Day 9 - Thursday 20 November - National Palace Museum

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Slept like crap. The pillow was too squishy, my spine kept hurting, the bowels decided to get upset, and it was either too hot or too cold depending on if I had the doona on or not.

And it turns out the bathroom *does* have an interior blind that you can close to the bedroom. But there's almost nowhere to hang anything and no spare toilet paper. And the Tripadvisor website is blocked here. Go figure.

The view from our hotel room by day
The view from our hotel room by day

We had a very slow morning. We went downstairs for the hotel breakfast which was ok, but then the sweetie wanted to take it easy because he was feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and he wanted to do some uni reading. I, on the other hand, was feeling anxious like a caged animal might.

The breakfast room in the hotel
The breakfast room in the hotel

Taipei currency
Taipei currency

Left the hotel around 11:30. We walked up to Songjiang Nanjing station and caught two trains to Shilin. Turns out passport stamps are just as big a thing here as in Japan. Really kicking myself I didn't bring a nice Field Notes notepad to put them in!

Station sign in Songjiang Nanjing
Station sign in Songjiang Nanjing

From Shilin we were meant to catch a R30 (or I30 on all the timetables) bus to the museum, but according to the timetables they only went every 30-60 minutes on weekdays. So we decided to jump on a 855 which said it was going there anyway. It went straight there so glad we did that.

Entrance to the National Palace Museum
Entrance to the National Palace Museum

Stu at the National Palace Museum
Stu at the National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum

We had to put our bags in a locker (10NT deposit) and I think it was 250NT entry each ($10). Except we went in before we realised we didn't have any sort of guide book or map. And Stu didn't really even know what was in there either. So we were kinda flying blind. We ended up in the pottery/porcelin section and took a good long while to walk through and look at all the beautiful porcelin. We stopped then and looked up the internet for what else was at the museum and where things were. Had a bit of a look at the calligraphy then split up to do things at our own pace. I had a quick walk through the paintings and the bronze work, then found the snuff box exhibition which was super cool.

Met up with the sweetie for a late lunch of steamed pork buns and dumplings in the tea house upstairs.

Dumplings in the museum cafe
Dumplings in the museum cafe

Steamed pork buns in the museum cafe
Steamed pork buns in the museum cafe

Continued on, having a look at all the Jade (this was super popular with the tourists) and the orientation room, and finally the stunning collection of "precious crafts" in a special collection downstairs. I've decided "openwork" was my favourite thing. Just amazing.

There's no photography which was a bit of a bummer, but you can kind of understand why. The place was *crawling* with people. Soooo many people. Many of them in tour groups that would all rush to a window, pushing you out of the way so they could all see, then they'd be off again to the next thing. I found it all to be super stressful. The sweetie was worn out by it all too, so instead of seeing what else there was to see around the place, we just headed back to the hotel.

The National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum

Entrance to the National Palace Museum
Entrance to the National Palace Museum

Traffic control at Songjiang Nanjing station
Traffic control at Songjiang Nanjing station

We picked up some snacks and a sandwich and a salad and some beer from a 7-Eleven on the way and then flopped in front of You've Got Mail before bed.

Dinner at the hotel (we didn't have all those beers at once!)
Dinner at the hotel (we didn't have all those beers at once!)

Grape flavoured beer
Grape flavoured beer

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