To go to the Pingxi Rail, we first went to Ruifang. In Ruifang you can buy an all day pass to ride the Pingxi local rail line as many times as you want in one day. The trains don't leave Ruifang all the time though so we had an hour or so to use up before our Pingxi train left. We spent it exploring Ruifang a bit. It was fun to get my kids out of the big city and into a smaller town. When I was here as a missionary, I spent a lot of time in smaller cities and towns so it was fun for me to take them somewhere more like what I remembered. We even met a nice family from South Africa in Ruifang.
Then the train came and we headed up on the Pingxi Line. It rained a bit but mostly was just one of those magical misty days that I love in Taiwan.
The big thing in the Pingxi area is to light sky lanterns. They have a big festival where they release tons at once. (Kind of like in Tangled.) But we decided to take the quieter route and go up a week or so before the festival. You can release lanterns all the time so we grabbed the kids from school one day when Grandpa was in town and just went up mid-week. We weren't sure what to expect but it was really easy to find places to get the lanterns. We rode to the end of the line (Jingtong I think) and just planned to work our way back down the line. We never did stop in Pingxi actually. But we still had a great time. We'll have to go back another time and take in some of the hikes. I hear they are supposed to be great. We did take a quick hike to a small water fall.
And, of course, we set off our lanterns.
The first thing you do is write your hopes and wishes on the lantern. The kids used Chinese calligraphy brushes to write what they wanted and we added some of our own wishes as well.
|"This is great with grandpa." Awww.|
|Then the person who sold you the lantern adds the fuel.|
|You take it out over the train tracks and she lights it. You hold it as the hot air fills it.|
|And then you let it go, sending your good hopes and wishes with it.|
|The old mine area is in a pretty part of the mountains that overlooks Pingxi and the other towns.|
|Definitely worth the trip. We had a fantastic day.|