We took a 2 week cruise on Holland America’s MS Westerdam ship starting from Yokohama and stopping at Naha and Ishigaki in Okinawa, Hualien and Keelung in Taiwan and Kagoshima, Aburatsu, Kochi, Osaka and Shimizu in Japan before returning to Yokohama.
It was a wet day when we arrived in the port of Hualien in Taiwan which had a dramatic backdrop of high mountains covered in cloud and mist.
We took the shuttle transfer bus to town and then got a taxi to take us out to the Gangtiangong Temple 財團法人台灣花蓮縣花蓮港天宮 Taoist Temple. I was expecting just the usual Chinese temple but was stunned by this one. There were 2 huge blue towers at the large entrance and once inside I realised just how big and complex this temple was. It was immaculately kept and brightly painted. Luckily it was very quiet when we visited allowing us to walk around freely and take many photos.
After our visit we got our taxi to take us back to town and drop us at the small 一碗小 Ramen Restaurant where we had some lunch. This small wooden restaurant served up traditional ramen noodles and soup.
Walking along the streets after lunch we found one of the many street food vendors selling the famous deep fried egg scallion pancakes. The small food stall was located in a unique yellow van. My wife queued to make her order and evantually we got the pancake which we ate on the street. Street food is very popular in Taiwan and it is easy to spot the best ones as tehse have the longest queues.
From here we walked to the city centre and found the famous Gong Zheng Bun Store where we queued once again to taste the lovely freshly steamed buns.
We then walked to the Pine Garden which was an old Japanese military HQ during the war and where many of the Japanese soldiers took their own lives rather than surrender. The old house was surrounded by large mature pine trees.
A short walk back and we were back at the harbour to reboard our ship.
Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia
Stuart Taylor of HighlanderImages Photography has been making images for over 30 years and can offer a diverse range of photo imaging services with a focus on Asia and a documentary/photojournalistic style. These services include planning and executing a photo shoot on location but importantly all the post-processing and image preparation needed for the specific finished media format required by the customer. Stuart’s experience and knowledge in all of these aspects make HighlanderImages Photography a one-stop-shop for a comprehensive and professional image production service.
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