it herself I never really felt that much pressure.
We also came across a cool little museum where you could see some older Taiwanese stuff and try on some Taiwanese costumes. It was more of a house than a museum, but it was a lot of fun.
After walking through the shops for a while we got a little worn out and decided to get some lunch. We found a cafe that overlooked the canyon and had a delicious lunch. Mine consisted of various sandwiches topped with a sweet mustard and cocoa with oats. We enjoyed the air conditioning for a little while longer and then took a different path to go see the “Spirited Away” building.
At first glance I wasn’t really that impressed. I was expecting more of a city than I was a single building. Once we finally got some distance, and could see the entire building, it was very beautiful. I wouldn’t say it’s worth going to see just the building, but the entire experience was great.
We walked up and down the trails and through the shops quite a few times and were all pretty tired. We got on the next bus back to Taipei so we could go to the large clothes shopping area.
I’m not sure about the name of this place, but it’s basically where a lot of stores come to get their clothes. Because of this you can find some pretty good deals. It was mostly women’s clothing, which made it very fun for the girls and extremely boring for me. After what seemed like an eternity at the market, we headed to dinner.
The restaurant we went to was called Umeko and was a traditional Taiwanese cuisine restaurant. A lot of it was pretty similar to Japanese food and was really good. There were only a few things that I didn’t really care for.
After dinner we said our goodbyes to our friend and headed back to our hotel by taxi. Tomorrow would be our last day in Taipei and I was already starting to miss it.