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So you haven’t heard from me for a while. It is one year since I joined Formosa 900 to cycle around Taiwan. Now, the next Formosa 900 takes place and again cyclists are touring the island. This time, I am not one of them. I am at home, designing sofa cushions – but more about that in a moment. First I would like to mention that Formosa 900 was not my last trip to Taiwan. I am hoping I can spend a holiday in Taiwan in 2017 🙂 So my Taiwan stories in this blog will definitely continue.

And the thing with the sofa cushions: I took part in a competition for artists. One has to hand in three designs for sofa cushions and the best one will be sold at Wraptious.com. The contest entries are also available to buy, but only until November 16, 2016. Artists get points with Facebook likes and cushion sales. So have a look and if you like my cushions I would appreciate if you could like, share and maybe even buy them!

Like them on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FWraptious%2Fposts%2F1256801361048986&width=500

Available to buy here:

Verena Goess – Dragonfly Woods

Verena Goess_ Squirrel Woods

Verena Goess_ Butterfly Woods

I designed them specifically to fit to the iconic Cole & Son’s Wallpaper Woods which I have in my living room.  It first started with me drawing on leftover pieces of the wallpaper. The plan was to have this as framed artwork on one of the walls without wallpaper.

image

Original drawing on Cole and Son’s Woods wallpaper

My colleagues at work were so excited about my artwork that I got motivated and when I saw the contest on Wraptious.com (who by the way have really nice cushions), I decided to give it a go!

I drew my own birch trees (because of course I couldn’t upload the painting on the original wallpaper as my own art). This way the design fits to the wallpaper but is still my own. I am excited about the result and of course I ordered them for my own couch 😉

Update (11.11.2016): The competition deadline got extended a bit: The cushions are available to buy at Wraptious.com until November 16, 2016. My order already arrived, so I can show you some pictures of the actual product! 🙂 I really love them! The fabric is really soft and the print came out nicely.

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Tag 4 der Radrundreise Formosa900 liegt hinter uns. Heute ging es von Zhiben, Taitung nach Checheng in Pingtung County. Wir sind jetzt also die komplette Ostküste abgefahren und befinden uns jetzt ganz im Süden der Insel.

Wir sind heute in der Nähe des Kenting Nationalpark gefahren. In Kenting gibt es schöne Strände und viele Taiwanesen verbringen hier ihren Urlaub. Es gibt hier viele Hotels und die Restaurants sind sehr touristisch und eher teuer. Ich war während Chinesischem Neujahr in 2013 mit meiner Schwester dort, dementsprechend war echt viel los! Leider hatten wir Pech mit dem Wetter und konnten damals den Strand nicht wirklich genießen. Wir hatten im Meifon Hostel übernachtet und waren recht zufrieden, etwas günstigeres hatten wir leider nicht gefunden.

Heute war das Wetter wieder traumhaft – zum radeln vielleicht etwas zu heiß. Ich habe einen Sonnenbrand auf der Nase. Außerdem bekomme ich jetzt so wunderhübsche Abdrücke des Radoutfits auf Armen und Beinen. Um mir die Arme nicht zu verbrennen bin ich fast den ganzen Tag mit meinen schwarzen Armlingen gefahren, ui das wird heiß in der Sonne!

Panorama Rastplatz Taiwan

Die Highlights des Tages: Blick von der Straße aufs Meer und die 2. Challenge unserer Reise: Ein 450m Anstieg über 10km. Dafür hab ich Musik gehört und mich ein bisschen an der Intensität aus den Spinning Kursen zu Hause orientiert (solche Anstiege hatte ich ja vor dieser Reise noch nie gemacht). Es war echt anstrengend, aber hat auch super viel Spaß gemacht. Das Ergebnis: Ich war nach ca. 45 Minuten als 4. oben. Ich kann es kaum glauben, dass ich wirklich so schnell oben war 🙂

Blick auf das Meer:

Ocean in South Taiwan

Das Höhenprofil für heute:

Höhenprofil Tag 3 Formosa900

Kurze Foto Pause während der “challenge”

Short break

Zur Belohnung gibt es dann eine schöne Abfahrt mit toller Aussicht:

In the mountains

Break Formosa900 day4 P1010314

Hier die genaue Route von heute (Tag 4), wie sie mein GPS aufgezeichnet hat. Bei dieser Ansicht kann man sich auch das Höhenprofil genauer ansehen.

