Sometimes, you go to a place so often that it becomes difficult to remember your first impression of the place. For a place like Taipei, it is also because it is “just another city”, and I am prone to taking day trips around it, or simply scooting off to other regions of the country.
It was 2009, the year I began travelling solo. I whirled through the country, forsaking depth for breadth. I just felt like running past; and much as I knew I hadn’t and couldn’t see much this way, I fell deeply in love with the country and its people. Coming from a nation where progress and GDP reined, the people I met seem to be kinder, happier, and to know Life better. Maybe it’s because there’s an option available: if you were tired of city life, you could move to a quieter town.
Ah, I digress. I am writing this post because this time around, we will be spending more time in Taipei itself and I was trying to remember what I did on the days I did stay in Taipei.
I think my favourite times were those I spent wandering the old streets of Dihua (迪化街) and poking around the market at Sansui (三水街). I also loved my caffeine breaks, though in those days, the third wave cafes hadn’t hit the world as completely yet. So, I visited old coffee shops.
There was Fong Da (峰大), which clings on to its 1950s heritage rather insistently. The coffee is good but those used to swankier digs will have much to overlook. I also remember having a beef noodles as a snack (why, yes) before having a coffee at Cafe Astoria. (Cafe Astoria is visited for its history and not its food. The coffee was good stuff.)
Other than old coffee shops, there was also Rose House (English tea and cake kind of place), Booday (I love their 一碗飯 set meals), Wooden Drawer (closed in 2012), Norwegian Wood and Kafka On The Shore. I can’t be sure if I remember them all, and whether I visited them in 2009 or later. There were some others I wanted to try, and possibly many that I hadn’t even heard about, and I guess now my choices are even more unlimited.
I do love visiting cafes with Siew and I guess this time around, we will be spending our time in Taipei in several of them. Can’t wait.