life's adventures lately

it seems fairly appropriate that I just wrapped up my series on tips for visiting Taiwan this week. it's been a whirlwind of sightseeing around these parts lately, since my sister-in-law is visiting and we've been showing off our favorite places around the island.

[so I guess you can consider this a preview of things to come, as well as a list of random thoughts I've had accumulating over the past few weeks.]

I actually signed up for NaNoWriMo this month, with a little encouragement from Helene's Novel Blogger group. I thought it might push me to get on with my editing. well... we've been a bit busy so I'm just under 10,000 words through. hopefully I can dedicate some more time to it once I'm done playing tour guide. [not that I mind playing tour guide - it just makes for a busy few weeks!]

rather than catching a city view from the deck of Taipei 101, we hiked Elephant Mountain. it was a bit sweaty but we had clear weather and a lovely picnic lunch. I had also climbed the elephant with Anna of Slightly Astray earlier that week... but with views like this who cares? I think from now on I'm adding this to all visitor's itineraries.

we hit up some of the "classics" like Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and National Palace Museum, but have also been visiting places that are new for me as well.

one new place being the Taipei Zoo - we had a rainy day where we saw the famous [and adorable] pandas. and though there wasn't much in bloom, we spotted lots of birds and bird photographers at the Taipei Botanical Gardens.

I also finally figured out how to register my EasyCard so that I can rent YouBikes. and so today we rode down to the local cat cafe - 小貓花園 or Cafe & Cats - which happens to be credited as being the world's first cat cafe, ever.

we also spent a very lovely weekend in Taroko Gorge - one of my favorite places on earth. I know I've written about the gorge before, but we explored a few new trails this time and the weather made for beautiful photos. you can expect a lot of mountainous things in the near future. maybe even a Taroko-specific guide. which reminds me:

Margo from The Overseas Escape is collecting submissions for a City Guide Database. I'm really looking forward to seeing what other bloggers have to say and using this resource to plan future travels! if you have a guide you've written, you can submit your guide to the database.

and if worldwide travels are not in your future, consider checking out Polly's newly re-branded website: Let's Love Local. she's all about encouraging people to get out and explore what's right around them - and is even issuing local adventure challenges you can participate in each week. even though I'm living an expat life, I still need motivation to get out and explore my city sometimes.

have you come across or been up to anything exciting lately? with all our traveling and touring I've fallen a bit behind on keeping up with everyone. but I at least wanted to pop in to say hello + happy friday. that's all for now - I'm late for a date with the night market!

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