Wednesday, December 7, 2011

tamsui formerly known as danshui

Tamsui is a district located in New Taipei City which surrounds regular old Taipei City. I don't know why but the people in charge decided to change the English spelling of this city to Tamsui even though the old spelling of Danshui is closer to how its actually pronounced. You can reach here riding the MRT all the way to the Danshui station, just make sure you get on the right train. The MRT line that runs to this station contains two different trains that go to different terminal stops. My sister and I learned this the hard way when we realized we were heading in the wrong direction and tried to go the opposite way and kept arriving at the station we were trying to leave from...

Tamsui was actually settled by the Spanish and then the Dutch so a lot of the popular site to visit are European buildings. In order to reach the first building we had to climb up a steepish hill, this was such a bad idea considering I had just filled my stomach at Eddy's Cantina and was heading into a food coma. Arriving at the Tamsui Customs Officer's Residence, I saw a sign that said the Little White House and I thought it must be a reference to the White House in America so the President or someone special must have lived here. The building design is really simple and was actually just meant as a residence for the custom officer's, of British descent, to live in. The whole Little White House was a name given by its inhabitants referring to its white walls. A nice way to lead people astray... There is a lot of information about the harbor of Tamsui and taxation but I just walked pass all that. I know what an appreciation of history! Its free though and has a nice view of the Tamsui River.

bungalow style architecture
tamsui river
All the popular tourist sites of Tamsui are within walking distance of each other. So we just walked to Fort San Domingo also known as Hong Mao Cheng, Red Hair Fort, because the fort was built by the Dutch whom locals call "the red-haired." Right next to the Fort is the Former British Consular Residence which has a bunch of recreated rooms.

fort san domingo
former british consular residence
those are some big dutch shoes to fill
Don't be frightened by the distance of Hobe Fort, Huwei Fort, from the rest of the other sites on the map, which are all clustered together. It's an easy walk but the fort is located on a hill which is serviced by a bus line. The fort was built during the Ch'ing Dynasty and was oversaw by a German engineer because the governor at the time believed that taking an enemy's strength can subdue them so I guess the Germans were a problem? The fort was never used in any war so remains intact.

shall i walk into the light?

the tunnel leads to the top of the fort
Running parallel to the path that leads up to Hobe Fort is the path that leads to the Martyr's Shrine. I didn't check it out. There is also a Peace Park nearby with some spectacular views.

peace park
Besides walking and riding the bus there is a third alternative to getting up the hill to see the fort...

by motorized wheelchair!

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