Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Taipei: Sightseeing

This is a continuation of a post recounting our visit to the island of Taiwan. For Part 1, click here.

After spending the night in Tamsui, we toured the National Palace Museum in Taipei. This massive three story building was a host to treasures collected throughout thousands of years. We surprised our host by spending all day in the museum looking at the artifacts. We spent such a long time perusing everything that our electronic audio guides used up the batteries before we were finished touring!

National Palace Museum
The following day, we toured a Buddhist temple (whose name I don't recall) patterned after the Japanese style temples and gardens. The gardens had several waterfalls and were very quiet to instill a sense of peace. Trails meandered throughout the grounds and led to Buddhist statues. The smell of incense filled the air. According to a sign inside the temple, the temple was attempting to raise money to build the largest Buddha in the world and gain a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
Japanese Style Buddhist Temple
We ended our tour with a walk through the market to pick up what resembled a snow cone. Ours consisted of shaved ice, condensed milk, and a mix of fruit. A very welcome treat considering the tropical environment.

After a hearty breakfast consisting of an assortment of steamed buns and fruit, we visited National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall to learn a little more about this person of national interest and watch the changing of the guard. The guards were so still that they could have easily been mistaken for wax models. The changing of the guard is an elaborate fanfare of drill soldiers marching and clicking their heels. It was an amazing sight to see them keeping time and wielding their weapons. As the guard changes, the new guard takes his post to stand watch for one hour until he is relieved by another guard.
Dr. Sun Tat-Sen Memorial Hall Changing Guards
As we exited the Memorial Hall, we spied Taipei 101 towering in the distance. (Bonus: We also saw a wedding photo shoot.)
Taipei 101

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