Floating Lanterns

when i saw the movie “tangled”, rapunzel immediately became my favorite disney princess (i mean, come on, she bakes and knits in the tower!).  my favorite scene was the one where she and flynn are in the boat watching the lanterns being released in the memory of the missing princess.  beautiful and magical – it still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

when i was planning my trip to Taiwan, my friend Esther tells me about town of Pingxi and the Sky Lantern Festival.  once i went online and saw the pictures, i knew i had to go!

armed with my tour books and my friend gracie, we set out to find this town of lanterns.  the lantern festival only happens around the lunar new year and since we were there in november, we could only hope to light a lantern for good luck.  trying to find our way to the pingxi railway line, we did get a bit lost and finally onto the correct train about 2 hours after we set out.  so, to make up for lost time, we stopped only at shifen, the biggest of the towns along the line and had a waterfall to see too.

on the way, the scenery from the train was beautiful –

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this whole region used to be for coal mining and though the resources have been depleted, there were many reminders of what indusry used to dominate here and the people who worked so hard for it:

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clearly, this is the destination for the lanterns as the trains even have pictures on them:

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right outside the train station are the old railroad tracks.  rows of shops flank both sides selling street food, trinkets, lantern souvenirs, and places to buy lanterns to light up.

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this is what we came for!  we bought a red latern (red for good luck) and wrote well wishes for our family on them to be lifted up to the sky.  as christians, we lifted up our favorite verses and prayers for our loved ones and we let go!  up, up and away!

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also in shifen, are the beautiful waterfalls.  from the main road and the lantern shops, we walked towards the river and hills, streams and lakes, small waterfalls and bridges, and then to the main attraction…

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the shifen waterfall!

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you can take steps to see the waterfall from below

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so beautiful.  and we had just enough time to get a stuffed chicken leg on our way out!

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