Sunday, April 12, 2009

Adrian & John's Little Switzerland cycling peregrination

Switzerland! Or is it? It would help if you could see the big mountains close by which help to create an alpine feel about the landscape. But of course this is not Switzerland, not even Europe. This is Tainan county, Taiwan. One recent weekend my friend John and I packed our camping gear onto our bicycles and headed off to a place called Little Switzerland.

Note the new carry-rack attached to the back of my seat pole. Attached to it are my tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag. This rack is not mine but borrowed from John. I think Andrea was so impressed with the rack that not long after this trip she bought me one of my own, plus a small, battery-powered computer that measures distance travelled, speed, etc. Oh, and she bought me panniers too. Pannier (or panier) is the name for one of those bags that fit either side of a wheel of the bike. It was really nice of Andrea to get me those things.

Here's John on his more technically-advanced bicycle, further along the road to the future of cycling.
I think John and I came to the same conclusions regarding the Switzerlandness of Little Switzerland. I guess that if you've never seen a picture of Switzerland then this place bears some similarity to the authentic article. In the photo above you can see the hydro-electric station generating electricity from the water flowing from the reservoir on the other side of the dam wall. We camped on one of the green grassy terraces you can see on this side of the wall. On the way here we had had trouble finding the place and one woman from whom we asked for directions told us that we couldn't camp here anymore. I think what she meant was that it was possible and not illegal to set up camp but that there were no facilities whatsoever available for campers. There was no place to get food in the nearby village and no place to buy water or obtain potable water. And there were no bathrooms either. Walking about on the following morning we discovered the remnants of an old campsite with picnic tables and tent spaces. A large channel had been dug through the area and it was obviously well along the fall into disrepair.

What can I say about this photo? Nothing.

Same goes for this one.

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