A more leisurely start allowed plenty of time to try the various delights of the buffet breakfast again. It was only a short drive to our first stop in Taroko Gorge, Chimu Bridge (also known as Marble Bridge) with its magnificent lions and neatly laid crazy marble path. Our coach had dropped us off in a safe place.After a quick look from the bridge we made our way up a gravel path to this small temple.From up high we had a terrific view to the bend in the river.From there we were able to explore on foot along the former road through an area known as the Tunnel of Nine turns. Excellent infrastructure.Around the bend the view was stunning.Here’s the view looking back the other way from where we had come.On our return walk we stopped to read the information boards a bit more. One of them informed us that this tiny stream (the Kelan River) comes down from the mountains high above to join the Liwu River which flows through Taroko Gorge.The cascade at the bottom spilling down from behind the rocks is known as Fish Leaping Over The Dragon’s Gate.Along the way different windows angling in different directions gave us a steady stream of impressive views.Half an hour further along the gorge we stopped again. This time to see evidence of former bridges and roads.Twenty minutes more along the road we came to the Eternal Spring Shrine.Sadly it was on the opposite side of the gorge to where the road was so this was as close as we could get to it. There was also a small shrine to the roadworkers who had built all the tunnels, engineering and roads over the years to allow access for tourists and visitors.Time allowed for a couple more quick photos on the way back to the coach.I liked this one as I had managed to capture a small reflection of the cliffs in the water below in the middle of the photo. We continued on about fifteen minutes more to exit the gorge at the Taroko Gateway. Sadly it was drizzling rain so we didn’t stay out of the coach very long.A bit further down the road we stopped in Sincheng Township for an early lunch. Our guide pointed out a few options but recommended this noodle restaurant which just about all our group opted to eat at. Their speciality was beef noodles which were excellent and very cheap (about $3).The vegetarian option, which Karen ate, was only $2.After lunch we waited in the front courtyard for the coach to back in. To our surprise and delight we noticed an Australian native plant, a Callistemon, growing in their garden.A further hour up the coast towards Taipei we had our final stop. The first reason was that the Qingshui Cliffs are very spectacular (shame it was still drizzling rain a bit) and the second was that much of the remaining journey would be through a series of tunnels and along freeways so this was a final ‘comfort stop’ as well. Note the tunnel entrance mid way up on the left.Back in Taipei we farewelled our fellow travellers and were driven in a taxi back to our hotel. It had been a memorable trip and we would highly recommend travelling through Taiwan to anyone.
Checking in proved to be a small drama however. Their management had instigated a ban on all newly arrived international travellers. Fortunately after showing our passports to prove we had been in Taiwan more than a week and a phone call to a manager, the duty manager agreed to check us in. We duly had our temperature taken and received a free spray bottle of hand sanitiser. Interestingly our room was the nearest room to the reception area and we didn’t see any other guests in the 18 hours we were there. We returned to Tutto Fresco, a nearby restaurant for dinner. I had a delicious salmon dinner and Karen ate a Caesar salad.With our onward flights to Fukuoka in Japan coming up the next day and the corona virus worsening in many parts of the world we struggled to get to sleep but eventually managed it.