My mom and dad came to visit me this week. Since I’ve spent a fair amount of time driving them around the island to show them different sights, I consider it to be true to the spirit of landtravel. It started the very day they arrived, as me and Yini picked them up at the airport, but instead of taking them straight back, we stopped by at the lantern festival to let them marvel at the myriad lights. The next day we drove down to Lugang in central Taiwan and spent some time walking around in the picturesque old streets. From there we drove up to Sun Moon Lake where we had dinner with Yini’s parents (that first meeting between Yini’s and my parents was a bit nervous but turned out to be OK). The dinner lasted into the night with a lot of translation back and forth in between the many courses. Yini’s parents had to leave for home fairly early. The rest of us could have done something more but there is not much to do at night in Sun Moon Lake, so we called it a night.

The next day we explored Sun Moon Lake by boat and even went for a few walks despite my parents not being used to the heat. In the afternoon, we drove to Zhushan town in the mountains, having just enough time to see the bamboo sea and mountain side tea gardens (described here) before it got dark. In the dark we then drove to Chiayi to spend the night there.

After some quick-ish breakfast in Chiayi we drove down to Kaohsiung in the south. We spent the day there exploring the seaside, including a fortress and beach on one end of a small island. There were some nice tunnels for me to crawl through, and lots of shells on the beach for my dad to bring home to his collection. After a nice seafood lunch and a bit more exploring we decided it was time to head back to Hsinchu. It was a long drive, but not that bad.

The next day we took it easy, just walking around in the city center while Yini was at work. My parents found several things interesting that have already become mundane to me. With their many questions about every detail of life here, my own interest rekindled and I could enjoy places I’ve seen on a near daily basis. The morning of the day after that was much the same. However, around lunch, Yini came home so we headed out, this time to the mountains near Hsinchu. We stopped in Beipu for some Hakkanese ground tea. While it’s called tea it is more of a soup containing peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and green tea. We had to spend some time grinding the tea in a kind of mortar.

My dad grinding the Hakkanese tea

Having had a cup of the brew, we drove around in the mountains for a while until we came to hotsprings in Neiwan wher we went for a soak (described here).  A warm bath is always nice when traveling around. Returning in the evening we had a couple of bubble teas, just to let my parents try the unusual flavours, and chatted for a while before bed.

Having taken it fairly easy for two days, we drove up north to visit the geo-park in Yeliu. The park is full of strange rock formations in the shapes of mushrooms and all kinds of other things. I have been there before but I am still fascinated by the things mother nature can do. I think my parents would agree. 

My favorite photos from Yeliu

After a few hours of walking around among, and marveling at, the rock formations, we headed towards Taipei. In hindsight, I would advise against driving inside Taipei, as I got lost several times and the traffic was pretty stressful. Eventually, we parked the car and just took public transport to go to a restaurant where we met up with an acquaintance of my Aunt and Uncle for dinner. It was nice, even if we were not familiar with each other.

The last day was again spent taking it easy back home in Hsinchu. This morning I drove my parents to the airport. I do not know when I will see them again. Finally, a small collage, to sum up my parents visit and all our little trips.