Sun Moon Lake...A Place of Beauty

Apparently I just need to sit at home and hibernate some weekend so that when I type a blog post on Monday it's actually for the weekend that I just finished instead of the week before!

---------------- Saturday & Sunday, October 31 & November 1, 2015 ----------------

Like always I have nothing planned for the weekend and then last minute we scramble to put our plans, yet again!  

One of the top travel to destinations in Taiwan is Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County. {Fun fact, Nantou County is the only county in Taiwan that is landlocked or completely surrounded by land and has no points touching the ocean!} Needless to say, neither Tina nor I had ever visited and thought that this  weekend looked like the perfect time to check it out! (side note, I'm so glad we usually don't look at the weather BEFORE  planning our trips! 60% rain proved to be false and it was gorgeous out!)

We set out bright and early Saturday morning, well at least I did & picked up Tina on the way, and made it to Taichung (this is the city with the closest train station to Sun Moon Lake) by midmorning & located a local train headed for the Lake and settled in....for 2 hours (nap time!!!)

We arrived to Sun Moon Lake around 1ish and immediately set out for lunch...a quick boat ride across the lake provided us with all the day market treats we could handle including this sandwich with pork, cucumbers, & super fluffy bread! 

We spent a majority of the afternoon walking around, soaking in the beautiful sights, treats & people. 

The views here we beautiful!

Of course we had to ask someone to snap a picture of both of us!
Weird statues were found, Buddah the redeemer was spotted && tea eggs were tried (ok disclaimer, this  is not actually Buddah the redeemer, but it reminded us of Christ the Redeemer in  Brazil and made us giggle!)

Just before the sun was beginning to set (don't start thinking it was starts to go down around 5:30 here!) we hopped aboard a round-the-lake bus and stopped at the famous Sun Moon Lake Pagoda. After some research on pagodas I still truthfully am not 100% sure of what they are for other  than the Buddhist religion will often build them  in various places near temples. What I do know though was that it was super ornate and fun to explore!

Tina & I at the pagoda, group shot from the top!, a view looking up the winding staircase, one of the windows {love them!} & a shot of the pagoda after our climb down. 

Luckily going up during sunset...although it was hazy out...provided us with some spectacular views! I only wish the camera could do the views justice!

After leaving the pagoda and catching the last bus back to the main portion of the lake we grabbed a quick dinner (aka food we had been eyeing at lunch but didn't have room for!) and listened our way to an orchestra concert that we had heard  was happening that evening. What they had failed to mention though was that this concert was huge with close to 100 instruments with at least close to another 100 vocalists and fireworks set to the tune of some of their songs....A-maz-ing!!!

After the concert we took the "free shuttle" home...yeah I've never had to pay for a free shuttle, but this one  you did lol. Except home ended up being 1 hour from where our hotel actually was. And we didn't get there until 12:30 at night...and it was raining...and the buses had apparently stopped running...and all the hotels we checked in the area were full, oh, and my shoe broke! Soooo {another only in Taiwan moment!} the random man that was across the street from the bus station in his scooter rental shop ALSO owned an unlisted hotel and happened to have room for us 2 soaking wet/non-Chinese speaking/Americans that were about really to settle down in the bus station for the night. Tina and I vowed that if we got kidnapped from this seemingly super sketchy situation, at least we'd get kidnapped with someone else who spoke English! {only joking...but really, this situation couldn't have looked much worse haha}

Luckily we made it through the night and the inside of the hotel wasn't nearly as shady as it's exterior! We woke up starving and went exploring the little town of Puli in search of something to eat! Though we did find some good food, we also encountered some questionable eatables including a man insisting we try (multiple times) his neon green soup (we later learned it was seaweed soup!) so we, the white Americans, can attract more customers for him!    

After breakfast we boarded the 45 minute bus back to Taichung and spent the drizzly day exploring the local science museum, an outdoor jazz festival, and of course...scoping out new food!

{ Oh! And making this new friend! }