Taroko George

Deep in Taiwan


Eternal Spring Shrine
A Buddhist shrine blesses an uninterrupted stream of water in the region and praises the lives of more than 200 workers (military veterans) who lost their lives building the Central Cross-Island&n
convenient conversation
Taiwanese visitors inform themselves at the entrance of a bridge that gives access to one of Taroko's many tunnels.
rocky meanders
The stony and winding bed of the Liwu River, the main watercourse of the Taroko Gorge.
river adventures
Visitors to Taroko Gorge test the clear water of the Liwu River.
in the shadow of taroko
Hiker admires a deep gorge carved by the flow of the Liwu River.
Heavenly Summit Pagoda
The six-story pagoda that stands out from the leafy vegetation of Tiangsiang, the last and largest settlement in Taroko.
The Shakadang Bridge
Another one of several bridges that allowed the continuity of the Central Cross-Island Highway, one of the few roads that crosses Taiwan from west to east.
Eternal Spring Shrine II
The Buddhist sanctuary built on the slope of Eternal Spring, crossed by the constant waterfall.
an illuminated trail
Buddha Statue welcomes visitors and worshipers atop the Tiangsiang Slope from which the Heavenly Summit Pagoda rises.
The entrance to the tunnels
Casal walks along the road of the Tunnels of Nine Turns, carved into a slope of pure marble.
The Liwu River
A small natural lagoon formed by the then small flow of the Liwu River.
The Buddhist Strand of Taroko
White Buddha statue halfway to Heavenly Summit Pagoda in Tiangsiang.
on the way to eternity
Visitors traverse a treacherous rock-hewn trail near the Eternal Spring Shrine.

In 1956, skeptical Taiwanese doubted that the initial 20km of Central Cross-Island Hwy was possible. The marble canyon that challenged it is today the most remarkable natural setting in Formosa.

The kind of road roller coaster that runs along the east coast of Taiwan's main island, between Suao and Hualien, seems to only entertain us. Inveterate cyclists report to each other and beyond that, despite its crazy terrain, Formosa is probably the best Asian destination to explore by cycling. They curse, however, this stretch between the Pacific Ocean and the rocky foothills of the Cordillera Central. Lyndall Pyckering, for example, complains to an online cyclo-community that barely had time to admire the landscape or feel the pain in his thighs caused by the constant climbs, such was the concentration he was forced to maintain to avoid being sandwiched against the walls of stone or cement, by the lorries and tourist buses that disputed the asphalt.

At the wheel but in his boss's Volvo sedan, Jack suffered a lot to prevent his job from having the same fate: “damn traffic! The government should ban heavy trucks once and for all on this coast!” We realized that this would be his protest, even if expressed in the rudimentary English we were already used to. We already trusted your experience. For this reason, we were still dedicated to the most photogenic sections of that extreme coastline, which, by the heights of Chingshui cliff, became vertical as never before. There, cliffs of mountains with more than a thousand meters plunged, steeply, into the blue sea.

A few kilometers to the south and inland, we enter the land of Hsiulin. This district has long been Taiwan's largest in terms of area. It houses six villages and has almost 15500 inhabitants, the vast majority of the Taroko ethnic group. In more recent times, the island's aboriginal ethnicities and the Taroko Gorge gained such importance that the authorities forced Hsiulin to change his name to Taroko, an ethnic term truku meaning wonderful. This is allegedly what an indigenous of this tribe uttered when he left the excavated territory of the gorge for the first time and was amazed at the ocean.

Soon we left that eastern marine vastness behind. We entered a narrow canyon, sometimes green, sometimes rocky, made of raw marble to be more precise, the reason for its other name, Gorge of Marble.

We detour 2.3 km west of the main road and come across the Eternal Spring Shrine, a fruitful and uninterrupted natural spring that a Buddhist order blessed with a sanctuary crossed by the stream. It was erected in honor of the more than 200 workers (military veterans) who perished in the bold construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway and have their names inscribed on stone plaques.

Even today, Taroko Gorge and Eternal Spring Shine reserve their risks, especially if those who visit them are caught by storms or typhoons, which are very common in Taiwan.

Although he prefers this new domain to the frantic side road that brought us from Taipei, Jack is well aware of its dangers. “Be careful on this trail!”, he alerts us with an unusual drama. “Once, a honeymoon couple posed for pictures near the sanctuary when they were surprised by a landslide!”. We also found that that slope had already collapsed several times and that, since 1950, the sanctuary had been rebuilt twice.

