Early yesterday afternoon after picking up a couple of my shirts from the laundry, I decided it was time to get out of Taipei for a few hours.
I jumped on the Metro and rode out to Nangang Station, got off and walked across the street to the Nangang Railroad Station. The station is new, construction is on-going. When entering the main doors, you travel down an escalator to B-1 where the customary ticket windows are located. I found only one window open, with a number of folks in line. The Keelung train was scheduled to arrive in 10 minutes, so I chanced the ticket machine. With the help of a security guard, I quickly had a ticket to Keelung, cost NT$ 28.00 - current rate US$ 1.00.
The tracks are located down another 2 floors, on floor B-3. I sat down to wait for my train and was surprised by the number of trains that passed in the 10 minutes I waited. There were 2 trains that flew by three or four yards in front of my bench. They were "fast" trains with the comfortable individual seats that recline, foot rests, etc. The Keelung train was a newer model commuter train with side bench type seating along the walls with two rows of hand grasps hanging from a ceiling rail in the center of the car. When the seats fill up, you have to crowd into the car and stand, grasping a hand piece to keep your balance. The train stopped at every small village along the route to Keelung, just enough time to let folks off and on. As we neared Keelung, my car was packed with high school kids traveling home.
Here's the commuter train as we arrived in Keelung, very modern equipment.
Taiwan operates a great railroad.
Taiwan operates a great railroad.
I read in one of the English language newspapers recently about the Keelung Station being rebuilt and the new station being constructed underground. I guess the reasoning for moving stations and track underground is to free up ground area for roads and parks. It works well in Taipei; most of the old railroad tracks are now underground. I did see an above ground track a few days ago, it was just north of the Sun Yat-sen Museum. When I walked by, there was a commuter train parked at spur station, the track dead-ended just by the sidewalk at the street corner.
I decided to take a taxi to a high point hill overlooking Keelung Harbor. We drove up to a Buddhist Temple.
The air quality was not good when I shot this video from the temple area.
My friend Gene had told me of some old military cannons that were up on this hill area. I asked the taxi driver and he took me to see the cannons but we ended up at a museum that had an old army tank, a navy gun and some other current weapons that had been retired and sent to the museum. I asked about the "real old" cannons that supposedly sat on this hill. He said the old cannons had washed out during a typhoon some years earlier. Honest mistake.
He took me back down the hill and let me off at the Night Market Food Street. Here you can find some serious eating. I ended up have a plate of pork curry noodles, very good. I had NO heartburn later in the evening.
Look at these shrimp. You can gauge their size. Notice the box of chopsticks on the right.
I walked farther down the street and passed another temple before making my way to the port area and back to Keelung Railroad Station.
Walked around the circle in front of the bus station.
The old Customs House is in the rear of this building.
Time to catch another train and head back to Taipei, the sun is setting in Keelung.
It was a nice trip, a change of pace, an opportunity to see new things along the way.