We took the train from Songshan to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. This is a great plaza in the middle of the city with a huge open space in the very center surrounded by museums and performance art centers. The last time I was here, there was a huge art display of statues in the middle of the plaza. We walked through the plaza, enjoying the completely unobstructed plaza as we walked toward the actual memorial. As you walk up the steps of the memorial you get a great view of the city behind you and in front of you is a statue of Chiang Kai Shek. This is a great place to check out because there is so much history. You can actually go further into the memorial and learn more but we didn’t have enough time to do that. We also missed the changing of the guards, but I heard it’s supposed to be pretty cool.
After taking an absurd amount of selfies there, we made our way to LongShan Temple. This is one of the older temples located in Taipei with it’s own MRT station. We showed up when they were doing a buddhist chat which is an overwhelming feeling.
For me, regardless of whether I am religious or spiritual, there is something to be said about standing in a crowd with people who are so engrossed in something that brings joy to them. They are all there for the same basic reason but with different motivations for bringing them there. There were hundreds of people all in the same small space reading the same thing, saying the same thing and it was doing something to enrich each and everyone of their lives. I love being in environments like that because it shows that people are present, they are focused, they are not distracted by the outside world. They are there, in that moment and nowhere else. We walked through the temple, light some incenses and walked out of the temple.
After LongShan, we crossed the street to a bakery called 85degrees. They actually have these in Los Angeles so if you need a quick fix of delicious pastries, check it out. I have a ridiculous love of Chinese pastries (as you can probably tell from our breakfast) and so I had to buy some for the road. During this time, we managed to lose one of our friends and couldn’t figure out how to get wifi so we just left. You see, we are all adults so we thought he could figure it out. Probably not the nicest thing to do but we weren’t quite sure how else to find him at this point.
We headed back to the MRT station and made our way to XiMenDing. This place was actually in my nightmares leading up to this trip. You see, when you pop out of the XiMenDing MRT station, you pop out into crowds. There’s so many people because it is where all the kids like to go shopping and it’s always crowded. I had nightmares leading up to this moment that I would have our entire group with me, we would split up there and when it was time to leave I would be missing a few people and not know how to find them. But thankfully I only had a few people with me this time so it was all good. Plus everyone wanted to go to the same stores so that made life so much easier. After shopping we were walking back to the train station and I found 50Lan. This is my favorite bubble tea place of all time. It is my favorite in the entire world potentially because it is nostalgic for me but regardless, I was very excited when I found it. You’ll recognize this chain because they are typically smaller hole in the wall shops with bright yellow awnings that have a blue circle and white writing with the name 50Lan in it.
After 50Lan we headed back to the Taipei Main Station for the remainder of our night….