Taiwan 2011 Part 4 – Pingxi Railway Line, Jinguashi Gold Ecology Park, Sashimiya (平溪線, 金瓜石黃金博物園區, 三四味屋)

January 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Continues from here.

♥Dec 5th – Rain♥
We planned to do sight seeing today, taking the Pingxi (Pingshi) Railway Brunch Line (平溪線鐵路) which will bring us through sleepy mining towns which are famous for sky lanterns. Alas it was raining!

We thought since we’ll be taking the train, maybe we can still see some sights and with some luck, the rain might stop, so we stuck to our original plan.

After breakfast (of ham and cheese sandwitch, the standard breakfast Windsor B&B offers), we took the bus from Jiufen to Ruifang station, bought ourselves a Pingxi Railway all day pass (平溪線一日週遊券), which is TWD52 for adults and TWD26 for kids. The pass will allow us to hop on and off the train at the various stops along Pingxi Railway Line.

Despite the rain, the spirit was high. Zaria in raincoat

We chose Qingtong (Chingtung, 菁桐), the last stop on the Pingxi Raiway Line as our first stop.

The rain was quite heavy, so we only managed to walk around the station. Spotted a pagola hung with lots of bamboo wishesBamboo wishes

We dropped by a restaurant across the station, thinking of grabbing a quick bite. However, there was only 1 person working there, and he took time to make the drinks as well as cooked our pasta, making us miss our train. We had to wait for more than an for the next train.

In the rain, we really couldn’t do much. We had to kill time in the small station. Qingtong Station

Qingtong Station

Zara did drawings after drawings (she’s well prepared)Qingtong Station.

It was pure time wasting. By the time the train arrived, it was turning dark. We decided to go to Shifen (Shrfen, 十份). Our last stop. The rain was even heavier, but since we saw some sky lantern upon arriving, we went to search for the location where they were releasing the lanterns.

There were lots of shops along the rail way track providing such servies. You can purchase the lantern, write your wish on it, and then they will help you light it up so you can release it. We saw some Korean getting theirs done. Sky lantern.

Releasing sky lantern

3 of us getting back to the station (that was how we travelled the whole day)Walking in the rain

Shifen Station

We didn’t stop at Pingxi, and headed back to Ruifang for a simple roadside dinner (asked around and were told there was no restaurant near the Ruifang station), then took the bus back to our B&B in Jiufen.

It was a wasted day in my opinion due to the rain. Hmphh!

♥Dec 6th – Drizzle♥
The rain has subsided to a drizzle, which was good news to us. As we planned to go to Jinguashi (金瓜石) a small town notable for its historic gold and copper mines, about 10mins bus ride from Jiufen.

After breakfast, we checked out and left our bags at the B&B and then took the bus to The Gold Ecological Park (黃金博物園區) at Jinguashi.

The park has several attractions. The first we went to was The Japanese Style Residence (四連棟) which housed Japanese officials during WW2. Play room in the Japanese officials' Residence

The Restaurant at the Park to is themed. It’s called the Miner’s Canteen. You can get Miner’s lunchbox here, which is pork rice in a tin box with a set of cutlery wrapped in a scarf. Miner's lunch box

We had something Western. Nuggets and smiley fries for the girls.Zara having nuggets

Spagetti with a kind of watery pesto sauce (quite unlike our pesto) for Daddy.Spagetti with Taiwanese Pesto

Horrid testing sesame chicken mee-sua (wheat noodle) for me which I didn’t finish. Sesame chicken meesua

To give visitors an experience of being in an actual mining tunnel and understand the working conditions underground, the old Benshan Tunnel No 5 (本山五坑) was opened to public. We paid TWD50 to get a miner’s experience.

First you put on the hygience cap,Puting on a disposable hygiene capthen the hardhat.

Listened to some instructions then off we went to the tunnel.Getting ready to enter the tunnel

In the old Benshan Tunnel No 5

Then it was out for more adventure.

We have our hands on Gold Panning (淘金體驗) as well for TWD100 per head. God Panning Ticket

God Panning materials

The Gold Ecological Park has huge grounds, and pretty scenic, with an old rail track serving the tunnels.Around Gold Ecological Park

(Little one trying to hold her breath when we wanted to take a photo of her)Around Gold Ecological Park

What we missed was entering the Museum Of Gold, which you can actually touch and try to lift a 220kg 999 pure gold ingot.Museum Of Gold Building

The surrounding area of Jinguashi is very hilly.Jinguashi

There was a nice cafe around that area, but becasue it was quite far we gave it a miss.Cafe sign board

Instead we have dou-hua/taufu fa (豆花) instead at the park. Taufu Fa (豆花)

It then started to rain again, by the time we got back to Jiufen, it was pouring. Our plans to go to Keelung (基隆) has to be changed. We headed back to Taipei instead.

We decided to have a nice dinner, and selected a restaurant recommended by my guidebook.

Upon arriving at the Zhongxiao Fuxing (忠孝復興) metro station (where the restaurant is located), the girls were so happy to see all the various art works at the station.

3D art work showing all the famous Taiwan Snack.3D Art Piece

They were so attractive, Zaria requested photos to be taken.Taipei 101

The restaurant Sashimiya, better known by its Chinese name, 三四味屋, was a good choice, as the whole family loves Japanese food.

Here are some of the things we had. Chinese Yam (山藥) chips.Chinese Yam chips

Girls love the chips!Zaria eating Chinese Yam chips

Fried prawn.Fried prawns

Grilled chicken wings (for the little one, a chicken fan)Grilled chicken wing

Grilled OnigiriChinese Yam chips

We were back at Li Yuan Hotel for another 2 nights stay.

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