October 30, 2013

The advantages with volcanoes...

The pros and cons with a volcanic area

or  There is a hot spring bath in the bathroom! 

Being on a volcanic island has its pros and cons, it's ups and downs, it's good sides and bad sides.

Of course there is a real risk of earthquakes, even big ones - like the one September 1999, that I learnt more about at the Taiwan Earthquake museum 921. It is a very real thing that one has to be aware of and prepared for. And there are earthquakes from time to time, and we have them every week, more or less, even if most of them can't be felt except for in the very area where they occur. That's obviously the downside of being in a volcanic area, where there are volcanoes one can expect earthquakes from time to time. 
Scallions, "green onion"
But there are plenty of not so bad things about volcanic areas. And I am not referring to plenty of brime stone, that can be used to get baby smooth feet. I am thinking about other things! The minerals in the water, for example; Who needs mineral water in a bottle when you can just get a water filter and use the mineral water from the tap. It's also easier to get home, no carrying of heavy bottles (not to mention your water isn't transported on a truck around the world first, win win for the nature as well... 

The very fertile soil is another big pro - although it is not just the soil that makes it possible to grow almost anything in Taiwan, the tropical climate also helps.

Green and hilly Yilan county, North-East Taiwan
The amazing vegetables – not the least the spring onion (also called "green onion") that grow so well in the very fertile soil. It seems almost anything grows here, and is very full of flavour - even if you can only find some vegetables and fruits certain times of year, when they are in season. Thankfully as that ensures vegetables and fruits very rich in flavour, I might add.  

The fascinating landscape, to a great degree formed by the volcanoes and the earthquakes, another plus. It's also incredibly green here in Taiwan, I blame the tropical climate with lots of water and sun to some degree, but the hills and valleys would not be half as interesting if nature didn't keep changing due to the activities under the surface. 

Why not have a foot bath while waiting for the train... 
And then there are the hot springs. Natural hot springs spread out over the island but especially common on the East coast. Which, I know, is rather far from where I live from a Taiwanese perspective but next door for a Swede who is used to long distances. There are no buses - as far as I know - that crosses the island West to East, the high mountains are in the way for that, and all the trains are going north-south or south-north.  It doesn't really matter though, it is very easy to take a couch, the train or even the high speed train to Taipei and from there take the bus down to for example Ilan (Yilan) county (see link for the official county website). It's what I did last weekend; Because how can you resist a place that have so many hot springs that many of the flats have hot spring water directly in to their flat? In this area there are also said to be something as unusual as saltwater hot springs in this area. I have yet to try them, but it sounds fascinating. And I WILL come back, again and again, to this area; The food, the nature, the hot springs and the wonderful people, there is no doubt it is worth it. 

Because of course you would want to return to a place where even the waiting area outside the train station has a hot spring that you can bathe your feet in while waiting... The fact that there are flats with water from the hot springs directly into the bathroom makes it tempting to even move here, eventually.

Why not check it out?

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