We arrive in Taroko on Good Friday, in the rain, after a pain-free train journey from Taipei and a scenic ride up the winding vertiginous road that leads to our hotel.
The Silks Place Taroko is the only hotel in the epicentre of the gorge and charges prices to match. Luckily on arrival we are upgraded to a fabulous river view suite which, as you will find out later, we make good use of!
After a quick lunch we wander up to the nearby temple in the rain where we get some good views; fail to do much else apart from wander up the road, then we repair to the hot tubs on the roof while the rain falls softly down on us.
On the second day it has stopped raining and a weak sun is trying to get though the clouds; after a lie-in and a late breakfast we manage to join a hotel tour of the gorge’s main features. This seems a good idea as, although there are bicycles, it is unbelievably steep and complicated by road closures due to rock falls and repairs where whole chunks of road have just vanished into the abyss! This is caused by the typhoons. What happens in a typhoon? we ask Hank, our guide. ‘Typhoon is terrible’, he informs us, ‘no internet. When I was a child not a problem, but now I feel like dying with no internet.’
We visit the Swallow Grotto; a Taroko archaeological site and museum showing the life of the aboriginals, who hunted heads and tattooed themselves, not unlike the Borneo headhunters; went to see the Pacific which stretches uninterrupted all the way from here to Canada and, finally, walked a 3 km trail – with about 1000 other people – to ‘touch the water’ at a place deemed safe by the over zealous Taiwanese regulations.
Here we see traditional Taroko fern plantations which are a local delicacy – and indeed we tried some while we were here. We also see tourists from the PRC indulging in their favourite hobbies – the selfie and posing for group photos
Each night we eat in the Chinese restaurant, from an adventurous set menu, but this is the cause of woe in the early hours of Easter Sunday when Ross is struck down by awful food poisoning but I, miraculously, am spared despite eating the same things. So here we are on Easter Sunday resting in our huge room on our large bed and I am writing this blog. We hope that he will be up to the massage we have booked for later, but unfortunately the cycling we had planned has been abandoned (phew!).
So Happy Easter to you all, hope you are all feeling fit and well…
STOP PRESS! I spoke too soon and have succumbed. Only in 5 star hotels, eh? Spent all day writing blogs and film reviews and lounging in our bed, tho’ we did have the massage…bread and water for supper to try and get our strength back!