Monday, August 31, 2015

National Palace Museum - Taipei

Our first stop on our tour today was the National Palace Museum. At this point, let me say that this museum is definitely one of those places that  I would like to go again. I would pick my day though, and do research into what days have the least number of people. The museum itself was just fabulous, full of treasures! It was just such a shame that we couldn't get to see them as I would like. 

The day had already started late because our tour guide had stuffed up. As a result of this, our timing was out, and we had arrived at the museum along with lots of other tours and tour guides, so the queues were like sardines packed in a tin. We were given instructions about leaving pack packs at the front desk. We didn't have one, but others did, including two Asian girls who clearly couldn't follow instructions. We were at the door of the lift , ready to go up when security spotted the back packs. As a result, we were all pulled aside to wait until the girls did what they were told. More time wasted!

Our guide had a red flag that he held up for us to follow. Nothing new here, but why would two tour guides in the same building be allowed to carry the same flag? This just made for more confusion and more time wasted waiting for people to find the correct tour guide.

Once inside and on our way, I was stunned at such beauty. There were scrolls in coloured inks, one approx 10 feet long which was on loan from China. There was a whole room of jade, where I learned that it came in different colours. The jade carvings and jewellery were nothing short of stunning. Then there was whole room on bronze, where there were tools, carved mirrors, vessels, flasks plates and so much more. All were beautiful.

There were people everywhere, and I mean everywhere! I was lucky to get a short glimpse at the beautiful treasures on display, and of course there were no photographs allowed.

Walking back to the entrance, someone spotted a poster about a porcelain display, and asked if we were going to see that? The answer was no, we were running late for out next stop. After making such a fuss, the guide gave this person 10 minutes to have a quick look, so then a few more jumped on the bandwagon and went for a look too. I would have loved to go have a look, but we were following instructions. The remainder of us were allowed rest stops and to look in the museum shop.

Needless to say, we were all still waiting for these people 30 minutes later, and everyone was getting a little stroppy, and the search party went out.

The photograph at the top of this post is a view of the rafters in the front foyer of the museum. I was just fascinated by the pattern.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Taipei - A First Look

Travelling on the bus from Keelung into Taipei was pretty uneventful. There were a few interesting things along the way, but taking photos out of the windows of a bus while it is moving is a little difficult. Arriving in Taipei, it really was just like any other city. Lots of high rise, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, and lots and lots of motor bikes. Going into the buildings though is where it all changed, but more on that tomorrow.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

On the Road to Taipei Pt 4

Just some of the roof tops that we saw for the bus on our way to Taipei. This was over the barriers of the main road that we were travelling on, looking towards the mountains.

Friday, August 28, 2015

On The Road to Taipei Pt 3

Just another view out of the bus window on our way to Taipei. Just your typical high rise buildings, even with roof top gardens, and potted plants on balconies if we look closely. Nothing to much different from home.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

On the Road to Taipei Pt 2

Another of the buildings that we saw out the bus window on our way into Taipei. This one had roof decoration to the max, and there was an elaborate gate down in the grounds. Possibly a school or a hospital perhaps? I am not sure, but it is different than the last one I showed you and more Asian to look at.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On the Road to Taipei

This is just one of the many buildings that we saw from the bus window as we drove into Taipei. I am assuming it is multi story housing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


A view of Keelung as taken from the bus we were travelling in. We were finally on the bus and on our way into Taipei for our tour.

Although we were the first bus in the queue, we were the last to leave, many thanks to our dreadful tour guide. Although all of the seats on the bus were full, he still had names on his list that were not marked off, and he was on a search to find them. After waiting for quite some time for these names to show in person, our guide then decided to check his list against the passengers seated on the bus. More time wasted as he struggled to pronounce passengers names. After much ta doing, we were finally on our way, with a full bus, and over 30 minutes late in leaving.

As a result of this fiasco by our tour guide, we lost stops on our tour, and didn't get to see everything.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dining Room Art

How is this for ding room art? Slightly different to the artwork that I have in my own dining room at home. I had spotted this fellow a few times on the way to breakfast, so this morning I would capture him. Not quite sure what he is though, some creature out of Greek Mythology pehaps.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ready For Our Tour

Still standing on our private balcony on board our cruise ship, we could see all the buses lined up on the dock, ready to take passengers off on tour for the day. We were going on tour today, and I was looking forward to seeing the museum, along with other things listed on the tour description.

