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When living in Taiwan it’s easy to spend your time just traveling between work and home on the same route everyday and never paying attention to how beautiful the island is. I know this as I used to do so during my first year in Taiwan.

Even though the Taiwan of today is not the Isla Formosa that Portuguese sailors saw centuries ago it is still a spectacularly beautiful island, covered in mountains and verdant forests.

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And you don’t have to go far to experience this greenery. Within the city limits of our little city, Hsinchu (meaning new bamboo) lies the 18 Peaks Mountain Park. It is a small range of hills, clad in trees, big leaved plants, ferns and bamboo with numerous walkways, exercising spots and benches.

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Twice now we picked up sandwiches for lunch and braved the forest critters; giant mosquitoes, even bigger spiders and dinosaur-looking lizards, to enjoy a relaxing break in the verdurous hills before returning to deal with noisy and difficult students.

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