Hello there! And welcome to the first installment of our summer series, Favorite Places & Spaces. This is Mae here, ready to kick it all off by getting back to my roots.
I am lucky enough to be able to trace my family's history back over 200 years on the island country of Taiwan. In fact, I can even go to the tiny village from which my whole father's side of the family came, tracing the lineage back over many generations on the immaculately maintained family tree. And while I have pictures and pieces and antiques that originated in Taiwan, it has been my experiences there that convey the heart of the place.
As a child, I was hardly able to appreciate our visits to Taiwan. But since then, I have been fortunate to return as an adult and, more recently, with my own kids in tow. How amazing it has been to see Taiwan from this viewpoint, to truly see and appreciate the beauty and the character of this place. It seemed only natural to share with you the beauty of this place - which is such a part of me - as the first of my favorite places.
TOP: The rock beaches of Hualien will forever remain in my heart for the hours we have spent there collecting rocks, breathing the sea air and admiring the view of the mountains. BOTTOM LEFT: A side trip to the hot springs in Yilan also included this view of Turtle Island. BOTTOM RIGHT: Manicured gardens outside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall are equally beautiful as the hall itself.
LEFT: The roof of the National Theater in Taipei is so vibrant with color and rich with detail. RIGHT: The Grand Hotel just outside of Taipei is classic Chinese architecture through and through. It is also near and dear to my heart having stayed there ever since I was little. One of my favorite memories of Taiwan as a child is running up, down and all around the lobby's grand staircase with my sisters -- much to my parents' dismay, I'm sure!
There seems to be no end to the carved and sculptural beauty. Rich details were all around, much to my camera's delight! (Psst! Elise! It's a ball & talon!)
Beyond the symbolic decorations, I was also able satisfy my love for lines and geometry. TOP LEFT: The Taiwan Lanyang Museum was created to highlight the cultural, historical and ecological importance of Yilan County. The building's design, which was inspired by local natural elements, created patchwork patterns of glass both inside and out. TOP RIGHT: The flowing lines of Liberty Square could easily be overlooked, what with the grandeur of the surrounding buildings. BOTTOM: At the heart of what was once the tallest building in the world is Taipei 101's 1.5 million pound wind damper which is on dramatic display on the 88th and 89th floors.
You'll be happy that I spared you the more graphic images from the market but I think these should suffice to reflect the abundant color, texture and variety that were available!
The food. My goodness, the food. Such amazing food can be found in those little shops butting up against the sidewalk and next door to heavens knows what. If I remember correctly, my family even had double breakfasts one day (what are we? hobbits?!) in order to cram in all our favorite foods during a short trip to Tainan.
Thanks for letting me take this stroll down memory lane. Hopefully you've had a chance to see the beauty of Taiwan yourself or, if you haven't, do try and stop in.
I'm looking forward to seeing Elise's first entry in our Favorite Places & Spaces series. You can find it right here next Wednesday. Until next time, hope you're enjoying your summer!