Everything has an end, except π. Unluckily our trip to Hualien was no Greek letter. However, it was a #1 experience in Taiwan. We fought with nature, we laughed, we hiked, we got closer and eventually we drove home. On the last day of our journey we also had a stuffed plan, resulting in a 15-hour travel.
Southern and Eastern Taiwan is on the northern end of the Philippine Mobile Belt. Due to the collision of this sea plate and the Yangze Plate, there is a vast amount of natural hot water fizzing from the ground. Thus there are a lot of Hot Spring Spas scattered over the whole island and we chose the Rueisuei Hot Springs as our first stop on the way back home.
With three pool, filled with natural water we found deep relaxation from the previous days. The coldest pool had 22°Celsius water temperature, the second one was about 31°C. The hottest, however, had steaming hot 39,3°C water inside. It was good, but we can’t stay longer in one pool for more than 10 minutes at a time. Before we got too cozy, we packed our bath suits and went on.
To see as much as possible on the way back to Tainan we decided to go to the Dragon Bridge on the eastern shore. Because the Hot Springs and the ocean are separated by a couple of mountains, we had to choose between the highway back to take the easy road, or go directly via the mountain land-side road. Guess which road we took? Damn right, FULL ADVENTURE!
Fun-Fact: The road was closed on one lane, but the other lane was open, so we thought: “Meh, can’t be that bad when it is just half closed.”
So one car – with me as co-pilot – drove on the mountain road, the other cars did not. The path itself was amazing. We saw a lot of true nature, beautiful landscapes, hidden villages, a wild monkey and … … … no other car. After wondering for a short time we experienced why. The road was divested by landslides. Trees and rocks laying in the middle of the street. Parts of the streets had sunken down, water was swamping the concrete.
And then there was this whole. A part of the street was gone to the 200 meters downward ground level. The part that was usable, very very very narrow. So I helped to navigate from outside, so that our driver Haiyan can use the 4 centimeters we had space each side.
After this trust fall – or not fall – we arrived safe and sound on the highway again. But first we had to drive over a barrier tape, indicating that the WHOLE road is blocked.
Our next cultural stop was at Sansiantai, the Dragon Bridge, connecting the little Island of the Three Immortals with the bigger island of Taiwan. The bridge was beautiful, and the shore there was amazing, but we did not have enough time to spend there so we did a quick shooting, and hit the road again.
The Traffic Jam
In the middle of our journey we got to know, that there is a small traffic jam on the highway. Google Maps said 20 minutes, we had a short break at the Golden M Restaurant, no one needed to let it go, so we assumed it would not be that bad.
5 HOURS LATER! We made it! In the only 7 Kilometers that we drove since arriving the tail of the queue, a lot of stuff happened. I could list all the exhausting stuff that happened, such as that one of our cars nearly ran out of fuel or … okay, that’s all. It might seem a bit subjective, but the 5 hours had been really funny. The group in our car was amazing. We chatted, played cards, sing songs, created a whole new society with roles assigned to the people, goddesses to be worshiped and a plan for our successors. A traffic jam has never been that pleasant to me!
In the end we arrived in Tainan at 2 AM instead of 9 PM. When I fell in my bed after the long, funny, exhausting, pleasant and adventures weekend, I really lived the title. Feeling home!
Am Abreisetag von Hualien ist noch eine Menge passiert. Zuerst waren wir bei den heißen Quellen und haben uns richtig verwöhnen lassen. Der Weg zurück zur Küste war aufregend, aber auch gefährlich, wenn auf einmal die Straße vor einem nicht mehr da ist. Die Drachenbrücke war noch das Sahnehäubchen bevor wir für 5 Stunden in einem 7-Kilometer-Stau standen. Am Ende sind wir alle gut heimgekommen und behalten dieses Wochenende sicher lange in Erinnerung.