The first part of "Sun Moon Lake" is dedicated to a dear friend of mine who wished to bid at the previous auction but lacked the means for the reserve price. Currently she is raising money for this children hospital - Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.
If you can, please help to raise money by donating here.
The first time I wanted to go to Sun Moon Lake, I ended up going to Yingge.
To cut a short story shorter, I talked to BBB about going together to Sun Moon Lake (apart from a beautiful lake it is also “the place" in Taiwan for black tea). Regardless of me coming or not, BBB was going with his friend the next morning. If I wished to join them I would have to make it to the Taipei Main Train Station at 10am.
I made it, but unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to go for a long enough period I deemed to be “enjoyable”.
I apologized and we went our own ways. They went ahead with their plan, and I ended up in Yingge (not before getting lost).
A few weeks later I got my chance to visit Sun Moon Lake.
I have no idea what the sights are like going by train, but taking the bus was very enjoyable. One gets to see some very beautiful rich agricultural land. We were dropped at “hmmm where the %$#& are we?” – there was no lake at sight. However a short walk up the road was a sign directing to the "Sun Moon Lake Antique Assam Tea Farm".
This was the first of many stops on our trip, and a place that celebrated the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
"Sun Moon Lake Antique Assam Tea Farm" is more then just a place where you get to follow the tea from almost the very beginning (tea trees) to the nice metal presentation boxes.
Of course there was the usual suspect - a tea shop, but also guided tours to almost all the stages of the black tea process and equally important (we were very hungry) some of the best vegetarian restaurant I have ever visited, where many of the dishes were cooked with tea – a divine taste!
- keep scrolling, there is more text and pictures-
Some of the material, equipment and process used (not in order):
It so happened and we arrived at the “last meal” – of the restaurant (it closed down for “at least a few months”) and what a feast it was.
Interestingly, the place is run by its previous owner, one of the nicest people I came across. She is a Buddhist organic-vegetarian and the teas, food and overall environment of the place are positively influenced by this.
At some point we were asked “where do you guys stay?” to which we mentioned a hotel we looked up that was reasonably priced and apparently near by (so the bus driver told us just before he dropped us in nowhere land). “Oh… you will not see anything …I have a friend who leaves to town maybe she can give you a lift and help you find a decent hotel with a nice view”.
Lonika is a meditation specialist who recently moved back with her mother to take care of their family tea farm. Moreover, as we were to experience a day later she is a tea master.
"Black tea with milk on top, black tea at the bottom = yummy"
To be continued (please don't forget to donate).
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