This day was fantastic.
We woke up in the early morning to take the subway. First, we headed to breakfast at 8 AM. The hotel has a fresh buffet breakfast, stocked with porridge, freshly cooked eggs (they even ask you how well done you want it), an array of stir fries, fresh fruit and cake.
— FIRST STOP
The Juming Art Museum (珠銘美式博物館) was very high up on the mountains, we took a bus up after taking the subway, and transferred to a free shuttle bus. The roads are small and narrow, but the driver never holds the speed. The mountain roads are full of curves and turns, the intensity sharpened by cars appearing from blocked corners. The driver of our bus will swerve like a car racer – except we’re on a bus, not a fancy racecar, and we only have a seatbelt, not any protective gear (thought I wish we did).
When we finally got to the museum, it was afternoon. The whole place was filled with stone carvings of different sizes, equipped with a lake, resting area, large hills and different exhibit halls.
The most unique aspect about this museum is Juming’s way of giving back to society. He donated all he had to this museum, and incorporated many ways for communities – especially children – to participate in activities from the museum. He wanted to give a place free of worries, a place with enough space to dream and inspire.
Later on, when our shirts were soaked with sweat and we could hardly crack open our eyes to face the sun, we decided to stop by a coffee shop in the museum. It was a nice cafe, though incredibly busy; we (4 people) had to split up to 2 smaller tables. There were only 2 employees doing drinks, cashier and calling orders. It led to a slightly disappointing experience.
The kiwi smoothie (NT150) was refreshing – you could taste each seed distinctively, and it was not too sweet. I did notice, however, that the ice shards were pretty large, and I had to crush them with my teeth before swallowing.
The coffee drinks were far from good. It was bitter, and would turn sickly sweet. The bitter was not a nice, coffee bitter but a simple, unpleasant bitter. The sweetness tasted strong and sudden, and unwelcome. The coffee iced drink (NT150) was a bit better than the mocha iced drink (NT150). It really was not worth the money.
The highlight was definitely the cheesecake (NT80). It was rich and velvety, with a thin layer of sweet syrup on top. It dissolved in my mouth quickly, and was reminiscent of the Japanese Cheesecake I made some time ago, though more dense and creamy.
— SECOND STOP
By the time we got to 野柳, it was already pretty late; just an hour before closure. My eyelids were getting pretty heavy by then, and I dreamed of crawling into bed, but my mom and aunt insisted on going. I really don’t know how they have so much energy!
I’m lucky they insisted, though. The view was nothing like I’ve seen before – strange, mushroom-like lumps rising out of smooth slopes. They were stones and rocks shaped by years and years of water erosion from the sea. We walked on a cobblestone sidewalk up a hill with trees filling the mountain and the sea on the right.
I listened closely, and it was like a relaxing soundtrack. There were birds chirping, but only occasionally. The wind played with the trees, the leaves a melody, branches creaking a symphony. The waves kissed the shore over and over again, a soothing, quiet rhythm. There weren’t many people since it was nearing the end of the day.
The main attraction of the park is the “Queen’s Head” （女王頭）, which is a rock naturally shaped as a queen’s head. She is so graceful.
By the time we left at 7PM, dusk had settled in. As we left, I touched the leaves and let the dew drops fall, and took my time taking in the full view. The clouds were thick and grey – my favourite weather. To my surprise, it began to rain suddenly, and it came down hard. We began to run, the water pelting our faces, the texture like tiny wet soaps. When we got to the original main path, the trees on the sides of the path shielded us from the rain.
We had dinner there, where there was fresh seafood. I wasn’t hungry, but I still ate two bowls of rice. Forgive me, future Monica. Every single dish was delectable, though my favourite was the spicy clam stir fry. After dinner, my cousin Joming passed me a papaya milk.
We went home as I dozed off on the bus, basking in the warmth of knowing someone will wake me up when we’re there, oblivious to the sharp twists and turns of the bus. We still had to pick up our luggage from a friend’s house, and lug all our suitcases up and down many, many flights of stairs and escalators. By the time we arrived home, I took a quick shower, blow dried the crown of my head and fell asleep within 3 minutes, tops.
Juming: Jinshan District, New Taipei City, 208. Here are directions with information on the shuttle bus.
YehLiu: No. 167-1, Gangdong Rd, Wanli District, New Taipei City, 207.
You need NT80 to get in YehLiu, and NT250 to get in Juming.