Diese Ansicht habe ich jetzt auch für die anderen Tage (Tag1, Tag2, Tag3)

Unser Hotel für heute ist das Boutix Hotel in Chengcheng. Von unserem total süß eingerichteten Zimmer hat man einen tollen Ausblick auf das Meer! Ich teile mir hier immer ein Zimmer mit einem  Mädel aus Taiwan. Bisher hatten wir immer beide ein großes Bett für uns. Aber heute gibt es ein großes und ein kleines Bett. Wir haben eine Münze geworfen und ich darf im großen Bett schlafen 😉

Boutix Hotel Taiwan

In Chengcheng gibt es übrigens das National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium. Das hat jetzt aber bestimmt schon zu. Hier war ich auch in 2013 und es hat mir gut gefallen! Zum Museum kann man auch von Kenting mit dem Bus fahren.

Ich freue mich schon total auf unser Abendessen heute – ich hab so Hunger!!!

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Day 4 – Formosa900 2015

Today was day 4 of Formosa900, we finished the east coast of Taiwan and are now in the south in Pingtung County.

We cycled close to Kenting National Park today. Kenting is a popular tourism destination in Taiwan, many Taiwanese spend their holidays here. This means that Kenting has many hotels and is, I would say, rather expensive. I was here during Chinese New Year 2013 and it was rather crowded. In 2013 I stayed at Meifon Hostel – the location is very convenient if you want to be in the middle of the touristic area.

Today was our second challenge: A climb of 450 meters over a distance of 10km. It was a lot of fun! I pushed myself and managed to reach the peak as the fourth person! Check out the elevation profile here.

Today we stay at the Boutix Hotel in Chengcheng. Our hotel is rather close to the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium which I visited in 2013. It is worth a visit if you are in the area!

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Ich bin Radsportbotschafterin Taiwan’s 2015. Das heißt das Taiwan Tourismusbüro sponsert meine Teilnahme am Formosa900 2015 – einer Radrundreise um die Insel Taiwan.  Was ich hier schreibe ist meine davon unabhängige ehrliche Meinung. //  I am currently on a trip sponsored by the Taipei Tourism Office in Germany. As part of this campaign, four bicycle ambassadors get to participate at the bicycle event Formosa900. In return, we share our experience by for instance writing blog posts. While I therefore not have to pay for this trip, what I write in this blog is my own, true opinion.

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Heute sind wir die längste Teilstrecke der Tour gefahren: Ca. 120km von Ruisui nach Zhiben in Taitung. Wahrscheinlich war das auch der landschaftlich schönste Streckenabschnitt, außer vielleicht der Abschnitt von morgen? Da kommen wir dann endlich ans Meer.

Tag 3 Formosa900

 

Hier erstmal das versprochene Video von Tag 1+2 Formosa900:

Heute war das Wetter richtig super. Die Sonne war fast schon zu kräftig: Das gibt hübsche Abdrücke von den Radel Klamotten! Auf der Nase habe ich auch schon einen Sonnenbrand. Am Nachmittag hatte ich dann trotz der Hitze meine Armlinge an, um wenigstens noch schlimmeren Sonnenbrand an den Armen zu verhindern.

Wir übernachten heute im F Hotel Zhiben. Das Hotel ist ganz neu und super schick. Der Pool und Hot Spring sieht auch sehr schön aus. Wobei ich wirklich nicht verstehe, warum so ein modernes Hotel nur zwei Steckdosen im ganzen Zimmer hat? Wisst ihr was ich alles aufladen muss? GPS, Digicam, Actioncam, Handy, Netbook… ^^

Ich war bisher erst einmal in Taitung, und das nur als Zwischenstopp vor einem Flug nach Lanyu (Orchid Island). Das ist vielleicht ein Erlebnis: Man fliegt in einem winzigen Flugzeug auf die Insel! Mehr dazu könnt ihr in meinem Blogeintag Beautiful Lanyu (Orchid Island) nachlesen. In Taitung hatte ich damals im süßesten Hostel überhaupt übernachtet: Guesthouse Susu. Es ist gleichzeitig ein Second Hand Büchergeschäft und mit den vielen Büchern überall super gemütlich! Das Bad am Balkon könnte der ein oder andere gewöhnungsbedürftig finden, ich fand es total super! 😉 Ach und Haustiere gibt es dort auch, also bei Allergien aufpassen!

