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Published: April 27th 2023
I had been meaning to visit Nantou Ancient City for ages and the new subway line made it much more convenient. It was late afternoon by the time I got there and walked through the old city gates. Since it was a Saturday and the weather was nice and cool, it was packed. We headed off to the backstreets that surround the main area, as it was quieter here. There seemed to be no remnants of the ancient city here. Instead just regular daily life was on display, lots of little stores selling daily essentials, small restaurants, washing hanging out, alleyways filled with e-bikes and motorised carts, and people going about their day to day things. After circling around, we ended up on the main street, which was filled with people. I didn't really like it because it was packed and had no interest in looking in any of the stores. We did come to a fairly nice square that has some nicely painted buildings around it and was filled with school kids. Then it was back to wandering the small, quieter laneways. This lead us to another square. I much preferred this one. It was quieter and leafier as there
were loads of trees. It was surrounded by a mix of commercial and residential buildings. The residential buildings were backing onto the square and their balconies were filled with drying laundry. There were some nice looking bars and restaurants and also a couple of art galleries.
Wandering the packed streets again, I was wondering how some of the businesses made any money as lots of people were just standing outside of the cute storefronts and their decorated patio areas taking photos and selfies. Nobody seemed to be actually frequenting these businesses. Overall, I found Nantou Ancient City to be pretty mediocre. However, there was one part of it that did make the trip there worthwhile. We headed into some building (I don't know its name) and headed up to the rooftop. The roof top was really nice and the views of the surrounding area were awesome. It would have been nice if there wasn't a chainmail type fence all around, but it wasn't the end of the world. We watched the sunset, which was lovely. We could also see into the rooftop garden of a bar in a smaller building below where a bloke had done a massive marriage
proposal to his girlfriend. I hope after all that effort she says yes. We were getting hungry by this point, so we headed to Bionic Brew for a pint and some dinner. The bar is small but well formed. They have a 'People's Pint', which where they discount one of their craft brews, so I had that. It was fine, nothing to write home about. For food, I ordered a beetroot, falafel and hummus wrap. That was utterly delicious. Since I generally eat Chinese food about 90% of the time, it made a really nice change to have something different and it was a nice combination of some of my favourite foods.
We hopped on the subway and headed a couple of stops away to Shangchuan Station. I think this is known for its gold/jewellery markets. We walked past a couple of shopping malls filled with stores dedicated to selling the aforementioned items. We headed into one of the urban villages in the area and spent an hour or so wandering its streets and laneways. Since it was a Saturday night, the area was pretty busy with restaurants filled and street food stalls set up with people waiting for
their goodies to be ready. There were of shops selling daily essentials and toys too. The area had a pretty vibrant feel to it, even if it wasn't the best of neighbourhoods. We passed a few Mah-jong parlours, too. I enjoyed my walk around the neighbourhood just watching normal life occur.
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