When we returned from the walk and the rejuvenating splashes of the spring, Jack sighed impatiently behind his crumpled Taiwan Times. “I was starting to get worried” justifies his discontent, still and always in rudimentary English.

We don't want to intensify your despair. We stuff ourselves and our work packs into the Volvo and set off towards Taroko's bowels.

At 3.6 km, we reach the surroundings of Swallow Grotto, a cliff covered with small caves carved by ancient underground currents and where thousands of swallows have installed their nests.

Onwards, we find the Jinheng suspension bridge and cross the Liwu River again, which runs through the entire gorge, this time in an inevitable vertigo caused by the permanent sway of the rope structure.

As we cross it, we realize the drastic speed with its deep bed must flood again and again, as it receives the bulk of torrential rain fed by the overheated Pacific. After some effort, also the latent form of Yindiaren Rock, a huge boulder carved by erosion into the shape of a Native American chief with his headdress.

Back in road mode, we cross the Liufang colored bridge and reach the Tunnel of Nine Turns. There, Taroko's Man versus Nature confrontation takes on unprecedented gravity. At one point, the main road turns into a detour that leads to a series of short tunnels carved out of the marble, along the winding gorge and irrigated by waterfalls that plunge into the Liwu River, which is agitated there by furious rapids.

We walk along these semi-open tunnels. last reveals the true dimension of the scenario

Just 2 km further on, the capricious Liwu forces us to make a new crossing, the Bridge of Motherly Devotion.

This bridge was built by former Taiwan President Chiang Jing-guo, son of another far more famous, Chiang Kai-shek political-military pioneer of the Republic of China (Taiwan) who saw his army defeated in the civil war raging in China continent and was forced to take refuge on the island.

Chiang Jing-Guo, opened the bridge in memory of his mother, inspired by his father. Chiang Kai-shek himself had had a Buddhist pavilion built in honor of Jing-Guo's grandmother.

We beat the stone lions that guard their entrance and contemplate the huge pebbles that share the rich flow, now in the company of Jack, who once again uses one of his favorite Anglophone terms: “Crazy river, isn't it" ? ” asks us knowing by heart and stir-fry that we would confirm it.

Tiangsiang is the last and largest settlement in Taroko Gorge. It appears embedded in its threshold, with verdant mountains in the background. We glimpse the six-story pagoda of Heavenly Summit and a golden Buddha that blesses visitors, those who, like us, sacrifice themselves to climb the steep path to the Xiangde religious complex, and others who, like our plump and indolent conductor, they shunned the little pilgrimage. " Up there??! You are crazy. Marco is crazy, Sara, that's got to be it!"

We had a good laugh, we left him joking with other drivers and tour guides, and we went on our way. We were in the last canyon territory and we had no time to relax in its Wenshan thermal baths, an additional moment of leisure with which many visitors make a point of finishing their exploration of Taroko. Instead, we went back to slaughtering the legs in the name of Buddha and discovery. A long road trip followed the continuation of the Central Cross-Island Highway, to Hsitou, on the other side of Taiwan.

Fish River Canyon, Namíbia

The Namibian Guts of Africa

When nothing makes you foreseeable, a vast river ravine burrows the southern end of the Namíbia. At 160km long, 27km wide and, at intervals, 550 meters deep, the Fish River Canyon is the Grand Canyon of Africa. And one of the biggest canyons on the face of the Earth.

Nantou, Taiwan

In the Heart of the Other China

Nantou is Taiwan's only province isolated from the Pacific Ocean. Those who discover the mountainous heart of this region today tend to agree with the Portuguese navigators who named Taiwan Formosa.

Iriomote, Japan

The Small Tropical Japanese Amazon of Iriomote

Impenetrable rainforests and mangroves fill Iriomote under a pressure cooker climate. Here, foreign visitors are as rare as the yamaneko, an elusive endemic lynx.
Taiwan

Formosa but Unsafe

Portuguese navigators could not imagine the imbroglio reserved for the Formosa they baptized. Nearly 500 years later, even though it is uncertain of its future, Taiwan still prospers. Somewhere between independence and integration in greater China.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Safari
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Architecture & Design
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s – Old-Fashioned Car Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Adventure
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
Ceremonies and Festivities
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
Goiás Velho, Legacy of the Gold Fever, Brazil
Cities
Goiás Velho, Brazil

