The view from a high rise. The sky is friendly and blue, there are lush mountain ranges in the distance and a river can be seen. Yet, all this is concealed by other high rises close to the window and feels out of reach.

Wanhua (萬華區)

In Taiwan, August is the month where Ghost Month starts (this year on August 15th). I plan to dive into some of the traditions next week, based on photos I took around Qingshan Temple (艋舺青山宮). The temple lies in the middle of Wanhua district, the oldest district in Taipei and an interesting one as well! Of course a week is much too short for this expedition, so this will be a shorter stint.

I lived in Wanhua for a month after moving here, hopping from one AirBnB to the next while looking for our current apartment. This is an image I took from there. It illustrates one thing nicely that is elementary about the district: It lies in the very middle of Taipei. This means the mountains ranges around the city and the relaxation they promise are far off. Tamsui River and its riverside parks are closer, but they are rather inaccessible here, cut off by multiple streets and dams.

This geographic destiny makes Wanhua even more of a melting pot than it already is, with its historically narrow streets and its colorful and rough demographics gathered over the maybe three centuries of its existence.

We will dive into the streets tomorrow, so maybe enjoy the breeze and sliver of green while you can!

(“Fernweh” is one of those precious German words without a good translation. Maybe wanderlust gets close, but the literal translation is “far away ache,” which has just the right amount of romantic longing to it.)

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