There are many bicycle routes in and around Hualien that will allow you to discover beautiful vistas of the East Coast but also countryside neighbourhoods, hiking trails, and waterfalls.
I still remember the first day we went to our beach. It used to be her beach, the spot Emma chose to go swimming almost every day, meeting fishermen sometimes. I was following her racing her bike, trying to memorize every turn and streets, and was a bit confusing when I first arrived. It’s not a sandy beach. It’s a rocky beach, not really a beach, with a lot of garbage from the Night Market. But there was something extremely extraordinary about having the chance to go swimming every day. Because that’s exactly how it felt: a chance.
I knew the rock formations I came here to see were there, on the other side of the road. By the sea. But there was a path just here, leading to the mountains. I couldn’t help but follow it. It was a bit muddy and slippery and started to get narrower and narrower as I walked into the jungle. The butterflies and dragonflies were dancing all around me, in a festival of colours.
The beauty of Jiufen lies mainly in its narrow alleyways and its famous night market where you’ll easily become like Chiriho’s parents – meaning you’ll probably want to taste everything you’ll see. The famous A Mei teahouse will make your heart sing when the red lanterns get lit when darkness comes. I think it’s the most photogenic place in all Jiufen – meaning you’ll probably have to queue to take a photo.
Everything has an ending. Except for sausages which have two.
New Zealand. This time, that’s the end.
I’ve been thinking and thinking again about my last weeks in New Zealand. I’ve even done a list of what I wanted to achieve: hiking the Tongariro Crossing, seeing Mount Taranaki, watching the sunrise in Gisborne, going back to Napier, helping again in Hahei Beach, doing a HelpX in a Maori family, going to a yoga retreat, tramping for a few days,… My list was as long as a novel. Almost a year passed away and yet there was still many experiences I wanted to have before leaving. It drove me mad to try to make my last moments in New Zealand meaningful and unforgettable.
It only took one English guy to finally let this go.
The countdown has started. I have a little bit more of two weeks left here in New Zealand. This is the end of my last road trip, I’m leaving Flo for good this time.
We’re in Auckland. Auckland all over again. Auckland, my city of arrival. Auckland, the city of unforgettable encounters. Rainy Auckland, boring Auckland. You’ve seen nothing of New Zealand if you’re staying in Auckland, and yet, while travelling North Island, Auckland is where all the roads are leading to. I’m leaving Auckland with relief every time and yet I keep coming back there.