On our second day, we took a day trip from Taipei to Jiufen. Train transportation in Taiwan is pretty extensive. Great for us travelers. We ended up at the Ruifang station to then take a bus to Jiufen. Jiufen was the place that started it all on our decision to go to Taiwan. It is theorized to be the inspiration to Spirited Away. Even if it's not official, the whole day felt like a Miyazaki adventure.
Jiufen is an old gold mining town. The views were spectacular. The bay, the mountains, all the little shrines dotting the hillside.
And the infamous tea house. All the levels of the town, walking through tiny alleyways, and up rambling stair cases was an exploration. When first entering you walk past vendors and food shops, just like in the movie where her parents eat until they turn into pigs.
This is where we first learned the process of tea steeping.
We then began the hike up Mount Keelung. Despite the distance sounding easy enough, the elevation made it quite the workout. We quickly learned throughout this trip that Taiwan is full of stairs.
You can see great views from the first viewing area. But being the overachievers that we are, we made it to the top. It was breathtaking.
After Jiufen, we took the Pingxi line to Shifen. The town of the lanterns.
The railroad heads right through the town. Whenever the train is coming, everyone jumps out of the way. The train barely grazing the stalls and shops. In the evening, we lit a lantern. We chose red for happiness and family. All the other lanterns had long phrases scripted in Chinese. We got a few looks for our random drawings of cats and tea.