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Today was the longest stretch of Formosa900: We drove around 120km from Ruisui to Zhiben, Taitung.

The hotel for tonight is F Hotel Zhiben.

I have been in Taitung once before: I stayed for one night in the cutest hostel ever before I took a plane to Lanyu (Orchid Island). Guesthouse Susu is in walking distance from the train station in Taitung (if I remember correctly its not really close, but I walked anyways). The hostel is in a second hand bookstore and really small and comfortable. The outdoor bathroom on a kind of balcony / roof terrace might alienate some of you, but I loved it! Read more about that trip to Lanyu here.

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Ich bin Radsportbotschafterin Taiwan’s 2015. Das heißt das Taiwan Tourismusbüro sponsert meine Teilnahme am Formosa900 2015 – einer Radrundreise um die Insel Taiwan.  Was ich hier schreibe ist meine davon unabhängige ehrliche Meinung. //  I am currently on a trip sponsored by the Taipei Tourism Office in Germany. As part of this campaign, four bicycle ambassadors get to participate at the bicycle event Formosa900. In return, we share our experience by for instance writing blog posts. While I therefore not have to pay for this trip, what I write in this blog is my own, true opinion.

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Heute sind wir von Jiaoxi nach Ruisui gefahren. Einen Teil der Strecke (bis Hualien) mussten wir allerdings mit dem Zug zurücklegen, da die Straße wohl für den Radverkehr gesperrt ist bzw. sehr gefährlich.

Apropos Hualien: Von hier aus kann man in den Taroko Nationalpark fahren – ich war schon 2 Mal dort und kann einen Ausflug dorthin absolut empfehlen! Dazu hatte ich auch einen sehr ausführlichen Blogeintrag geschrieben: Travelling Taiwan – Part 2: Taroko National Park. Die ganz harten Radfahrer können den Anstieg hier auch mit dem Fahrrad zurücklegen. Gerade erst am 30. Oktober 2015 fand hier die Taiwan KOM challange statt.

Unser Hotel heute ist das Ruixiong Hot Spring in Ruisui, Hualien.

Ich habe ein Video über die ersten zwei Tage erstellt. Es ist leider noch nicht fertig und ich will jetzt schlafen. Kommt aber bald!

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Day 2 – Formosa900 2015

Today we drove from Jiaoxi to Ruisui. A part of our journey was by train however. This was of course not due to lazyness: The street would have been very narrow and too dangerous to go by bike.

This time I had to leave Hualien without visiting Taroko National Park, but I have visited the park in the past and can recommend it. I wrote a detailed blog entry about it here. Hulien was by the way also the starting point of the bicycle event Taiwan KOM challange.

Our hotel tonight is Ruixiong Hot Spring in Ruisui, Hualien.

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Ich bin Radsportbotschafterin Taiwan’s 2015. Das heißt das Taiwan Tourismusbüro sponsert meine Teilnahme am Formosa900 2015 – einer Radrundreise um die Insel Taiwan.  Was ich hier schreibe ist meine davon unabhängige ehrliche Meinung. //  I am currently on a trip sponsored by the Taipei Tourism Office in Germany. As part of this campaign, four bicycle ambassadors get to participate at the bicycle event Formosa900. In return, we share our experience by for instance writing blog posts. While I therefore not have to pay for this trip, what I write in this blog is my own, true opinion.

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Taichung with friends

Today I moved to a cheaper hostel where I stay for one night in a dorm room. It’s also close to the train station and it’s called Auntie Julie’s House. It was a bit difficult to find, as there is no sign (at least I didn’t see one) outside. But looking for the number of the house worked. It is actually just one apartment inside of a large house. The hostel consists of one room with 8 beds, two tables with a computer, some closets and lockers and an adjoining bathroom. The lady who is renting the beds was very nice and the room seems clean enough. For the price of 463 NTD, I am satisfied.

