Chishang -> Fuli -> Dongli -> Yuli Since we over-tasked ourselves yesterday by riding extra miles from Luye to Chishang, today we decided to take it slow by stopping in Yuli. It is a small town located 30 kms from our starting point. The free Chinese breakfast buffet provided by the hotel included scrambled eggs, fried gluten balls, stirred fry, pickles and rice congee. This might be foreign to Panda’s American taste but it made Penguin quite happy.
Before departing, we toured the town and visited Chishang Riceball Museum. We learned about the history of the local rice culture. The production of riceballs as fast food for early rail passengers was central to Chishang place in Taiwan’s history.
In the museum visitors can also buy bags of raw rice to carry home or try fresh-cooked riceball bento. Outside the museum was an out-of-use train which was not only good for pictures but is also a special dining area where visitors can sit by the windows and eat their riceball bento. We got there too early and the museum building was open but there was no staff moving around. The famous fresh Chishang riceball were not yet being sold. Seeing more and more dark clouds gathering in the sky, we were obliged to hit the road.
There are some slopes between Chishang and the next quite town Fuli, but none as steep as yesterday’s Mt. Baohua. After taking a break in Fuli and recharging ourselves with ice cream at Seven-Eleven, we got back on the road and carefully went through a highway section.
After reaching the run-down Dongli, there is a 10km-long smooth and level bike path built on an abandoned railway. With plenty of idyllic countryside scenery to look at, it took us all the way to Yuli.
Based on comments on google map, we found this extremely cheap (only 700 or 800 NTD per night) Fu Jin Hotel in Yuli. The old lady at the reception was nice enough to let us to view all the rooms and pick out whichever one we liked. The building was apparently old and so was the furniture in the room, but at least it was clean. AC and hot shower were functioning well. With the little money we paid, what else could we possibly complain? It was a deal!