We took a bus Friday night after work and arrived in 新竹市 Hsinchu late, around 10pm. It was a late night for all, the kids were excited, the moms were tired. My friend Grace's new apartment was fabulous in a block full of newly built apartments (all sold out) across from Costco and down the street from the famous Science Park. Hsinchu is Taiwan's Chicago (the Windy City 風城) and their Science Park (新竹科學工業園區) is Taiwan's "Silicon Valley," all engineers, factories, people who are movin' on up. The city also has 2 of the top 5 Universities right next to each other. Its a city full of highly educated people and the place is seems to buzz at a much faster pace than mellow Tainan. It just looked like any other Taiwanese city, but I didn't get any feeling that it was artsy like Taichung or Taipei. It did seem like there were lots of expats and not the English teaching, partying kind. I really didn't spend enough time there to form more than this superficial impression.
The next day, early Saturday Grace made a quick and hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast and then we were off on our road trip adventure. She took us to Neiwan 內灣 about 30 minutes east, outside Hsinchu City. First stop 7-11 for an ATM machine, some drinks and then we crossed the street to our first of two suspension bridges.There were so many go-carting tracks in the area, I thought for sure we would all be in these soap box go-carts, but when the opportunity came, the kids fell asleep so we moved onto other, more fun things, like hiking up a mountain.
On the other side of the first suspension bridge was a little tourist trap of kiddy games, go-carts and suspension ropes. Jeffery went first and it didn't take him long to master somersaults midair. Then it was Z's turn and I guessed rightly that she would not do the somersaults (they assisted her a few times but she didn't like it), but she did request they make her higher a few times, and they did. I wondered (and hoped) they knew what they were doing.
A few km outside of Neiwan, going up the mts we stopped at an another, much nicer suspension bridge. The view of lush green mountains unfolding all around us, the sound of a rushing, clear mountain stream below us, I thought to myself this would make a nice place for a minsu 民宿 (B&B). Guess what was on the other side of the bridge? A nice minsu with camp sites available (600NT), cafe, happy bunny rabbits lopping around big eared and attracting the kids. Z and the boys had already let themselves in and made themselves quite at home, by the time Grace and I caught up to them. I hope we can return there one day and camp to the sound of that mesmerizing, mountain river.
|Mountain river views|
|Soup in a dumpling|
|simple tofu veg soup|