I spent one month in Taiwan in the hope to recover. The complete August. It was raining nearly everyday and two typhoons hit the island. I slept everyday from 12 to 12 and two hours in the afternoon. Unfortunately I didn’t get better. I preferred to lie down. As soon as I stand up I felt dizzy. In the middle of August I went to a doctor and a few days later I was for three days in the Fengyuan hospital. A neurologist examined me because of my gait abnormality. He examined only life-threatening things like tumor or cancer. I got into the tube (MRI) two times. But the doc didn’t found anything life-threatening so he suggest I should go back to Germany for more research.
From Hualien back to Dongshi
After Hualien we cycled on the Suhua Highway. This Highway is kind of dangerous, the road is narrow, windy and busy with trucks. As we left Hualien it started to rain heavily. Yen wanted to take the train to reach our daily destination the Nanao Natural Farm where is a free campsite. At first I was against to take the train because I wanted to cycle all the way but then I agreed, it was only 40 km by train (from Chongde Station to Wuta Station). We found the free campsite in Nanao. I couldn’t believe this campsite is for free so I asked at the office and they said “no money”. The campsite is huge and beautiful, many campers coming here.
From Manzhou to Hualien
The road from Manzhou to Xuhai was narrow but quiet. It started to rain heavily around lunch time, we decided to stay in Xuhai, there are several campsites. From Xuhai the road leads into the mountains. We climbed to 400 m height. I had the feeling the road is more used by cyclists than by cars. The landscape is very green and we saw wild monkeys in the trees. What a change in compare to the high populated west coast suddenly we are alone in the jungle.
We stopped in a small village to eat something. We ordered noodles and the chef prepared us an flying fish, which was catched in the sea. I never saw such a fish in real, he has wings indeed. While I was wondering how much this special dish will coast some aboriginal (Paiwan people) on the table next us start talking to Yen. These guys work on road construction and carried bombs on their truck to blast tunnels. They were interested in our trip and where I’m from. Then one guy of the group said he will pay our meal. I didn’t accept but he insist. He said it will bring him luck to invite an foreigner, tomorrow he will win in lottery, he said.
To get to the most southern part of Taiwan we followed the Highway 1 along the coast line that turns into Highway 26 later. When we left Kaohsiung behind we came through smaller cities. The landscape became more interesting. We camped on a Saturday at a school. It was no problem. Toilets are always open and the locals coming here to make sport.
On the 19th April, after 3 years I started my trip, I discovered still new food. Yen bought some beans called water caltrop who have a black shell with the shape of a mustache. In Hengchun we ate in a Vietnamese restaurant. There are many immigrants from Vietnam.
From Dongshi to Kaohsiung
On the 8th April we started our cycle trip all around Taiwan. We left Yen’s hometown Dongshi and took the cycle path till Houli. From here we cycled on major roads to Dajia where we visited an famous temple. We looked up our campsite before in the internet and stayed on a farm close to Dajia. We were the only camper, it was windy and we put our tent under the observation tower. Our first day was relaxed and we cycled 35 km only.
The second day of our trip was the most difficult day for me. We left the coast and cycled through higher populated areas. I got headache, my eyes burnt and I got problems to breathe. It was because of the smog. I wanted to get off the road asap but we were not sure we can stay today, we planed only the first day. Finally we went to Changhua and found a hotel there. It was 1000 TWD (30 Euro) for a room, we decided to stay two nights. The hotel doesn’t has a 4th floor. Yen told me the number 4 is not a good number, spoken in Chinese the number 4 sounds like death, so people avoid to use this number. I got better on the next day and we visited the Engine Shed and the Eight Trigram Mountains Buddha in Changhua.