Tea Time in Maokong

Last weekend several of us girls celebrated Rebecca's birthday with some relaxing time in Maokong, a area southeast of Taipei up in the mountains. This area,  at one time, was the largest tea growing area in Taipei, and is still widely known and visited for its terrific teas, quaint tea houses, laid back atmosphere, and amazing views of Taipei. Leaving from Taipei, Maokong is about an hour from the main station in which you get off the subway and enjoy a 25 minute 2.5 mile gondola ride (like a cable car) with AMAZING views of Taipei beneath you. To say we couldn't have timed our trip better is an understatement though! (First you have to understand that the sun starts setting here around 5:30 or 6:00...no joke!) As we waited in line for the Gondola is became more and more apparent that we would be just in time to watch the sunset over Taipei from our glass-walled gondola...talk about spectacular! I promise, the pictures don't even begin to do it justice!
Taipei at night from our gondola window
Maokong translates directly into "no cat" so naturally (no I'm not sure even then it makes sense lol) EVERYTHING on the mountain is cat themed...just a little odd! haha

We had tea at an outdoor tea house, we are standing AT our table when this picture was taken and that is Taipei behind us! If you look closely near the right hand-side (in line with my head) the taller light you see is Taipei 101. 
This is how they present our tea to us...so fancy! The table chooses a type of tea, we chose a locally grown green tea, and they bring you the leaves, hot water, a tea pot, a strainer, and a cup for each person. We sat and drank for over an hour and never had to replenish our tea leaves...so relaxing. 
The following morning we enjoyed a Japanese breakfast of chicken curry with a side of a rice stuffed egg ball {I'm sure it has a much more elegant name than this, but clearly I'm not aware of it!} and on the way I passed this wall of 'tags' not sure what it was but I loved it! 
After breakfast the girls decided they were done for the weekend and headed back to their respective counties...I on the other hand, was ready to explore! I had been through many of the bustling parts of the city, but I knew there had to be more!  I quickly found my way to Dihua Street  {thanks Lonely Plant!) that is known for its fabric, food, and Japanese influences. This street was right up my ally (pun intended!) and I spent several hours digging through the treasures that the small street held. 
And my visit would not be complete without stumbling upon a street show! These guitar students did amazing!