Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alishan's Cherry Blossoms 阿里山的櫻花季

On March 9 & 10, we went on a family trip to Alishan in Chiayi County in central/southern Taiwan. Well, it was supposed to be a family outing, but James sprained his foot badly the day before and the doctor advised him to stay home. So just three of us went. We can always go again some time.
The real start to our adventure, as you will see below.
This little diesel train, and another further up the hill, were going to spend the next four hours transporting us to our destination.
The early stages of the train ride. Normal weather and plenty of betel nut trees (a cash crop that is not environmentally or medically friendly).About half way (a little above one thousand meters) and above one set of clouds. Morrison is already warmly dressed.

Somewhere in the middle of the trip we had to change trains which involved a 15-minute walk over hilly and muddy trails - all because of a landslide some time ago that broke the line in two.

As the afternoon wore on, we would occasionally see some nice cloud formations (now about 1,600 meters)

After we reached the end of the journey and our hotel at 2,200 meters and about 7 degrees celsius, we went out to eat our evening dinner - hot pot!The next morning we were up early and joined a prearranged tour that would take us to see the sunrise.

Two of the many sacred trees that we saw during our stay.

We were fortunate to see the sun as not every morning is clear.
The scenery up here (at 2,700 meters) is a lot different from what one usually has at sea level.
Some trees made people look like midgets.
The cherry blossoms that we saw later the same morning were the highlight of our trip, the icing on the cake as it were.

Hsiu-chin even had the clothes to match!
Many people have seen Christmas trees with lights, but they cannot compare with a Tokyo cherry tree like this. (To see the flowers more clearly, click to enlarge image.)

This tree was located next to the Alishan hotel (which we did not stay at, but would consider doing so another time)
These blossoms are unbelievable (thanks Morrison for the pic)
Blossoms by the roadside.

There are trees everywhere and also a lot of blossoms.Two generations at the three-generation tree.

Certainly a nice place for a walk! We did not have a lot of time, unfortunately, at at this point we had to make plans to get back the the hotel to check out.
The 21st largest tree in the forest here. This one is still standing.
This sacred tree, after a life of two thousand years, in recent years (with the help of an earthquake) finally bit the dust. One wonders of the struggles that the ones still living are having to face just to survive in this day and age.
Sadly, the prearranged tour had us taken down the mountain in a 9-seater van. Had I been traveling the usual way I travel, I would have just got on this train instead (at Fenchihu station).
After we go back to the old Chiayi station, we caught a bus which took 20 minutes to reach Chiayi's high speed rail station. Then, we rode the shinkansen for 35 minutes. After another 10 minutes we were back home. I really think we need to go again. We did not see it all.

1 comment:

ShirleyPerly said...

What a wonderful trip!! Sorry your other son did not get to go. Truly lovely to see all those beautiful trees, blossoms and mountains. Thanks for sharing your trip photos with us. I nearly felt as if I were there myself.