So the plan was to go to Taroko Gorge in Hualien after TaiChung. Unfortunately, there is no direct train from TaiChung to Hualien as the train lines in Taiwan run only in the North/South direction. A journey by car from TaiChung to Hualien would take about 8 hours. 😕
Although there would be lovely scenery along to way from TaiChung to Hualien, but as roads are constantly wet with rain, and the route being a rather risky one with winding mountainous roads, AND an eight hours journey, we (or rather I, being the planner) decided to take the high-speed train back to Taipei and from there, a train to HuaLien.

So we went according to plan to check out of the love motel and went for our train ride back to Taipei. When we figured out the locations of our seats, and were getting ready to get settled down, I noticed something of grave concern. Where was my husband’s camera bag???? 😳 We stared at each other and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand how we missed his camera bag and I have no idea where it might be? Was it in the taxi? Or in the motel? We decided it must have been left at the love motel, where it was neglected while we were loading our luggages onto the taxi!

I know it seems as though quite some time has passed while we were having these lengthy thought processes but it wasn’t. When we decided the bag was left behind in the motel, he thought we should all disembark and go for the bag. I hesitated because I wasn’t sure if we should have a strategy first. All it took was a moment of hesitation for the train to pull away from the platform! 😯

So we had no choice but to endure the train ride until when we could stop at the next stop to take the next train back to TaiChung. So while on the train, my first call was to the Love Motel. Indeed the bag was left at the motel (thank goodness!) and the staff arranged for a taxi driver to send us the bag. All we have to do was to pay the driver. That sounds really good and it went really well! 🙂

We sought the help of the conductor and she gave us a small booklet of the timetables of the trains. Which resulted in a mad rush from one platform to another to get onto the trains. Note: the train tickets have a validity of 3 hours or something like that. So, long story cut short, we made it back to Taipei by 2pm but we had already missed our train to HuaLien, with all our belongings intact. 😛

So after all that ‘excitement’, we made do with a bowl of beef noodles. 😉

Beef noodles with loads of spring onions

We were supposed to take the Taroko express train to reach Hualien at 2 plus, and to catch the hotel shuttle at 3.30pm. We were unable to convert our Taroko express ticket to a later timing but were allowed to take non-express trains to Hualien without reserved seats. So we had to stand and grab empty seats for a 3 hour plus train ride, and to give up the seats when the rightful owner comes along. 🙄

So, we finally reached Hualien train station at 4plus and could only take the last shuttle which was scheduled at 5.30pm. By the time the shuttle left the train station to head to our hotel (Silks Place), day has became night. Maybe what happened was just meant to be….cos we had a most amazing drive up Taroko to Silk Place. It was dark and the road up the mountains had no lamp-posts. So it was a bit of scary drive in the sense that it was all dark and while we see rocks all round, it was too dark to see what’s really surrounding us. It was surreal to drive up Taroko in the dark! An experience, more than enough to make up for our ‘day adventures’. 😮

We were really anticipating our tour of Taroko the next day. Did I mention that we had a Taroko Gorge view in our room? One of the rare times when I’m eager to wake up when first light dawns. 😆

View from our room

That's all that's visible in the dark