This was Ryan's last day with me in Taiwan before heading back to Japan so it was our chance to fit in those things we hadn't seen yet but wanted to see. Our first stop of the day was to the National Palace Museum. They don't allow photos to be taken inside so I only have pictures of the outside.
And pictures from the front of the building looking out over the courtyard and the apartments across the street.
The museum was busy, mostly with large tour groups that ended up clogging up a lot of the areas around the major pieces to see. At some points we could barely get around the groups. Tour guide after tour guide would stand in front of something and talk about it there. Honestly, if I was a tour guide or had a museum, I would ask that the guide share their commentary just off to the side and then allow the group members to approach the item on their own and take turns looking. It was a total mess to watch groups of 20-30 people pack themselves in to hear the guide who was standing right up at the artifact. The good news is that after a couple of tries we did get in to see the famous jade cabbage.
Really lovely courtyard area at the museum.
These are the front gates to the museum. Because we took a taxi here we didn't enter through the gates. We only saw them as we excited and got a return taxi.
Our next planned stop was to Longshan Temple. We had plans to find lunch nearby but that was a total FAIL! At least we found a bakery nearby and were able to get some tasty bread to hold us over.
Here is Longshan Temple, one of the more famous temples in the city. Of course by the time we were pretty "templed-out" and it was extremely hot out, so we didn't spend too much time here. Just long enough to walk around it once and take some pictures.
I can say that the stone carvings on the columns were absolutely amazing!
Incense burners are an essential part of a temple. I like them at the Taiwan temples because of the dragons.
As usual, lots of ornate decorations around the building.
I loved this stone carving with the octopus!
As I mentioned earlier, it was a really hot day, and we missed lunch (ok, the place we picked for a late lunch closed between lunch and dinner so we had to wait a little longer than planned). Plan B worked just as well, which was to go back to Ice Monster. Hey, it was our last chance to get another one. And they are so good!
We also enjoyed some Starbucks while we cooled off (I know, that's hot coffee, but we wanted AC). And we went into the Hello Kitty store near Ice Monster. Here is a machine to make Hello Kitty pancake bites. My sister would have ordered these...twice!
After a little waiting (and some eating), Balle Balle was open for dinner. What was the big deal and why did we wait instead of finding another place open when we wanted a late lunch? Because this restaurant was listed as #1 on TripAdvisor for restaurants in Taipei. And we love Indian food!
We started off with some pappadum and dipping sauce.
I ordered the most amazing drink. I have no idea what it was called, but it had black pepper in it! And ginger! It was so refreshing and I never imagined something with black pepper in it would be refreshing.
For an appetizer we shared this paneer dish. We are both huge fans of paneer so I couldn't resist this grilled dish. It was amazing! If we were hungry, we would have ordered a second serving.
Then we had a curry dish with some basmati rice, which was also very awesome.
And of course naan! We left so stuffed! I absolutely recommend trying this place out if you are in Taipei.
After the meal we were stuffed so walking sounded like a great idea. It was, but mostly because we stumbled into some sporting events. The first was the Jones Cup for basketball. We didn't get to see team USA play, but we did see them at the event.
Then we passed by a soccer stadium and it was open with a game going on, so we went in and watched for a little bit. Not sure if it was a professional team, college, or high school. They seemed so tiny down there!
Well, that does it for my time in Taipei with Ryan. He left the next morning and my conference started. More posts to come...I still have the conference to write about and the final day of sightseeing after the conference ended. It was a great time with Ryan there and I was sad to see him go!
QUESTIONS: Have you ever toured a museum with a tour guide? Where was the best Indian food you have ever tried? Have you ever gone to a sporting event while on vacation?