A Gold Rush Legacy

Two centuries after the heyday of prospecting, lost in time and in the vastness of the Central Plateau, Goiás esteems its admirable colonial architecture, the surprising wealth that remains to be discovered there.
Fogón de Lola, great food, Costa Rica, Guápiles
Meal
Fogón de Lola Costa Rica

The Flavor of Costa Rica of El Fogón de Lola

As the name suggests, the Fogón de Lola de Guapiles serves dishes prepared on the stove and in the oven, according to Costa Rican family tradition. In particular, Tia Lola's.
Impressions Lijiang Show, Yangshuo, China, Red Enthusiasm
Culture
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Sport
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Namibe, Angola, Cave, Iona Park
Traveling
Namibe, Angola

Incursion to the Angolan Namibe

Discovering the south of Angola, we leave Moçâmedes for the interior of the desert province. Over thousands of kilometers over land and sand, the harshness of the scenery only reinforces the astonishment of its vastness.
Indigenous Crowned
Ethnic
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

tarsio, bohol, philippines, out of this world
History
Bohol, Philippines

Other-wordly Philippines

The Philippine archipelago spans 300.000 km² of the Pacific Ocean. Part of the Visayas sub-archipelago, Bohol is home to small alien-looking primates and the extraterrestrial hills of the Chocolate Hills.
Victoria, capital, Seychelles islands, Mahé, Capital Life
Islands
Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles

From Francophone “Establishment” to the Creole Capital of Seychelles

The French populated their “Etablissement” with European, African and Indian settlers. Two centuries later, British rivals took over the archipelago and renamed the city in honor of their Queen Victoria. When we visit it, the Seychelles capital remains as multiethnic as it is tiny.
St. Trinity Church, Kazbegi, Georgia, Caucasus
Winter White
Kazbegi, Georgia

God in the Caucasus Heights

In the 4000th century, Orthodox religious took their inspiration from a hermitage that a monk had erected at an altitude of 5047 m and perched a church between the summit of Mount Kazbek (XNUMXm) and the village at the foot. More and more visitors flock to these mystical stops on the edge of Russia. Like them, to get there, we submit to the whims of the reckless Georgia Military Road.
Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Literature
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

In 1964, Katsura Morimura delighted the Japan with a turquoise novel set in Ouvéa. But the neighboring Île-des-Pins has taken over the title "The Nearest Island to Paradise" and thrills its visitors.
Dead Sea, Surface of Water, Lower Land, Israel, rest
Nature
Dead Sea, Israel

Afloat, in the Depths of the Earth

It is the lowest place on the surface of the planet and the scene of several biblical narratives. But the Dead Sea is also special because of the concentration of salt that makes life unfeasible but sustains those who bathe in it.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Walvis Bay, Namibia, bay, dunes
Natural Parks
Walvis Bay, Namíbia

The Outstanding Shoreline of Walvis Bay

From Namibia's largest coastal city to the edge of the Namib Desert of Sandwich Harbour, there is an unrivaled domain of ocean, dunes, fog and wildlife. Since 1790, the fruitful Walvis Bay has been its gateway.
Mirador de La Peña, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain
UNESCO World Heritage
El Hierro, Canary Islands

The Volcanic Rim of the Canaries and the Old World

Until Columbus arrived in the Americas, El Hierro was seen as the threshold of the known world and, for a time, the Meridian that delimited it. Half a millennium later, the last western island of the Canaries is teeming with exuberant volcanism.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Characters
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Bather, The Baths, Devil's Bay (The Baths) National Park, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Beaches
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine “Caribbaths”

Discovering the Virgin Islands, we disembark on a tropical and seductive seaside dotted with huge granite boulders. The Baths seem straight out of the Seychelles but they are one of the most exuberant marine scenery in the Caribbean.
Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Religion
Tawang, India

The Mystic Valley of Deep Discord

On the northern edge of the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is home to dramatic mountain scenery, ethnic Mompa villages and majestic Buddhist monasteries. Even if Chinese rivals have not passed him since 1962, Beijing look at this domain as part of your Tibet. Accordingly, religiosity and spiritualism there have long shared with a strong militarism.
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
On Rails
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.
Tombola, street bingo-Campeche, Mexico
Society
Campeche, Mexico

A Bingo so playful that you play with puppets

On Friday nights, a group of ladies occupy tables at Independencia Park and bet on trifles. The tiniest prizes come out to them in combinations of cats, hearts, comets, maracas and other icons.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Daily life
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Wildlife
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.