After a day’s worth of shopping with family, I met up with a good old friend in Taipei City Hall Station 市政府站 at around six in the evening. And first on the date night agenda is hiking the Elephant Mountain Trail 象山親山步道 xiang shan qin shan bu dao. Journeying our way to the entrance of the hiking trail, my friend bought a bottle of water and tea eggs 茶葉蛋 cha ye dan at a nearby 7-11 store. Knowing that I have my own stash in my handbag, we went ahead and made our way to Lane 150, Section 5 of Xinyi Road 信義路五段150巷.
Stuffy-nosed and already out of breath by just walking up the hilly roads, the hiking trail reminiscent of Hong Kong’s Ladder Street made me think twice of proceeding. But my friend and I started climbing up the stone stairways before I knew it. A couple of laughs, random life updates and the chilly winds took our minds off the hike. Even after taking rest stops on the benches along the way up, we reached the top in less than 30 minutes.
Time to turn around after the last step; a perfect view of Taipei’s skyline was waiting. Watching Taipei 101 – or 一零一 yi ling yi as the locals call it – look over all of the night cityscape was simply beautiful. Since it was way after sunset, photographers have left the summit together with their tripods. Instead, friends, couples and even individuals shared the precious view atop boulders. Simple packed meals, sweet nothings and peaceful moments – the best things in life are free indeed. After exploring the paths that lead to the three other trails of Four Beasts Mountain 四獸山 si shou shan, we climbed our way down as the view faded into a lovely memory.
At the foot of the trail before we headed to Ximending 西門町, a local asked how long it takes to get to the top. Carefree and seemingly up for a spontaneous evening, he took the first steps without thinking twice – a glass of pearl milk tea on the left and his girl’s hand on the right.
Photostream: Elephant Mountain 象山, Taipei, Taiwan