Tag: weekend trip

A Foodie Weekend in Taipei

A Foodie Weekend in Taipei

Last weekend I took a 3 day trip to Taipei to visit Jana and Ellie. It’s been almost a year since I last saw Jana (Golden Week last year!) and 5 months since Ellie’s business trip to China, so to say I was excited is a bit of an understatement 🙂

To sum it up, all we did was eat and talk and take pictures of us eating. The 2 tourist shots I got were more of a coincidence. We saw Taipei 101 several times on our way to and from food places and then a nice temple was in front of a night market we went to.

Din Tai Fung

Let me start at the beginning. After I landed the first order of business (after dropping off my bag) was to go to Din Tai Fung. While we have several of them in Shanghai, they have one major flaw: They don’t serve chocolate xiaolongbao! So I had to get my fix of them and they were beautiful.

Jamie’s Italian

For Friday night dinner Jana and I headed to Jamie’s Italian. While this might not be the obvious choice when going to Taipei, Jana and I have a special place for Jamie’s Italian in our hearts after our trip to Budapest last year. We ended up eating 3 pizzas, because they were just so good 🙂 This time we “only” shared an appetizer, 2 pizzas and 2 desserts. The waitress was still impressed with us – she suggested we share one pizza because it’s big. What an amateur.

Toasteria

For Saturday brunch we went to Toasteria. I’d researched brunch places in Taipei before my trip and Jana made the reservations – team work 🙂 They have lots and lots of options, including omelettes, classic breakfasts, pasta, paninis … I got french toast and then shared a grilled cheese. Apparently they’re famous for those so I just had to have one. It was delicious.

Raohe Night Market

In search of greasy street food we went to Raohe Night Market Saturday night. I don’t remember the name of any of the food we had but it was all pretty good! We had scallion pancakes, ice cream with caramelized peanut shavings and cilantro wrapped in a crepe type thing, passion fruit jelly on a stick, a deep fried salted egg yolk pork thing with sweet potato, fruit juice (vitamins!) and baked pork buns. In that exact order. Also, we wore matching dumpling t-shirts. Just because we’re awesome 🙂

Pool time

Our original plan was to spend all the time we were not eating at the pool. Sadly, it was closed all day Saturday for maintenance and when we got there early Sunday morning we were told we could only swim with swimming caps … which we didn’t have and they didn’t provide. Oh well, so we only got to relax next to the pool for a couple of hours.

The Hello Kitty Taxi

When we got into the taxi on our way to brunch on Sunday we were in for a treat. It was completely decked out in Hello Kitty merchandise! I’m glad we took some photos as proof 🙂

Sugar Pea

Our destination for that cab ride was Sugar Pea. We all agreed, if Instagram was a place, this would be it 🙂 Anyhow, the food was really yummy … and pretty. Of course I took pictures. And put them on Instagram.

Thanks for a fantastic weekend, Jana and Ellie! I can’t wait to come back soon and continue eating our way through Taipei!

Moganshan 2.0

Moganshan 2.0

There was an obstacle race in Moganshan last weekend, so we went with a big group of people from archery. Before anyone gets confused: No, I didn’t compete in the race, I was just along for the ride 🙂

Our group consisted of 26 people and 2 dogs and we had a fun weekend. This is part of our very international crew:

We got to Moganshan at 11:30 on Friday night after a 4 hour bus ride. The race took place on Sunday so Saturday we used for hiking, swimming and eating. Sadly it rained almost the whole day so the hike through the bamboo forest was very slippery. I may or may not have slipped several times and fallen on my butt …

In the afternoon we headed over to “Naked Stables”, a beautiful resort, where we had a barbecue and could use the pools. It was still raining a lot but the place was really nice. If we had an unlimited vacation budget, I’d definitely like to stay there for a couple of nights. And no one was naked, in case anyone was wondering 😉

