“Travel is not about looking for new scenery, but about new horizons. The best way to learn is to travel, and the journey is the course.”
Ask any Taiwanese person about Jinguashi (金瓜石) and they’ll probably give you a vague response. “It’s close to Jiufen” or “it’s a gold mine, right?” are common responses. Actually, Jinguashi has a much greater cultural significance in Taiwan than you may think. Boasting a beautiful landscape facing mountains and sea, historically, Jinguashi is best known as a World War II prison camp – a fact about the area that can never be forgotten. (Read more: Remembering Taiwan’s Kinkaseki POW Camp on Tomb Sweeping Day)
Walk along the Jinguashi trail
We came to Jinguashi to decorate a bouquet of flowers for ourselves, one of the relaxing activities you can take part in in the local area. We followed florist Yuan along the walkway leading to Jinguashi Mountain. He stopped from time to time to point out ferns and the like, to teach us how to appreciate the local plant life. “Everyone always notices bright red flowers, but green plants are often overlooked. However, if there is no green to be a background, the colorful flowers may not be so eye-catching” He picked a fern leaf and put it in his pocket while he talked. He only picked green leaves and ferns as he continued along the trail.
As we continued down the trail, the stone steps disappeared gradually and the trail became more of a flat dirt road that was flanked by old water pipes. “This walkway is actually the location of Jinguashi’s old waterway. In the past, this area was a pit. This path was a shortcut for miners to work. The water pipes and ditches on the ground are used to transport water to mines,” our tour guide Gordon told us. (Read also: The Etiquette for Sending Flowers in Taiwan: Do’s and Don’ts)
Enjoy local Ingredients
At the end of the hike, we entered the “Adagio” (緩慢金瓜石民宿), which emphasizes slow travel, slow living, and slow food. Our freshly cooked lunch is made with seafood from the Northeast Coast topped with the chef’s special sauce. The delicate and pleasing presentation allows you to enjoy the food before you’ve even taken a bite.
Experience Flower arrangement, Learn through travel
After filling our stomachs, it was time to make our bouquets. The teacher first prepared the flowers for us and demonstrated how to properly decorate, incorporating the ferns he had picked this morning into his work. We realized that the plants we picked in the morning were meant to project our whole day’s ethos into the finished product. From roaming trails to gaining an in-depth understanding of Jinguashi, and slow food tasting to the final flower arrangement experience, it turned out that the point of the whole day’s experience was for us to slow down, broaden our horizons, and learn through travel. (You might also like: Throwing Away the Floral Design Rulebook: An Interview with Florist Takako Mine)
09:00 Meet your tour guide at Yuanshan MRT Station
09:15 Depart for Jinguashi
10:20 Arrive at Jinguashi Adagio, follow the teacher on a walk along Jinguashi Trail
13:00 Flower arranging course decorating your own bouquet
15:00 Afternoon tea time
15:45 Depart for Taipei
16:45 Drop off at Yuanshan MRT Station
Plan your flower arrangement course in Jinguashi NOW.