Last full day in Taiwan

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun. Sadly, after all the fun we had, it was almost time to depart back home. That being said, we still had time to squeeze in one last memorable event.

The morning, much like what was going on by that point, was rather relaxed. We got to sleep in and chow down on all the food we’d accumulated by that point. While my brother decided that he wanted to just chill, my mom and I were feeling adventurous, hence why we opted to go on a gondola. Thankfully, the gondola station was a mere two stops away, which was super convenient. At about $4 one way per person, there was lots of value to be had. I mean, the views we enjoyed were incredible, and had the day not been a bit overcast, we probably could have seen most of the city! Our goal was at the top, where there were tea shops awaiting our arrival; this proved to be an adequate enough reward. On the way up, we noticed a temple (it was pointed out by the signs back at the station) and some little terraces where it appeared that the tea leaves were being grown; talk about that colorful local feel! Words aren’t satisfactory enough, so I’ll let the pictures do all of the talking. Rest assured that they don’t do the view justice. At the top, we decided to make a beeline to tea, as refreshments were craved. Within the bevy of choices, both my mom and I set eyes on one, which turned out to work in our favor. One neat draw of this place was how they served tea-flavored ice cream, and naturally we had to seize on this opportunity. I admit that I was clumsy and while I was trying to take a picture, I dropped the ice cream. Thankfully, this apparently has happened before, so the staff kindly gave us another, which we successfully held on to and got the important picture. At this point, I had a task to carry out: find some tea to give to my girlfriend as a souvenir. Thankfully, there were many options, and the staff in all their foresight had samples to sniff and taste. Several samples later and we came away with the present for Polina. By that point, there was a slight chill coming on, so we sashayed over to the station to make the return trip, and by that same virtue a trip back to the apartment. Despite lasting maybe 90 minutes in total, this excursion was pleasant and I think I finally got the best idea of how darn big (and green!) Taipei is. Coming from snowy Moscow, it was radical seeing the massive swaths of green the island has. Man do I miss it!

After all the excitement of riding the gondola, all we did was relax back at the apartment, enjoying each other’s company. From all the things we did on this splendid trip, having each other around was the best part. This was the first time I’d seen my brother in a year and a half and my mom, the first time in half a year. Therefore, while we weren’t active in the city by that point, just not having to go anywhere was a treat of the highest caliber. Yet again our dinner comprised of the things we’d bought/stockpiled, but unlike the other times, there was a strategy. We’d eat the things we didn’t or couldn’t carry, while we’d leave some for departure day; I ended up polishing off the remnants. Rudimentary as it was, we felt that it was the ending we wanted. After ten days in the country, one that we felt entirely at home with, it felt bittersweet knowing the next day was to be spent in going back to reality.

Tea-flavored ice cream! While I thought it’d be tasty, it wasn’t too bad. Not the best mind you, but I could see myself having this every now and then.
The tea shop we went to.

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