Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day Cycling in Meinong 美濃

My partner and I are not your usual present-giving types. For birthdays we have taken each other to Normandy, France, and to a Broadway production in New York City. Christmas' have been spent in Casablanca, Morocco as well as in scenic and snowy Collingwood, Canada. This year, due to a mildly confusing rule at the semi-International School where we work and only Chinese holidays are observed, Christmas this year would inevitably be spent in Taiwan.

We attended a 'Croissant, Champagne and Coffee Christmas Brekky' organised by an Aussie family from work. After, we decided to do something a little more unusual and headed 45 minutes north east of Kaohsiung for some cycling around the fields of Meinong.

The drive was pleasant along the quick paced highway. Following the signs for 'Meinong' there was no chance of us getting lost. Once closer, we then looked for signs directing us to the Hakka Museum. The Hakka are a Chinese minority who migrated to Taiwan in the 12th century.

We rented bicycles for a steal at 100NT each in the building next to the museum. Then it was up to us to ride our single speed bikes through the various fields of tea, tobacco, bananas, cabbages and other numerous green vegetables.

Bike Rental 

We took a map from the bicycle rental store, which although in Chinese, gave us a little piece of mind that we could find our way back if need be. There are various bike routes in Meinong, but we decided to venture on our own. We came across the Green line and Red line. Faded painted colored lines can be found on the road, along with interspersed signs containing maps.

One of the Bike Route signs

We found the maps a little difficult to read, but followed some of the lines regardless to see where we would end up. The Green path led us to a large temple. The Red path led us to an Arboretum where we decided to eat our Christmas picnic lunch of tomato and cheese crackers, fruit salad, juice and chocolates.

We stumbled across this Temple on our ride

A sign in the arboretum

Heading back to the rental shop, we saw some familiar sights so we knew we were on the right track. The lush scenery, endless working fields, sleepy towns and friendly faces make us want to return. Although we don't need an excuse to return, I want to see some of the Oil Paper Parasol workshops for which Meinong is famous for. I am looking forward to our next visit.

We stopped for some water at a small shop

Meinong can be found here,

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