We picked up our bags and took out a ticket for Taipei. This train is like a commuter train that at every few minutes stops at all stations. We got off at Taipei Main Station, where we have our hotel for the last few nights of our stay in Taiwan. Next to the hotel, we bought some salads, fruit, yoghurts and then we did the check in.
As it was 15:15, they gave us the room. The first thing we did was to eat, which tasted like glory, after so many days of Taiwanese cooking. The hotel is very old. The worst thing of all is that the air conditioning is very strong and cannot be lowered. It was awfully cold. The only good thing is that it is very close to Taipei Main Station.
We take the Subway Red Line to Soangshan, and then to Taipei 101. Taipei 101 is the tallest building in Taiwan and one of the tallest in the world. As the name suggests it has 101 floors. The design resembles a bamboo trunk. It is the best place to observe Taipei from above. The F1 to F5 has luxury shopping centers, full of branded stores.
Everything is clean, immaculate, chic and very expensive. There is nothing appropriate for a shabby-minded traveler like me. In the F5 there is also the ticket office and the elevators to go up to the Observatory. We get on the F5 in a normal elevator. At the ticket offices we had to wait a while, because there was a line. The entrance is very expensive. When we got the entry ticket we had to queue up to one of the ultra-fast elevators, which take us from F5 to F89.
The truth is that all we notice is that the ears were plugged. The elevator has a luminous panel that indicates the floor we are going through, but the numbers go by so fast that they cannot even be seen. At F89 the elevator left us and where the observatory is. It is full of windows. We went around and see the city in all directions.
The views are impressive. It is a pity that when it arrived it was already night, thanks to the queues we had to wait, but by day it has to be spectacular. From F89 we go up some stairs to the F91. Here is the outdoor terrace. We were lucky because today it was open. We understand that on the days it is windy, they close it for safety.
From here we can take an exterior photo of F92 to F101 floors. On this terrace, fireworks are lighted annually to celebrate the New Year. We went back down the stairs and reached the F88 where is the large golden ball, which weighs 660 tons. It serves as a counterbalance to balance the building so that it does not fall when there are strong winds, typhoons or earthquakes.
The elevators are on the F88, after crossing a corridor full of stand with very luxurious items. In front of exit of the metro is the Court Food, full of fast food restaurants and that is the most Europeanized we have seen in Taiwan. The first restaurant we enter is the Din Tai Fung that has a Michelin star for its famous syou rum pou that are those dumplings stuffed with pork and vegetables.
There are Changhu fries and steamed Hsinchu. They are spread in soy sauce and vinegar. There are several franchises of this restaurant spread throughout Taipei. We had the intention to dine here, since we know it is not expensive, but there was a huge queue. We even had to take out a number and the estimated time of waiting was 2 hours.
We walked around the Food Court and saw some shrimp burgers with their bread and their lettuce, which caught our attention. They were crispy and delicious. When we went through Din Tai Fung again to leave, we still had an hour and a half to wait. I looked for a tea shop. The Taiwanese tea par excellence is the Oolong Tea and there are different types. The Oolong Tea from the Alishan Mountains is very good. From what they told me, the higher the mountain where it comes from, the greener the tea.
We went to the hotel to rest as tomorrow we have one of the most anticipated days to visit the Zhinan temple and the town of Wulai.