Antie Julie's Hostel Taichung

After switching my hostel, I went to Mode Mall at the rear side of the Taichung train station. It also has a big Carrefour supermarket, some food stalls and of course many shops. On the way to the mall I got my first tea at a street stall this time in Taiwan. I bought it from Mr. Wish. It was soooooo yummy!!! And I loved that it had pieces inside to chew, really great. I missed those drinks in Germany!

Tea by Mr. WischMode Mall Taichung

Walking in the area of the train station, I discovered an amazing souvenir shop: Dawncake Miyahara. The shop is in a beautiful building which was originally an eye-clinic. They have ice cream and beautifully packaged cakes (for instance sun cake or pineapple cake). The ice cream is supposed to be great, maybe I will try it when I go there next time. And I will surely go another time: Before my return to Germany I would like to buy souvenirs here.

dawncake Taichung

It’s so yummy, also ants can’t resist:

Dawncake ants

Afterwards I met with friends that I know from my semester abroad in Taiwan. They are great girls and I missed them a lot after my return to Germany. Our teamwork for university was one of my favorite activities during my semester here. Momo picked me up at the train station and we went by scooter to 香蕉新樂園. It is a really nice restaurant which looks awesome inside. A bit like a museum: with old school tables, ancient movie theatre equipment and much more. Great for taking fun pictures!

香蕉新樂園 restaurant decoration

lunch at 香蕉新樂園

Group picture in 香蕉新樂園

Picture in 香蕉新樂園 movie theatre equipment

School setting in restaurant

Today we wanted to visit Ming Fang Orchid Farm, But we finished lunch too late and couldn’t have made it before they closed at 6 pm. We will try to go when I stop in Taichung again at the end of my trip through Taiwan.

But regarding Orchids, at least I can confirm that they are used as decoration in many places here. And I think the Orchids or sets of Orchids used for decoration here are much bigger / more beautiful that the ones you see in Germany.

Orchid as decoration

Of course we also had to re-visit Feng Chia nightmarket. I just loved to come here for shopping or eating yummy snacks. I was really excited to see it again. Unfortunately I was still too full from lunch to enjoy the snacks. 😉

Feng Chia Nightmarket

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I am currently on a trip sponsored by the Youth Trekker Wanted Campaign. As part of this campaign, young people from around the world get to travel Taiwan with a budget from the organizers. In return, we write daily blog posts during our trips. While I therefore not have to pay for this trip, what I write in this blog is my own, true opinion. For more information on the activity, check http://youthtravel.tw/youthtrekker/. I am also posting my blog entries on an official activity blog here

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Say Hello to Mr. Rucksack!

Tomorrow morning I will get into a plane heading to Taiwan, I will travel alone – no wait! I’m not alone! There is also Mr. Rucksack!

Usually i like to travel with suitcases. But I figured that for some trips a backpack is just much more convenient. For Taiwan a suitcase is also fine. But as I will also visit Orchid Island, I think a backpack might be a better choice.

Especially because I like suitcases, I bought a backpack which is a little bit like a suitcase. I chose the Traveller 55 + 10 SL from Deuter. As the name suggests, it can carry 55 litres and includes a daypack which I will use as hand luggage in the plane and for day trips in Taiwan. I hope this backpack really is good quality and will last me for many trips.

What I like about Mr. Rucksack is that it can be packed nearly like a suitcase. It also has several small nets for storing smaller things. Let’s see if I still like Mr. Rucksack after carrying him on my back for the next two weeks!!

Deuter Traveller

See you soon in Taiwan!

 

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Just one week after our trip to Kaohsiung, it was time for the next trip: a short trip to Hong Kong. As this blog is supposed to be about Taiwan, I will not add too much details about that trip.

Magalie and Leila really wanted to visit Hong Kong and Macau. After some consideration I decided to join them. When will I ever be in Asia again with the opportunity to travel around? I booked my return flight a bit earlier than them in order to not miss too many classes (but finally it turned out that the two classes I really didn’t want to miss didn’t take place in that week…) Anyways: I was in Hong Kong from Friday evening to Tuesday morning. And because of severe laziness it took me until now to write a blog post about it 😉

We booked two different hostels in Hong Kong. On short notice we couldn’t find one good hostel that was available for all 4 nights.

