Today marks the first day of solitude on the road. I left the others to explore the south and I am making my way up north again back to Taipei/the hotel. No matter how good the company is, I do like to travel alone, independent, a lone ‘wolf’ stalking the land for preys. In this case preys are 1: vegan food 2: amazing cycling roads 3: beautiful scenery 4: the right exit 5: the accommodation for the night 6: sun screen.
So I left the hotel around 9, cycled again along the lake to a bike shop to buy a puncture repair kit (pronounced as: 穿刺修理包 ) and went off. As I was cycling I quickly realized that the sun moon lake is actually encapsulated in mountainous area, while the first landmark I was heading for were river basins. My genius math brain therefore calculated that I would be going more downhill than uphill the first 30 +/- kilometers. Well this Einstein brain was right! Cruizin’ as a professional cyclist – which I am not! – I was eating apples and enjoying life. I reached the first set of rivers before lunchtime and I was very satisfied with the result.
‘You rise, you fall, you are down and you rise again!’. James hetfield (2009)
The next part of the trip was eloquently summarized by the great philosopher of last century and part time metal guitarist and singer of Metallica, James Hetfield. A basin is not related to the world ‘base’ just for fun. A basin is at base level and well, Taiwan is mountainous so I was time to put my legs into the next gear and conquer those mountains!
However, it might sound simple when you read this, but it was hard, hard work. The air was extremely humid, wrapping me in a thick, unwanted blanket. The sun too put the icing on the very hot cake and voila, I was puffing and sweating my way up.
I was making little progess. Not because I was struggling to climb (okay maybe a little) but because the scenery was – again – out of this world. I stopped on many occasions photographing and filming the landscapes and me in the landscapes. I couldn’t help but force myself to continue in order to make it in time for the hotel.
Despite the scenery, cycling 110km in total up and down does get tough after a while. No matter how many apples (4) or bananas (3) I was eating, tiredness was creeping in my legs. Google maps promised me just 6 kilometers to the hotel, which was away from the main road. Eagerly I was looking to the mountain to see if I could see something that resembled a hotel. However, it was at the other side of the mountain. The last 6 kilometers promised to be the sweatiest, stuffiest, hottest, puffiest(?) of them all. It took me at least an hour to cycle these steep roads. The incline was constantly above 5% and went well to 12% at some times.
Google maps and I had a small argument where exactly the hotel was (google was wrong) and a local helped me finally the right way to the hotel. Now I am writing this after finishing a 7 course (Vegan!) meal for just 15 euro’s on a bed in a Taiwanese B&B in the middle of nowhere.
Life is good and I’m glad I took another exit on this trip. Don’t forget the livestream tomorrow at 9:00 GMT+1 to follow my journey!