This was the day though that I learnt about tour guides, that we  just have to take what we get. We had been on guided tours heaps of times, most of which were fine and very informative. I had also learnt to ask questions over time, this way we got more information.

Today was different though, but more of that after breakfast.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A View

This was another view of Keelung that we had we had from our ship. We were on a tour today, and I had hoped that we would visit this temple (or whatever) high on this hill. Unfortunately not, but more about that later. At the moment, I was just enjoying this view before breakfast.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Standing high on hill above Keelung harbour, is the Buddhist statue of Kuanyin. Kuanyin is the Buddhist god of mercy. This particular statue stands at 22 meters high, and is well within that layer of smog

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Bridge

As we sailed further into the harbour at the Port of Keelung, I spotted this bridge rossing a narrow river of some kind that emptied out into the harbour. I am not sure what the river is, all I know is that it is covered in the eternal smog coming from China.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Port of Keelung

All I can say is this must be a busy port! Check out the number of cranes! There were a few ships in port, but not too many. The size of the ships are dwarfed by those cranes.

Also note that never ending haze, believed to be smog coming all the way from China.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Port of Keelung - First Glipmses

We had been travelling along the coast of Taiwan, and were now entering into the Port of Keelung. This boat was leading the way. Taiwan was certainly an interesting island, but lots more of that to come in later posts.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A working Harbour

A view of the harbour for you all, at least one section of it. Those cranes are massive, and we can see all the shipping containers all lined up on the dock ready to be lifted onto ships to be taken wherever. I guess they could fit quite a few ships along that dock at one time.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Another Lighthouse

A closer view of the lighthouse for you now. It doesn't look that big, but remember we were on cruise ship which had about 15 stories, and we were close to the top. Interesting being red an blue, a lot of the lighthouses I have seen have been white. They are all different though and I am sure that this one certainly did it's job

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Harbour Entrance

Believe it or not we were entering a harbour entrance. Not quit like the entrance to Sydney harbour, but it was still a harbour, and a working one at that. A few ships being loaded or unloaded with overhead cranes, the power station, and another lighthouse. This one was very different to the one leaving Okinawa.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Sea Wall

 We spotted this sea wall as we sailed along the coast. It does have a light at the end but I would not call it a lighthouse. On the coast we can see more settlement and what could be another power station.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Power Station?

As well as all the boats, towns and villages, we spotted this construction. I am tipping it is a power station, though I am not sure. A big eyesore on the edge of a pretty coastline spoiling the view. Though the inhabitants of this island do require power. That haze from China is still noticeable.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Hilly Coastline

Just some of the hills that we saw as we travelled along the coast. If we look close we can see little villages nestled right on the coastline.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Coastal Sailing

We were sailing along the coast to our next port of call. Along the way we spotted little towns hugging the coast, reaching up into the hillsides. There were also many boats going about their business, and that eternal smog coming from China.

Friday, August 7, 2015


We were back on the seas again sailing along the coast towards our next port of call. This is just one of the many boats that we saw in the late afternoon sun. Notice all the haze too. That haze, so I found out later, was all coming from China.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Okinawa, A Final Goodbye

This is the final view of Okinawa as we left the lighthouse, harbour, and city behind. Tomorrow would be a new day with another adventure.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

An Escort

An escort boat leading our cruise ship out of the harbour.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Sea Wall

This is the view of the light house at the end of a very long sea wall. It looks like it may be connected to land at the other end, but I think that land is another island. At the other end of the wall is a red lighthouse, and why would they put a light house there if it was connected to land?

I am not sure of the purpose of the wall is. Obviously it serves as a breaker to the waves coming in from the East China Sea, but there could be another purpose. It is one of the longest sea walls that I have seen.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Harbour Lighting

A close view now of the light house in the harbour at Okinawa as we sailed past it. 

I am a fan of light houses, and find them all so different, even though they serve the same function the world over. This is just one photo of an ever growing collection that I have. One day I am going to use them as inspiration for my stitching.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Lighthouse

The fist view of the lighthouse has we sailed past it leaving the harbour.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Leaving Okinawa

Our view of Okinawa as we left the harbour heading for the next part of our adventure.