Yangmingshan (陽明山)/ Zhuzihu (竹子湖); Taipei

Getting here: Bus 小9 (S9) from Beitou MRT (about 1 hour 45min)

The bus stop / buses up to Zhuzihu are easily identifiable, and the buses have placards against their front windscreens reading either 上山 (i.e. going up the mountain) or 下山(i.e. going down the mountain). The Beitou MRT is the first stop in the 小9 Beitou Zhuzihu route and securing a seat at first instance is generally not a problem. However, the bus is pretty small and tends to get crowded as the bus makes its way up the mountain.

We took the bus all the way to the end of the route, with the bus driver helpfully letting us know where to get off after confirming that our intention was to see the Calla Lily flowers at Zhuzihu. The weather seemed pretty decent when we started out, but it started raining en route and we were faced with an sharp dip in temperature when we got off the bus. The thermometer at the bus stop said that it was 11 degree celsius, but with the wind, it felt much colder. It was like winter had descended at the top of the mountain, and with strong gusts of wind and sheets of rain beating down on us, it was a rather wet and chilly visit. This also led to the demise of Mr. Umbrella who did not survive the merciless and unrelenting blows dealt by the wind.

Nonetheless, we decided to make the most of it experience and braved the rain to explore the area. It was pretty, and rural, was for the most part deserted. There were signs at some private gardens indicating charges for tourists who wanted to take photos (e.g. one of them said that tourists were not allowed to pick the flowers or to go in to take photos and that there was a charge of 50NT for so doing) but these gardens also appeared to be unmanned with no one in sight.

The attraction of the place, while ostensibly the flower fields, ended up being the sense of semi-isolation from civilization. It was however, too cold to enjoy the place for long and  after exploring for a while, we caught a bus down to get lunch and warm up again.

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