Time flies and our 5 days in Taipei are over. Next destination: Take the train to Taichung, pick up our rental car and head into the mountains.

Traveling by train is quite confortable, if you manage to get a ticket… The reservation over the web was kind of complicated but finally Johannes (hero!) fixed us four tickets.
The agent from the car rental picked us up at the Taichung railway station and gave us the 18 years old Toyota which had over 314,000 km on his back. Nevermind, firt priority: our lagguage has to fit in. Started of direction mountains with a short stop-over at the giant Buddha statue in Changhua. Boy, it is HOT. Temperature well over 30 degrees C and very humid.

Massif Central

Relief in the mountains on 2000 m altitude: Much cooler…and foggy. The next day was even worse with heavy fog and rain and wind. Babs was very disapointed as she ws looking forward to do a hike at Hehuan mountain. But it poors down like hell and so we headed to Taroko Valley on the Central Island Highway. “Highway” sounds like driving fast but it’s the opposite. The road is in good condition but very bendy and steep.

Taroko Valley

The lanscape is truly incredible: Deep and steep valleys, high mountains and all covered with endless green rainforest. We went for a hike but had to stop after a short while because the trail was closed due to landslides and falling rocks. So we went to the park information and a set up a plan for the next day. The ranger was very helpful, gave us many tips and she took us to the police post next door for the entry permit. That took a while…3 copies, 3 times stamped, stapled and folded. The police officer was very friendly though. Next day nobody asked us for a permit…

The next day we did our rain forrest hike. RAIN forrest hike. RAIN. It poored down the whole day. The trail itself was well maintained, many signs, uphill, downhill through the jungle. We figured why the tour was not classified under “hiking” but “climbing”: often we needed both our hands to get up or down. But it wasn’t a real climbing tour more like an alpine backbacking tour. After a while we’re soaked inside and outside but didn’t care. Because of the heavy and constant rain I didn’t shot man pictures. Although my X-Pro2 is weather resistant, my lens (18-55mm) is not.

The Flood

Taiwan is facing massive rain at the moment. Schools and Universities were closed, streets like streams, bridges washed away, landslides… The website of the Taiwanese weather service provides good information on what’s going on.
Taiwan has a very well cell phone coverage (4G almost everywhere). I bought a preapaid SIM card on arrival with a data flat rate. So while traveling we can check on the cell phone where it is worst at the moment.

Overall we are not very much effected by the extreme weather conditions. Anyway we would go crazy experiencing this gorgeous landscabe AND good wather…

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