our breakfast spot
The view by day was oh so lovely.
Our friendly waitress told us that we were lucky - it had been raining up to three days before our arrival and the river had been turned a murky brown.
We ordered two different breakfast sets, the healthy breakfast and the works.
eggs benedict with smoked salmon
The food at breakfast was better than that at dinner, but sadly it was nothing to write home about.
After breakfast, HM and I parted ways temporarily. She was headed to the spa for a "Special Target" package (this received a big thumbs up from HM) while I ventured out to the Tonghou Creek for a spot of birdwatching.
overlooking the Tonghou Creek
the Tonghou Creek
Tonghou Creek was a wellknown birding spot. I went on the bird trail, passing by the elementary school, a local graveyard and the river itself. The most spectacular sight were the flocks of yellow throated minivets (males red, females yellow) that flew from tree to tree across the river. Unfortunately my camera was just not up to the task of capturing that moment.
The weather got hotter and hotter. Having worked up quite a sweat from the walk, I headed back to the hotel.
No bangee - you tell 'em!
I finally had a good look at the hotel building...
Spring Park Urai hugging the bank
low impact architecture
... and even took a walk around the hotel grounds.
now that's a looker
The pool, though a beauty, was so small HM said it required one to invoke one's inner goldfish.
We had originally planned to return to Taipei City before lunch but we were loathe to leave our rather luxurious surroundings. In the end, the hotel kindly agreed to let us stay beyond checkout time. We had time for another soak and even a nap before having lunch at the Siliq Cafe.
tea and Bali
The Siliq Cafe (where we had had tea the day before) spooned out spa cuisine to the worldweary masses who frequented the hotel's public bath-house. As it turned out, the food at Siliq Cafe was rather good!
chef's special pumpkin soup
panfried sea bass with truffle wild rice
ricotta cheese pudding
It was light and tasty, and quite unpretentious (for spa cuisine, that is).
After lunch, we took the public bus and train back to Taipei and TS Hotel. The journey took more than an hour.
Back at the hotel, we took it easy.
whoa the biggest remote we have ever seen
We only headed out at dinner time. Our destination was Xiao Dong Ting, in the Datong area, a Japanese eatery that served cheap and good food.
It took us a while to locate the place, since it was off the beaten track as far as tourists go. We had almost given up when, as a last resort, we asked a betel nut seller where Lane 250, Nanjing West Road, was, and lo and behold, it was two lanes away.
inside this alleyway
a series of stalls
open concept "kitchen"
pot of oden
we sat inside
We ordered a range of items:
oden items including stewed radish and cabbage roll, with a special sauce
grilled fish jaws - two salmon and one mackerel
octopus and potato salad
Unbelievably, the bill came up to only NT$600 (S$30). For that price, the quality was unbeatable.
After dinner, we wandered into a branch of Xian Yu Xian aka"Meet Friend", a dessert chain in Taipei, for some lotus seed soy bean curd.
dou hua lian zi (NT$40/S$2)
With that, it was time for bed. We had another big excursion to look forward to the next day.