Yeliu Geopark & Jiufen Old Street
Trip Start May 07, 2009
13Trip End May 19, 2009
We used the EasyCard to pay for our fare when boarding the bus (NT$98 per pax) and requested the driver to inform us when the bus reached the bus stop for Yeliu Geopark (野柳地质公园). It was a necessary procedure for infrequent passengers on this bus service as the bus stop for the Geopark was not easy to identify. Yeliu Geopark was also some distance away from the bus stop and off the main road.
Located on the northeastern shoreline of Taiwan and facing the South China Sea, Yeliu was subjected to the fierce work of nature. There were quite a number of weird rock formations with all sorts of funny shapes in the Geopark and it was up to the visitors' imagination to picture what they resembled. Some of the weird rock formations, close to the sea, were results of water
The main landmark of the Geopark was the 4000 years old Queen's Head (女王头), which was a masterpiece created by wind and sand. The shape was not very obvious from any angle other than from a spot that was marked on the wooden walking platform. Most people would need to squat down in order to see the shape of a queen's head. It was said that the neck was constantly eroded by natural elements to an extend that it might break in the near future.
We did not cover the whole Geopark and chose to skip an ascending climb to the top of a hill. It was almost 12.30pm when we decided to leave the park for our next destination. Outside the Geopark was a small marketplace, named Gift of Yeliu (野柳特产街), selling mostly dried local products from around Yeliu. The stalls sold mainly dried seafoods such as squids, cuttlefishes, shrimps, small fishes, mussels, etc. We bought some drinks and left.
Almost everyone on the bus was headed for Jiufen Old Street (九份老街), so it was not difficult to drop at the correct bus stop this time. And it was still drizzling slightly. Jiufen Old Street had maintained its pre-war settings, which made the place popular for movies featuring olden-days Taiwan. It was 3pm when we walked into the first eatery, named Jiufen Traditional Fishball (九份传统鱼丸), that we came across in the old street. We ordered dishes of tofu with seasoned eggs (皮蛋豆腐), vegetable, mixed balls soup and also Taiwanese's favourite stewed pork rice (鲁肉饭). The sight of the fat pork lard on the rice and vegetable turned my stomach upside-down. As usual, I left the fatty portion untouched.
After lunch, we strolled down the old street. The brick-laden and wooden structure made us felt like we had traveled back in time to the pre-war period. Even new shops or structures also tried to blend in with the old architectural style. Some of the streets were sheltered and some were not, which allowed us to know that the drizzling had stopped. We shopped for gifts, took photos and checking out all the unique stuffs that we had not seen elsewhere.
At 6pm, we took a direct bus (NT$87 per pax) from Jiufen back to Taipei City. It was one of the last few buses back to Taipei City. Alternatively, we could have taken other bus services to one of the train stations nearby and took a train back. Anyway, the direct bus journey would take about 1.5 hours and terminates at Zhongxiao Fuxing Station (忠孝复兴站). We did not have enough money left in the EasyCard and had to pay using cash. The no-change policy gave us a little problem on the crowded bus and a long queue behind. We should have top-up our EasyCards, the unused amount was refundable anyway.
After scouting out the stalls, we finally settled for one stall that specialised in mutton dishes. One of the factors to determine whether the stall was good or not was to look at its crowd. Most of the tables were occupied except for two, and we conquered one of them. We ordered mutton soup each, a dish of water spinach with mutton and rice. The mutton soup had more chunks of mutton in it than those I had tried before. It was such a delicious meal.
We also tried a stall selling a famous Taiwanese snack called sweet-not-spicy (甜不辣), which
After the meals, we strolled along the night market, hoping for any last minute buy before our departure the next day. At about 10pm, we went back to our hostel to pack our baggage.