It was mid-afternoon by the time I reached Taipei. Immediately I noticed how much nicer everyone was and how responsive they were (and willing to speak English) which was a nice welcome after a not-so-great experience in China!
I stayed just near the main station in Taipei so reaching my hostel was pretty easy. The staff were super lovely and I had a good chat with a Canadian about his experience teaching English around East Asia. I went and had dinner just nearby in one of the malls. I got noodles and BBQ pork buns which were really great!! I passed by 7/11 for some snacks then headed back to the hostel.
On Friday I had the breakfast provided at my hostel which was suprisingly good - just some fruits and an omelet. My first stop was the museum of world religions which was really really cool! It took me a bit to find it but the lady who met me when I arrived was so good and gave me a cool run down and then the audio guide did the rest! After that I went by the National Library which was huge! Navigating around is pretty easy but it started raining which wasn't fun! I headed back to the hostel and arranged to meet up with a couple of couchsurfers for dinner nearby. One was from Italy and the other from Canada - they were both doing Asia travels and very lovely! We had dinner and then walked back past the 2/28 peace park monument which was beautiful at night! Later on I headed in to the city to see the 101 building and planned to go out but then got chatting with an expat from Britain so just hung out talking for a couple of hours!
Saturday I met up with Alan and his parents who showed me around! It was awesome spending time with family, albeit distant-by-a-marriage relatives haha! They showed me a lot of truly Taiwanese things and fed me a lot of food I would never eat myself (like whole baby squids!). We went to the Yehliu Geopark and saw the famous Queens Head naturally-made sculpture and then drove through Keelung which is where Grandad met his wife Tenney! Alan said his parents had came here with Amanda as well when she's visited before! We also stopped by a fish market which was really cool and Alan's parents told me a lot about pricing and freshness! We got back to Alan's and just relaxed for a bit before heading out to meet his friend Mary and go to a night market. We just wandered around having a little bit of all different foods - grass jelly dessert, bubble tea, muji and more! We went and sat on the foreshore for a bit and just chatted which was loved. Mary works at the school Alan is doing his military service at, up the mountain. Her class is third grade and she has just 2 students!! I had a really good night! We went back to Alan's afterwards and I had a beer with his dad - I got told I can drink like my grandad hahaha!
On Sunday I went out to see the National Palace Museum which was beautiful! The exhibitions have a lot of ancient Chinese relics which were cool, and everything was in English which I liked! I went to meet Alan and his parents again in the afternoon. They took me to see the changing of the guards ceremony which was really really cool to see!! We also stopped just near the airport and watched a plane come in over our heads and land - it was incredible to actually see because I never have before! On the way back we stopped at a little cart of the side of the road and got some fried foods (including parsons noses which was yuck haha apparently grandads favourite!) then just chilled out at their home and ate together. I'm so glad they showed me around. I have such good memories from when we were younger and Alan lived wth Grandad - it was great to meet up in Taiwan! After I left them I went in to see 101 at dusk which was beautiful!
Monday morning I got up and headed back to the airport. A short trip but I will definitely be back again! Next stop: Hong Kong!