Monday, 13 August 2012

Diving into the culture (潛入台灣的文化). Part 2

The second stop was – Guguan – traditional hot springs
Lots of countries have very old and honorable history of creating and developing hot spring culture. In Europe it is, for sure, Hungary and its Karlovy Vary. In Russia – it is Caucuses area. In Taiwan – it is Guguan.
很多國家在發展溫泉文化都擁有很古老且代表性的歷史。在歐洲也是一樣的,匈牙利的 Karlovy Vary、俄羅斯則是在 Caucuses 地區、台灣溫泉則以谷關聞名。
Although I thought that our trip will include only visiting hot springs and not for a long time, Chia Yee persuaded me to go to the beautiful shaolai” trail that leaded us to the nice pavilion in the summit of the mountain.
The start of the trail was so excited
Suspension bridge over the rough river
To tell the truth I expected (as I was promised) rather slight slope. It was not slight. Not at all!
As the result we reached hot springs hotel(four seasons hotel) quiet tired.
Outside it is european style
But not inside...
African? Asian? Who knows, please, contact me
 I’m a Russian – I love hot water, I love saunas and other kinds of spa relaxation. And I was very happy to spend more than three hours lying in pools with different varieties of hot water aromatized with flowers and herbs and very pleased to find there even a sauna. Actually it was closer to the Turkish hamam with some very special Taiwanese features.

And I give some swimming classes to Chia Yee. The pools were not really suited for that, but we managed to do it. And she swam!
It was the one we swam at
I had some discovering about Taiwanese nature.
- Taiwan people really enjoy hot springs. It was a great surprise for me as I thought before such time spending is only for northern people. For sure not for a tropical island. I was mistaken! Taiwanese are very proud of their hot springs and took care of them, developing the culture and service.
台灣人很愛泡溫泉。我相當驚訝的因為我本來以為只有北部人才泡溫泉,熱帶島嶼的人不愛 ,但我錯了!台灣人非常驕傲於他們的溫泉並保護得很完善。
 - You can hardly find such an exotic spa-peeling anywhere else except Taiwan as “kissing” fishes. It is really amazing! Nothing compare! None of the fashionable spa resorts I visited before can be better “kissing” fishes! And I want to say that those fishes loved me more than anyone else, more than Chia Yee – while she had only three or four fishes, my legs were almost covered by them.
Happy and relaxed
And the last stop was Lavender Forest.
I call it Asian Grasse. Hence people didn’t make perfume there – it is fragrance’s abode
Very small, lovely and picturesque village in European style but so special. 
Only in Lavender forest you can find classical merry-go-round like in the fairs of the past and in front of it Japanese style restaurant with Teddy bears as the symbol. 
Teddy bear!
  And on the background of all this – valleys of flowers, lawns and tortous trails. They managed to combine incongruous and did it in such natural way so it looks charming!

You can’t find a place like this anywhere else in Taiwan and in the whole world.
We spent there only two hours but it is hardly enough. I could spend even more wandering in the shops, tasting the fragrances, looking at hand-made designer bags and other accessories, sampling aromatic verbena tea with cookies.
So much choice - so hard choice!
And it is only a shop – there were so many lovely and interesting places for relaxation, studying, entertaining and tasting. For example, we found a whole house dedicated to show how different flavors and DIY’s can be used.
The doors are always open. If not - we will open them


Moreover it is almost the only place where you can taste lavender ice-cream! It is more than simply delicious.
You can also ring a bell...
... clean yourself with lavender...
... and make a wish!
  We have spent three amazing days discovering not-common sightseeings of  the Central Taiwan and now I can say for sure – six weeks are not enough to understand all the variety of faces of Taiwan life style – our way of learning Taiwan is far from the end.
There are still so many things to try, experience, visit and learn.

Written by Olga.

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