While a big part of the group, the “elite mode” guys, went to the race Sunday morning, I hung out with the other “fun mode” people. The weather was much better (it didn’t rain until lunch) so we walked to a little coffee shop with a nice view over the bamboo hills. After another barbecue with everyone we got back on the bus to Shanghai. Not pictured: The party on Friday and Saturday night. You’ll just have to imagine that part 🙂

If anyone is wondering about the details of the race, Thorben will cover that part of the trip 🙂 Here are the race finishers from our group:

Moganshan: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo

Moganshan: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo

Last weekend it was outing time! Our company here gives each employee a budget and an extra day off to go on a trip, aka the outing, with coworkers. Thorben’s department always does something pretty fancy:  Japan last year and Vietnam this year – I’m still bugging him to finish his blog post. My department wanted to take it a bit easier so we stayed in China. Our destination was Moganshan, which is a 3-hour drive from Shanghai.

Moganshan or Mount Mogan is both the name of the mountain and the village we spent 2 1/2 days in. Our hotel was located on the edge of the town and – as everything in this area – was surrounded by bamboo. Besides lunch and dinner we didn’t have any planned group activities. The weekend can be summed up in a few words: Relaxing, reading, hiking and eating. Many of my coworkers brought their spouses and kid(s), so you could also call it “31 Chinese and Marina in a bamboo forest.” 🙂

On Saturday and Sunday we got quite a bit of rain, so when I ventured outside the air was pretty misty. I joined some colleagues on a little hike to a waterfall on Saturday and then on a bigger one through the bamboo forest and up the hill for some good views on Sunday. Sadly, just because there is bamboo doesn’t mean there are pandas. They prefer a different he climate, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer to see some.

Monday morning we had beautiful weather but unfortunately our bus already picked us up at 10:30am. I took advantage of the sunshine for as long as I could and took lots of pictures. If anyone asks, that’s what Moganshan looked like the entire time 🙂

Overall, it was a very relaxing weekend (especially after all the kids returned to Shanghai Sunday after lunch 🙂 ) in beautiful surroundings.

Harbin preparation

Harbin preparation

Yesterday we got back from a weekend in Harbin to see the Ice and Snow Festival. The pictures I had seen made it look like a really cool experience, so it was another to do on our long travel list. We booked a group tour through a German travel agency in Shanghai. My thinking was: A bit of German efficiency and having a warm bus waiting really can’t hurt in the winter.

After watching the weather forecast I was a bit terrified:

The average temperature we had was around -25 degrees. The high during the day was -20 and the lowest -30 at night. That’s definitely be the coldest I’ve ever experienced.

Of course I am a well prepared German and used Christmas to stock up on stuff to keep me warm. Here is what I packed for 2 days:

  • 2 sets of long ski underwear
  • 1 sweater
  • 2 fleeces (with hood)
  • 1 light down jacket (with hood)
  • 1 winter coat (with hood)
  • 1 pair fleece pants
  • 1 pair of insulated snow/ski pants
  • 1 pair of liner gloves
  • 1 pair of thick snow gloves
  • 1 hat
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 pairs of knee high ski socks
  • 2 pairs of thick wool socks
  • 1 pair of snow/winter boots
  • 2 pollution face masks
  • 1 full face mask
  • Warming insoles to stick onto socks
  • Portable hand warmers

With all of that I wore 5 layers on top (undershirt, sweater, fleece, light down jacket, winter jacket) and 3 on the bottom (long underwear, fleece pants, snow pants). Thorben had similar layers, so we looked like this the whole time:

The MVP of the trip were definitely the self warming insoles you can stick onto your socks. I had them on each day for over 9 hours and they were still warm when I removed them. My feet were always the warmest part and never got cold. Same with my head, but that was probably due to the 4-5 layers I had on 🙂 Overall we didn’t get too cold and also no frostbites, so if I ever go back to temperatures like this- same packing list.

Pictures of the trip will follow as soon as Thorben uploads and sorts through them. It was just too cold to take off the gloves and take pictures with our phones.