Returning to My Roots

Ever since we arrived in Taiwan, I’ve wanted to visit the city of Taichung. Currently the second biggest city in Taiwan (having surpassed Kaohsiung in this respect), it seems interesting with many interesting things to do. I have a friend who lived and taught at a local school there for many years, and she always spoke highly of the city. More importantly, one of my childhood homes–where I lived with my parents for a few years–is there. I was able to obtain from my father the address of the elementary school where I attended first grade, near which I had lived within walking distance.

My research proved my impressions of the city to be correct–Taichung is full of things to do. Within the city, there are temples, museums (of science and fine arts), a botanical garden, numerous parks (Taichung Park and Taichung Metropolitan Park, to name a couple), night markets, and various restaurants. In addition, Taichung, being the birth city of the bubble tea, also has many bubble tea vendors. Outside the city, near the shores, is Gaomei Wetlands, where people visit for bird-watching and sunsets.

Two weekends ago, we finally got a chance to visit the city with another family. We took the High Speed Rail (HSR) there, a trip that took only an hour or so. Once there, it was an easy walk to the TRA train station for the local train into Taichung City. Our hotel was located within walking distance of the Taichung City TRA station, so it was very convenient.

Taichung has an extensive and convenient public bus system, which we used throughout our time there. The best part of the system is that any trip under 10 kilometers is free. All our trips during this weekend were under that distance, so we rode the buses for free all weekend!

Because our time there was short, we had to pick and choose what we wanted to do. On Saturday, we were able to make it to the National Museum of Natural Science, where we spent hours exploring the museum and playing in the physical lab. We also got to see the one of the largest Laughing Buddhas in Taiwan at PaoChueh Temple and visit the peaceful grounds of the Taichung Confucius Temple. We visited Taichung Park with its beautiful lake and let our kids play at the playground there.

Sunday morning, after breakfast, we took the bus to the address of my former elementary school given by my father. It is now a junior high school, but the homes nearby haven’t changed much. After walking through the small lanes of homes, my son actually spotted my parents’ old house based on my descriptions! It was, obviously, much older and tired looking by now, and much smaller than I remembered. But seeing it filled me with nostalgia and memories.

Then we took a bus to the Rainbow Village, which used to provide housing for veteran soldiers and their families, but has been painted over with bright colors. It was quite a sight, so vibrant, interesting, and quirky.

Finally, it was time to go home. But we had seen enough to learn a little more about Taichung while feeling refreshed and relaxed from our getaway.

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