Tag: 2014

A daytrip to Taroko Gorge National Park

From Hualien, we arranged a day trip to Taroko National Park, where a river cut a beautiful gorge through the mountains. The first stop on the trip was a view point where the mountains meet the coast just before turning inland into the park. The first stop in the park was the Eternal Spring Shrine, where a flat trail leads all the way to the shrine. At the shrine there is a short but very steep trail up the mountain. We went up for a little bit to get a good view over the valley. The next stop was the Swallow

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Vegan burgers at About Animals in Taipei

This great burger shop is located close to the Wanlong MRT station in the Wenshan district of Taipei. About half a dozen asian-fusion burgers are served in healthy whole wheat buns with fries and additional sides. We tried the onion and mushroom burger as well as the fried wasabi burger, here they are. Both burgers were served with fresh tomatoes and lemon slices. They were super yummy, as well as the extra kimchi. The place is very laid-back with just about a handful of tables and a very relaxed cat chills on the gate. The only caveat is that About Animals

Posted in eat Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Zhaori Salt Water Hot Springs

The Zhaori Hot Springs were our favorite spot at night on Green Island. Salt water hot springs are apparently pretty rare, only three different locations are currently known world-wide. During our stay, the outdoor pools were closed due to rough weather but it’s still a great experience to see and especially hear the sea when soaking in a hot pool about 50 meters from the shore. The outdoor pool looked like they suffered a bit lately from the weather. Since they were not part of the hot water circulation, we were not tempted to spend a lot of time there

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Green Island: Little Great Wall

The Little Great Wall of Green Island is a short walking trail to the eastern edge of the island. At the end of the walk, you arrive at the most beautiful lookouts of the island facing north and south. The views are stunning in both directions and the volcanic origin of the island is revealed quite well. Here is a picture of the southern view with the Sleeping Beauty and Pekingese Dog rock formations. Picture gallery

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Around Green Island in Taiwan

Our first stop after Taipei was a trip to Green Island, a small paradise east of Taitung with great snorkeling spots, rare saltwater hot springs (Zhaori), and a few hiking trails and sights to visit along the 20 km long road around the island. We took the ferry from Taitung, which only takes about 45 minutes nowadays. Even though the waters were not too rough, there is still some truth in the infamous tales about the Vomit Barge. Once we arrived, we were picked up by our hotel and drove the 500 meters to the hotel.  Then, appointments for snorkel trips were made and

Posted in eat, see Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Taipei: Elephant Mountain

The walk up the stairs to Elephant Mountain is just a 10 minute walk away from the closest subway station (Xiangshan Station). The ascent does not take longer than 30 minutes, but is one giant stair case and thus pretty steep. There is a little kiosk selling drinks and snacks at the beginning and multiple resting spots with nice views along the way. Here is a first view of the city and Taipei 101. Going further up, there are a couple of outlooks and terraces with great views all over Taipei. Most impressive is still Taipei 101, which was the world’s tallest building

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Balcony harvest 2014

Here is the first harvest from the balcony this year. The tomatoes are the same kinds as of last year’s season – Rutjes (red), yellow date and purple cherry tomatoes. The black jalapenos came from the same plant as last years as it moved into our living room for the winter. New this year are two chili plants – Bhut Jolokai and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the two hottest chilis currently known. I am pretty sure they will be too hot for us to enjoy, but I wanted to grow them at least once. Both plants have currently about 10 green

Posted in eat Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Early season mushroom hunting

Since this year everything is a bit early in nature, we decided to give hunting mushrooms a try on the last weekend in July. We went to my hometown in the middle of Germany for the weekend and my parents organized a get together with some of their friends who own a beautiful ancient forest lodge from the late 1800s in the middle of a remote forest. So we could start looking for mushrooms right off the front porch and it did not take 15 minutes before we found the first porcini waiting for us. From there on, we found

Posted in eat, see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Grand Canyon

