foooood in taiwan

mango shaved ice

almost by accident, the airbnb we ended up choosing is practically on yongkang street, a famous street in taipei where you can find all kinds of delicious food.  one of the dishes it is famous for is mango shaved ice. i love mango, so of course we had to try it!

it consists of shaved ice topped with fruit, ice-cream and condensed milk, and, as if it that wasn’t enough, served with a little dish of panna cotta on the side… 😅 the whole thing is a bomb, as we discovered — definitely too big for the two of us, and probably best shared with a couple other people. it’s amazing though, super refreshing even with frozen mangoes (since they’re not currently in season)! i can imagine this being just the perfect treat to share with friends on a hot summer day.

birdwatching in taiwan

black-crowned night heron

these are gorgeous birds, and so unlike our own mediterranean grey herons… it’s like they have no neck at all 😅 

they’re so used to people here that they just chill around the city ponds like they own the place. i love their colors and particularly the few stray bits of white “hair” that stick out of the head, like a fancy accessory!

the red eyes, on the other hand… slightly creepy.

in taiwan

elephant mountain

so far, we’ve been pretty much city dwellers in taipei. the city is huge and it feels like there’s already so much to explore right here on our doorstep… but at the same time, the mountains are all around us, luscious and green and tempting! so for a quick leg-stretching, we went up “elephant mountain” one day after breakfast…

…which was a bit of a mistake, because despite the walk being relatively short, the way up is aaaaaall stairs. my belly still had warm soy milk sloshing around it as we made our way up the successive staircases, sandwiched between other tourists. once we were out of the main trail though, the path became much smoother and the views unobstructed by people. it was really nice to be in a forested area, surrounded by green at the city’s doorstep.

an amouse-bouche for a future hike!

in taiwan

the toilet bidet

the airbnb we’re staying at here in taipei has a toilet seat that doubles as a bidet! i had never actually seen one before — and it is so subtle i wouldn’t have noticed it if the boy hadn’t pointed it out. it looks like any other toilet seat, but there’s also a knob on the site, a tube that brings the water in, and two “antennas” on the back that pop out when it’s cleaning time. the knob is super discreet, and has positions for boys and girls. twist it back or forth according to the desired position and intensity, and the antenna will come out to spray you. here’s a clumsy video (it’s hard to film these things without spraying the whole bathroom):

the feeling is a bit unexpected, but not bad at all! it’s definitely refreshing to feel like you showered down there every time you go to the bathroom – definitely cleaner! i always imagined these things to be super complicated with dryers and heated seats… but this version is actually really nice without requiring electricity or adding too much complexity to the system. now i’m considering getting one for home! :) 

in taiwan

taiwan postal museum

any postal museum is an obligatory visit for us, and this one had been on my list for ages. we decided to visit it just at the right time, it seems — they were having some activities ahead of children’s day (which is a holiday in taiwan) and entry was free! :D we were also given a card at the entrance, so we could answer a question at every floor and collect stamps to exchange for a prize at the end. 

so off we went to explore all the floors! some were dedicated to postal history and the first stamps, others to thematic philatelic collections…

…and one was just for children which was quite cool as it was particularly interactive. 

they also had quite a few different mailboxes on display, which were available as postcards! i do love it when a museum has nicely made postcards, so i had to grab a few to write later. :)

our gift at the end turned out to be two-fold: first, we were given the chance to pick a stamp from a pile to make a badge on the spot. i chose a dalek-themed stamp, and paulo spotted another uk stamp featuring sir rowland hill at the last minute (the inventor of the penny black), so of course we had to pick that one. 

and because we bought some postcards, we were also offered a couple of cool stamp-themed tote bags… wow! we might be a little spoiled for other museums now…