Thursday, July 10, 2014

Taipei Zoo and The Maokong Gondola

Hello everyone!

On one of our last days in Taiwan, it finally stopped raining long enough for us to venture over to the Taipei Zoo and catch a ride on the Gondola.  The gondola brings people from the zoo to the mountain village that is famous for its tea!  Though I've tried and tried to love the taste of coffee, I have yet to succeed, so my go-to drink of choice is tea, so of course, we had to visit the tea town!

We began by going to the zoo, getting a new hat along the way since I wasn't prepared for the day to be so sunny!  I mean, it was cloudy all the other days when I wore a hat, and the only day that I didn't wear my hat, it was incredibly sunny...  haha 
being greeted by flamingos! 

When we got to the zoo, the people letting us in through the door gave us a piece of paper with time written on it, and told us that was our appointment with the panda!  You can't imagine how excited I was to hear that, because I thought we would get to meet the panda, and you know, maybe play with the baby and such... but the appointment was really just to walk through the building where the panda was happily eating away at the bamboo he really shouldn't be eating...  Did you know that pandas really can't digest bamboo very well because they should actually be eating meat?  Yeah! they are actually carnivores!  

David's solution to my sadness at not being able to hold a panda was to bring me to the gift shop where I got to hold a makeshift one  haha  =p

As we were walking through the zoo, we stumbled upon the 'Rain Forest' section of the zoo, which we thought was pretty funny.  I mean, the natural environment of Taiwan is basically a rain forest! haha

Does anyone know what this animal is...?  I've never seen one before, and there was no plaque to tell me who he was!

It was fun wandering around, talking and marveling at different animals, but having had enough of walking around the zoo in 100% humidity and 100 degree weather, we made our way over to the gondola.

If you ride on the gondola, you should know that there are two types; one with a glass floor and one without.  The ones with glass floor are blue, and the rest of the colors are the regular ones, so make sure you get on the one of your choice!  ;)

We actually rode both of them, and we would definitely recommend riding the glass floor one!  it's so fun to see the jungle pass by under your feet!

but even if you don't get the glass floor one, the view is really quite incredible!

look at all of these tea farms!

We got off at the top to wander around the town, and to give us some energy, we snacked on some Taiwanese street food  =)  street foods are my fav!!  This one, some sort of sausage you eat with a piece of garlic, was really yummy!

Our destination was the tea museum, which looked close enough to walk, so we just started out on foot, passing by many beautiful scenery and more tea farms.

we walked, and walked and walked some more...  and this Tea Museum just would not show up!  I know, another running theme of our trip in Taiwan is that we always think something is closer than it actually is  haha
but we did walk by this temple,, I think it was a temple for the Happy God..?  don't quote me on that, but it definitely was not the Tea Museum we were looking for  haha

so we walked and walked some more... but really, the walk was very pleasant.  It wasn't as hot up in the mountains, the air was so fresh, and really, if you have good company, time goes by very quickly  =)

and finally! we got to the Tea Museum!

The museum itself, I have to say, was a disappointment.  I don't know if we just picked a wrong time to come, but everything was closed!!  It was really sad,,  but at least we got to try some really awesome tea there!

There was this really nice gentleman doing a tea ceremony sort of a thing, and we got to sit and enjoy not only the tea, but really the whole process of making  the tea, which was really fascinating.

For example, he would pour the tea into this little blue cup, then put the actual tea cup over it, flip it, and let it sit for awhile before pulling the blue one out and leaving the tea in the tea cup.

very fragrant, and very delicious tea   =)

They also had this giant coy pond, and we got to play with them a little and feed them some food. These were like... the biggest coy I've ever seen!

On our walk down, we stopped by this little pastry shop.

It was right next to atea farm, and we weren't really sure what to expect, especially since the stairway down to the shop left.. a bit to be desired..?  haha

It was really a gem though.  Everything was so delicious, the pastry chef was so friendly and informative, and the tea flavored ice cream was soo amazing!!!

I have to warn you though, the mosquitoes there are soo vicious!  We were there for maybe.. like 10 minutes? and I came away with 20 bites..  but really, the ice cream and the tea flavored pineapple cake was definitely worth the visit!

Thanks for stopping by!

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