Our final stop on this 4 day road trip was the Grand Canyon. The drive took a bit longer than we expected and eventually we only had about half a day for our visit of the Southern Rim. We quickly noticed that it would be a bit tight to visit all different view points with the shuttle service in operation. We tried nevertheless, giving us a similar feeling what I assume people have on Europe in 3 days vacations. Still, it was totally worth it. My camera was almost out of battery so I tried to take as few shots

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Lower Antelope Canyon

On the next day, we went on the first tour of the day down into the Lower Antelope Canyon. The accessible part of the Lower Canyon is much longer than the Upper one, it takes about 90 minutes for the whole tour (one way, no backtracking). The wave patterns and sun light illuminations are at least as beautiful as in the Upper Canyon, and tickets for the Lower Canyon are a bit cheaper (about 20$). After seeing both parts, I would recommend visiting both parts if you have the time. It is hard to say which one is more beautiful,

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Upper Antelope Canyon

The Antelope Canyon just outside of Page, AZ, was the item on the itinerary we were most excited about. The sandstone canyon was washed out by flash floods, shaping the walls into beautiful wave patterns. Even better, the sun light illuminates the canyon in all colors from bright orange to purple on its way down to the sandy floor. The canyon is on Navajo land and can be accessed at two sites: the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. We arrived in the morning in Page and got the last two seats for the tour of the Upper Canyon for about

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Zion NP – Along the Zion Mount Carmel Highway

After the scenic drive, we went up the Zion Mount Carmel Highway first up to the tunnel and then entering the most beautiful part of Zion if you go by car and are short on time. The rock structures along the road are incredible both in shapes and colors. We first went up to the Canyon Overlook, which as the name suggests, gets you in about 30 minutes to a great spot with an overview of Zion. It was probably the best view we had in the park, especially because you are free to go around the rim without a fence

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Zion NP – Short hikes along the north-south scenic drive

We arrived around 10am at the South gate of the Zion NP and drove all the way along the scenic drive to the beginning of the the Riverside Walk. The plan was to get a first impression of the park and then to stop at the small side tracks on the the drive back. The drive was surprisingly short and took about 20 minutes. The Riverside Walk itself is a very easy and short path along the river up to the Narrows, in which you have to wade a bit to get to the part where it is just a

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Las Vegas

After a short detour to Los Angeles to pick up my camera that I forgot in my friend’s car the night before, we were on our way to Las Vegas. The drive was smooth and took about 4 hours. We arrived in the afternoon and had enough time to go up the Stratosphere tower for the sunset. The views are nice from up there, and it is impressive that they put a small amusement park with a couple of rides up there. At night time, we went for a walk on the Strip. We did not get far though, since

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Roadtrip in America’s Southwest

After a couple of days in Lake Forest, we started the road trip through America’s southwest. We only had about 4 days and booked all nights before, so the schedule was pretty much set. On the first day, we drove to Las Vegas, then to the Zion NP, to Page for the Antelope Canyon and the Horseshoe Bend, and finally to the Grand Canyon. Part of the fun was trying out new fast food chains and eating out at good Mexican diners, which are still rare to find in Berlin. The veggie version of the In & Out Burger (no

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One night in Los Angeles

Between our meetings Lake Forest and the anticipated road trip to the desert, we had a single night planned to go into the city. Luckily friends were in town and we arranged to have dinner and some beers that night. We figured that traffic would not be that bad going into LA in the afternoon, expecting most traffic being outbound. But we were wrong. The extra hour planned in for taking pictures of the skyline in the sun set was reduced to less than 10 minutes. But we found a nice spot and were able to see the sun go

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Crystal Cove State Park, California

A short trip brought me to southern California, more precisely to the tiny suburb of Lake Forest located between Los Angeles and San Diego. There is not much going on there, but it is very close to the coast and to the Crystal Cove State Park. The park comprises a long stretch of sandy beach and a much bigger area inland which is quite hilly. With the sun up and burning, we sticked to beach part and enjoyed a walk on the shore. We came back  in the evening for the sunset, which was beautiful. Parking can be a bit

Posted in see Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,