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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Road Taken

My daughter Amber ponders (with her eyes closed) which road to take - the Houfong Bicycle Trail (Hòufēng Zì​xíng​chē Lǜláng) 后豐自行車綠廊 going to the left or the Dongfong Bicycle Trail (Dōng​fēng Zì​xíng​chē Lǜláng) 東豐自行車綠廊 branching off to the right. The promise of riding in a tunnel made the decision an easy one for her - in the direction of Houli it was to be.

Stopping en route to admire some scenery

The Railway Valley Winery. The signs read "Since 2003", but this building is a more recent attraction along the bicycle trail. Inside, it's possible to sample the fruit of the vine, but even though I liked the film Sideways, and have enjoyed the finest vintages available in Ptuj, Slovenia, I declined. Varieties on offer such as "Longan Mead" didn't sound very thirst-quenching, and the bottles featuring personalized wedding pictures on the labels, while admittedly a nifty gift idea, hardly appealed to that inner snob...I mean sommelier. And though it may be difficult to believe, given my carefully-honed persona of being a modern day Renaissance Man, I actually prefer beer over wine. There's a reason why I named my little girl "Amber".

The rear garden of the Railway Valley Winery. You could almost be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere in Europe...until you looked at some of the neighboring buildings.

Amber crossed that bridge when she came to it.

After riding partway through the tunnel (part of a disused section of train track that now functions as the bike path), Amber decided to turn around and head back in the direction of whence she came, on an ultimately fruitless quest for an ice cream cone. On the way back, we passed this Japanese-style home. Modern-type Japanese houses are very popular in Taiwan - considering how ugly most contemporary Taiwanese dwellings are, it isn't difficult to understand why.

Amber navigates the many twists and turns of life

The bucolic rural fishing hole

Despite the fruitless search for ice cream, and the less-than-ideal climatic conditions, Amber had a good time this afternoon riding on the trail. It was a nice way to close out 2011.


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