All posts by Catherine Lee

Yang-Ming Shan 陽明山: All Smiles YA!

Wonderful weather yesterday for Taiwan’s 228 national holiday ~ and it seemed like the whole of Taipei was up on Yang-Ming Shan Mountains making the most of the last few days of the Cherry Blossom season….

And it was quite some day, I can tell you!   3 very delightful students from our university student fellowship and me ~ there we all were standing at the bus stop outside the main SJU gate in the dark at 6:00am, all set for me to lead them on their first ever great ascent of the Yang-Ming Shan mountains….

Can’t believe we did it ha ha!  Even getting them to the gate at such an early hour was not exactly easy, but launch forth we did, and 2 hours later we were ready to start the great climb….

3 lovely students ~ one talked and sang and laughed and smiled and posed for happy photos all day long, another carried the heavy backpacks, helped everyone along and kept cool, calm and collected throughout, and the other, well, alternated between being on cloud nine and joking and laughing and pulling funny faces for the camera, or groaning with each painful step of the way and needed quite some major encouragement to make the next move!  But in the process we got to know all the other people out on the mountain and by the end we had got a whole lot of new friends (and a whole set of crazy photos!)….

And hey, despite some doubts that we might never make it even to the top of the first mountain, in fact we did 4 mountain tops, Mian-Tian Shan 面天山 and the 3 in the Da-Tun range, west peak, south peak and the main peak 大屯西峰, 南峰 and 主峰 ~ the middle 2 are very steep but ropes are provided to grab onto and haul yourself up and down, the other 2 climbs are mostly steps, and on the lower slopes in the forests all very slippery.  A great challenge!

Perfect weather, foggy when we started, but it soon cleared and there was blue sky when we were on the tops, and cloudy when we were going up steep steps ~ God is good!

Met a man who had been one of our students some years ago and he knew all our chaplaincy staff, and a couple who had cycled to the top of Da-Tun Shan (truly amazing – groan at the thought of it!), but not just from Taipei, in fact all the way from Chung-Li 中壢 and were members of the Chung-Li Presbyterian Church, where the pastor happens to be a friend of mine… ah it’s a small world!

Came down from Yang-Ming Shan mid-afternoon with zillions and zillions of people in cars and buses and on motorbikes in one long single-file traffic jam that took 3 times longer than usual ~ but hey it was worth it!

And finally to Tamsui for ‘hotpot’ dinner…

A fun day!  And the reality is that all over the world, local people have often never had the chance to see much of their own country (especially the famous tourist sites), so here was my chance to introduce 3 lovely Taiwan students to the beauties of their own mountains, lying right on their own doorstep, and what’s more – within view of our university campus every day (well, on a fine day anyway)!

Thanking God for an amazing day and the wonders of His beautiful creation!

Treasure Hill 寶藏巖, Taipei….

Only 5 minutes walk from Taiwan’s most famous university, NTU (National Taiwan University), and its busy student shopping area and night markets, is this rather amazing village stuck on the side of a hill, Treasure Hill in fact….


After the war, lots of KMT soldiers were released from the Chinese military and settled here, building their own homes with rocks from the river, many still live here, plus artists in an artist village…

This month, the village is hosting an art festival, hence lots of weird, wacky and wonderful objects!

Fascinating place, well worth a visit!

Fish ‘n Chips in Tamsui… yep, the real thing!

Launching a restaurant selling ‘Traditional British Food’ right in the heart of a culture where food is the ultimate obsession is not for the faint-hearted…. but this is it!

Tamsui’s 英國奶奶 Britshake restaurant, run by Amy and her husband is really a brave venture, but of course the food is great and Amy charms everyone by her vibrant and lively personality, so there’s queues of satisfied customers lining up for photos with her….

Amy comes from Lincoln in England and with her Taiwanese husband is determined to change Taiwanese perceptions of British food.  So armed with chef qualifications and plenty of experience, determination and friendliness, she has set up in the middle of Tamsui’s main shopping street where the evenings are buzzing with life and activity….

Fish ‘n Chips, Fish Pie, Cottage Pie are the 3 main dishes, plus milkshakes, potatoes, soups and teas…. all made in true English style…

Last night I took Louise (who’s actually Canadian, but close!) for Fish ‘n Chips, and she found one of her students working there – so there were plenty of photos ha ha!

A tiny restaurant with a great heart and wonderful atmosphere, and of course – excellent food ~ and if you’re in the area, do go and visit!

Taipei Lantern Festival

Yesterday’s Lantern Festival in Taipei was spectacular – a huge area near the Expo and Art Museum and everywhere were lanterns of all shapes and sizes, many of gods and ancient sages, myths and traditional stories, also big lantern displays from schools of all ages, fun lanterns and aboriginal indigenous ones, all with an abundance of horses of course….

Happy Year of the Horse ~ and that marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations for this year…. and a new semester starts next week here at SJU!

Happy Valentines Day…

and Happy Lantern Festival – the last day of Chinese New Year, and there’s lantern horses everywhere and big celebrations tonight…

Should you be looking for someone to celebrate Valentines Day with, look no further than this new sign that I noticed at Chinese New Year in a street near St. James’ Church in Taichung….


Love it!  Just hoping that ‘Everlasting’ applies only to ‘Marriage’ rather than the whole title – otherwise their work’ll never be done!