Taipei has a beautiful Confucian temple, which is free to visit. Located a short walk from the Yuan Shan MRT station (Red Line), the temple is free to visit and offers a free film in English, which explains the basics of Confucianism. If you visit when there isn’t a tour, the brochure
The temple’s architecture is based on Qufu religious architecture and southern Fu Jianese architecture. Since I’ve seen a lot of Chinese temples this one didn’t wow me, but I always enjoy the art and symmetry of these temples. It’s a serene sight.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 8:30 am to 9:00 pm
Sunday and Mondays 8:30 to 5:00pm. Closed on Sunday
If you visit Taipei, you really should take a stroll around Huashan 1914, a one time industrial complex that’s now an artsy, creative center. Huashan 1914 has several cafés, galleries, shops and restaurants. The art ranges from the cute to the provocative, with an accent on the cute.
It’s a fun place to stroll and in humid Taiwan it’s nice to go from outside to in when you need some respite.
When I went, I met several gallery workers and shop clerks who spoke English well. I particularly enjoyed the man at the leather exhibition who told me several stories about the history of his leather company.
It’s free to wander around, but some exhibits charge entrance fees.
For my library class, I have had to complete three courses on codeacademy.com. These interactive courses are free, though you can get a premium account and get a certificate and more detailed instruction.
We had to do the first courses on HTML & CSS, a style sheet language, Building a Website and SQL, a database. The courses were well designed with a good mix of theory and step by step instructions. Code Academy did have some bugs, which get fixed if you report them. I had problems with the exercises. When there were two tasks and I’d complete one, I’d get an error message for not having done both lessons even though the second task is darkened so you can’t do it till you’ve run the first. It was a minor annoyance.
While I prefer Lynda.com courses because they have more insider information and more of a human feel, Code Academy is a good place to get your toes wet to see if you want to learn more.
Relaxing on a Sunday afternoon
The two most famous sights in Jinan are Batou Springs and Da Ming Lake. I think Thousand Buddha Mountain should be on the top of the list, but it’s a little bit farther afield, though it’s still in town.
Today a few of us went for a stroll around the lake. Half the lake is open to the public for free and the other half requires a $6 entrance fee. (A bit steep, I think.) I suppose this is a compromise. When I first came to Jinan you had to pay or you couldn’t go in.