If you go to Alishan you are supposed to see the sunrise but I did it a few years ago, and it’s really not that fantastic. So while the rest of the hotel rose to join the sunrise tour, we slept soundly in our beds and got up at a far more reasonable time.

We spent the morning walking around in the Alishan forest recreation area. Most of the easily accessible trails consist of wooden platforms elevated above the forest floor which let you take in the scenery at leisure. There are plenty of tourists walking about but thanks to the abundance of trails it didn’t feel too crowded when we were here. Thanks to the height, the nature is somewhat different than other parts of Taiwan and we saw lots of large pines and ceder trees, and although it was a bit late in the season, we got to see some cherry blossoms as well.

Cherry blossoms

Some more cherry blossom pics

Around noon we had walked through most of the more touristic paths of the forest recreation area and we didn’t have time for any long hikes, so we went back to the car and headed down the mountain. We stopped for lunch at an aborigine style restaurant that Yini looked forward to and had some tasty barbecue. After lunch we continued our way down from the mountains and out to the coast, making one last stop before driving home. A while a go I saw an article about a newly built church that looked very special, and since it is in Jiayi, not too far from Alishan, we couldn’t miss it.

The church is shaped like a giant high heeled shoe, made entirely of steel and blue glass; almost like a gigantic version of Cinderella’s glass slipper. According to the information plaque, it was built to honor the memories of the people who suffered from black foot disease in the 1950’s and 60’s, and also to attract female worshipers.  The church is in a park and on the way from the parking lot, we noticed that the wall on one side of the park was completely plastered with news articles about the shoe church, apparently   it’s been getting a fair bit of media attention.

Wall of news articles.

The church itself was pretty cool, it’s a gigantic glass shoe after all, but since there was still a bit of construction going on,  people weren’t allowed to get close. That was a shame, I would have liked to get a closer look.

The high heel glass shoe church

It’s perhaps not very clear in the images but the structure seems to be closed on all sides so exactly how it can be used as a church is a bit hard to say. It seems more like a big statue to me, but I guess they have a plan for that. Anyway, when we had finished seeing the church it was around four in the afternoon and we needed to get going if we wanted to get home in any kind of decent time. I will say it was perhaps not the best of our small outings in Taiwan but seeing the sun set on the sea of clouds will linger in my memory for a long time, so I find it appropriate to add one more picture of it to end the post.

Cloud sea panorama