For the first night we stayed at Yesinn@Fortress Hill hostel. On hostelworld.com it had rather well ratings and the location is totally fine. Our night there was ok. We met nice people in the mixed dorm room. The room was clean enough but due to 8 people sharing the room it wasn’t perfect.

For the other three nights we stayed at New Peking Guest House in Chungking Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Road. In that hostel we got a three-bed room for ourselves. That was very pleasant. The room looked really clean and we had nothing to complain about… besides 2 small cockroaches that we met in our room. The first one I managed to kill. The second one disappeared before we could find appropriate weapons. You can imagine how I felt about having to sleep just 1 meter from where we last saw it… But all in all I can recommend this hostel if you like a private room. The employees there were also very friendly and helpful.

 

After I had left back to Taichung, Magalie and Leila tried the Yesinn @Causeway Bay hostel and really liked it. It must have been much better than the other hostels and there was even a massage chair in the hostel 😮

View from a bar

Food stall somewhere in Hong Kong

The very touristic ladies market in Hong Kong offers many souvenirs. I guess the quality is not very high though. The shopping is made very difficult by the fact that one has to bargain the price. It seems to be normal to get around 50% of the original price. I constantly felt that I had paid too much. But when I asked for a cheap price the seller got angry and walked away from me ^^ I had bought very pretty hair accessories… but unfortunately I have already broken one of them 😦

One of the highlights of our trip to Hong Kong was the yummy food at Tim Ho Wan Dim Sum restaurant. This restaurant is very famous as it was rated with Michelin Star AND it is really cheap. If it had been really expensive I maybe wouldn’t recommend it so highly, but with this price you just have to give it a try! The only thing to consider: Long waiting time! We queued outside of the restaurant for maybe an hour or something. It is a very small place with not many seats. (On the picture above you can see us with 2 of the 3 deserts the restaurant offers.)

Fitting to the topic of food: We also went to a special dessert restaurant in Hong Kong: Chung Kee dessert. There one apparently also has to queue usually. But we were lucky and got a seat without any waiting time.

 

 

A place you shouldn’t miss in Hong Kong is Sushi One – we just loved it! That really was the best Sushi I ever had. And the good thing: After 10 pm you get 50% on most Sushi! But there is a minimum charge per person of 80 Hong Kong dollars. So be aware that you have to spend it, 50 % or not. But including the 50 % offer you can get a lot of Sushi for 80 dollar! 🙂
We actually weren’t aware of that minimum charge. There is just one sign at the entrance and nobody told us when we started ordering. I had ordered for around 60 dollars, so I could have ordered the missing 20 dollars without trouble. But my friends had just wanted to try a bit and were upset by the surprising minimum charge. They then discussed with the waiter and finally they let us go without the minimum charge. 😉

So besides eating and shopping, what did we do in Hong Kong?

For one day, we went by cable car to Lantau island. The island is very touristic and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The view from the cable car is really nice, but we had to queue an eternity to get in the cable car… At least we got a bit of “extra time” for our trip in the cable car: Just as we were above the water, the cable car stopped… There was some kind of signal problem. And it took the cable car a few attempts to start again. In case you ever want to visit Lantau island: You do not have to take the cable car to go and to come back – going by bus is cheaper! We just bought a one way ticket for the cable car and had no problem to take a bus to come back.

On the way to the cable car station

Beautiful view from the cable car

And the view in the cable car 😉

We also went to Star Avenue in Hong Kong to watch a light show they have every evening. The light show is at 8 pm every day.

Even if it is not a main attraction of Hong Kong, we also visited a beach:
The beach was nothing special, but it was nice to relax. The food there was really expensive.

On my last evening in Hong Kong we ate yummy indian food. In Taichung we had found it a bit difficult to find indian restaurants, so we were really happy about the opportunity to eat there in Hong Kong. Also I was totally excited about the chance to drink a “salted Lassi”. That is a yoghurt drink with salt. In Taiwan yoghurt is always with sugar, I really miss natural or salted yoghurt.

Now that I overcame my laziness to write about Hong Kong, there are many other blog posts waiting to be written. 😉 For example about food in Taiwan! And about university: We just have midterm week where some assignments and presentations are due.

But for today I spend enough time in front of my computer – I will go to a Yoga class now 🙂
(Last week I managed to go to Yoga 3 times!!)

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