Taiwan, Day 2: Houtong Cat Village, Shifen Old Street, Jiufen

Yesterday my cousins Cindy and Can Li with their husbands Daniel and Opel picked us up from the hotel. They brought their two adorable young daughters. I see them on Facebook all the time, so it was so good to see them in real life. We also met Mina and her family in Hutong, and that was wonderful too. Even while there are language barriers, they have a warmth and kindness that I so appreciate. They planned the entire day to bring us to all these places. It was so kind, and so lovely.

We first went to Houtong Cat Village.  According to Amusing Planet, "Houtong is a small mining town located in Rueifang District of Taiwan, a district renowned for its rich, well-preserved railway culture with the old Yilan Line which was built during the Japanese colonial period for transporting resources out of northern Taiwan." Source with more details. It was beautiful to see the lush green Taiwan country side everywhere we went and to see this old village.

Click a photo to view larger.

Next we went to Shifen Old Street. We made our own lantern to release into the sky. It was really cool! You are supposed to write wishes on them. I don't have wishes as much as I have desires. I desire to do well at my job (and stress less, oye). I desire to find a good man/partner in life. I desire for my son to know God. I didn't write all that at first, but I did add more after what I had written initially. Then I added a TMNT for Caleb and also Toothless.  :) 

As a side note on this in thinking about wishes and desires-Because I know God, I can put my hope and assurances in him. He has my best interest at heart and knows my desires. What will ever come of that? I don't know. This can be hard. But I do know that he is the living God who is the source of life and hope. Praise God for that.

Images from Shifen. Click to view larger.

Lastly, we went to Jifuen. I loved it, of course. This city had narrow winding streets lined with brightly lit lanterns. Stuffed full of shops with local food, produce, goods and more, it's a place I would love to spend more time at. So glad we got to go there. 

So far this trip, I have eaten a large array of foods outside my normal pallet. Jifuen has some famous foods that I tried. As richly wonderful of an experience going through Jifuen Old Street is, perhaps what I loved more was ending the night at Jiu Fen A Mei Tea House. Every time I looked away, I had more Oolong tea in my cup. I am good with that because I love tea and drink it every day all day!

Click to enlarge photos of Jifuen Old Village and the Chinese Tea House. 

What an incredible day with sweet, generous, kind hearted people. I appreciate them so much, and it amazes me how you can be family with people you have not seen in twenty five years but still be able to connect with and love. Thank you to Mina and her family, Opel & Candy, and Cindy & Daniel for taking us along.

Sending you love.

And now, on to day 3!