June 21, 2014

The Top 5 things I miss when in Asia

The top 5 things - what I miss when in South East Asia

I promised myself once that I'd never do one of those "The Top 5 things I [fill in the blank]" lists.
It's a common trick to get readers to a blog and it's not quite my way of writing.

And then a friend (Joy at My Traveling Joy posted a list of the top things she miss when outside of her native country, USA, and it got me thinking. I quickly realised I can't make the same list or even a similar list – top five things that I miss from home: Home is where I leave my hat and I don't feel a stronger connection to one place over the other.

But there are things I do miss from Europe when I am in South East Asia.

Here they are, in no specific order

    Cheese. Real good, well matured cheese, cheese full of flavour. Especially hard cheese. Sure, you can find it in special stores in Asia, but it is not a part of the normal diet. And I am a cheese addict.

    I crave strong, well matured cheese, I just can't resist it; French cheese, Swedish hard cheese (hard to beat a well matured "Västerbotten" or a strong "Greve", both cheese very special for Sweden), Italian special cheese, a Portuguese Serra de Estrela, a sheep cheese, hard outside, soft inside, best eaten with a spoon and often relatively smelly - in short; Cheese is a passion, and it is difficult to enjoy that passion in South East Asia. But then again, I always found it difficult to find good cheese in Germany as well, the Germans are fantastic at other types of food but don't, is my experience, have a strong cheese culture. 

    June 14, 2014

    Step by Step - the Ruili Youth Trail

    If they point here, don't fall for it

    The road leading down
    I mean it, literally, do not fall.

    Because if you do, it will be the last thing you do, most likely.

    Ruili, high up in the Taiwanese mountains, is absolutely gorgeous, I have been here a couple of times and I adore the area, I can't get enough of it, how different it is from the busy Taichung, my "hometown", or Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Ruili is almost empty, vibrantly green, and full of stunning hikes and rock formations, similar but yet different from Taroko, on the East Coast. Ruili is in Alishan, the Ali Mountain.

    It's a beautiful area all together, very green, very lush, and with a different climate; the high altitude makes the nights more chilly, even when the days are warm, and the crops that grow up here are different from what you see closer to the sea.  Here I went hiking. With long trousers, as I am a mosquito magnet - others don't see a mosquito but they are all over me - with a top, and with plenty of water and mosquito spray, and with very good hiking boots. This is not an area for anything else but very good hiking boots; Leave the flip flops at home, and don't even dream about heels. There is nothing here that is flat...  And make sure you start the hike from the Yuantan Ecological Park side, close to the waterfall, not from the Ruili side, like I did; It takes you through beautiful green nature, and you will see the sights before you are right under them - this is the best way to experience the hike.