After we left the tea museum in Pinglin, we drove to a small town called Shifen. "Shi" means "ten" in Chinese. The town was named "Shifen" because there used to be ten families working together in this town. It was once a town for coal mining. The nearby Pingshi Branch Railroad was built in 1918 for coal transportation, but was selected to be a tourist trail railroad in 1992. We had lunch at Shifen Station which was full of beautiful and nostagic scenery and artifacts.
On the way to Shifen, we noticed what I thought were "burning kites" in the sky. We later found out they were sky lanterns, which is "a paper lantern with a combustible element attached to the underside. When the element is lit hot air rises into the lantern sack and the lantern floats into the sky like a hot-air balloon." (Thank you Lonely Planet Guide to Taiwan!). They looked SO cool. I couldn't get a good shot of them, unfortunately. Paper lanterns were used long ago to send signals to people who lived in remote mountainous villages to warn them of an impending invasion from bandits and marauders.
BUT! This is the reason why we visited Shifen. First, we walked across a bridge:
Then we followed a cobblestone path along the Keelung River to another (smaller bridge):
And we walked alongside the railroad tracks...until we reached this!
Here is a 3 second video for your viewing pleasure! (I made a longer one, but I have to figure out how to edit it).
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It's like a mini Niagra Falls...just gorgeous. I promised Anjoli that she could post some pictures from Shifen on her blog, so be sure to check those out too! They'll be up soon (really!). Here are a few shots of the surrounding area: