Saturday, January 19, 2013

Redcastle Restaurant in Danshui District of Taipei,Taiwan and Historic Mojacar, Spain


What could these two remote locations in the world possible have in common.  Well, only one thing that is also many things at the same time, and I will get to that later.   Keep Reading and you will soon figure it out......

First, let me talk about Mojacar, Spain. 

According to Wikipedia and my other research, Mojacar, Spain is a relatively small municipality situated in the south east part of the Province of Almería (also known as Andalucia).  The outskirts of this town is at sea level,  and borders the Mediterranean Sea.  Mojacar is about 100 km from the capital of the province, Almería.  This very old city (actually ancient) is an elevated mountain village still displaying the traditional white color homes and buildings from centuries ago. Records indicate this town has been populated since the Bronze Age around 2000 BC.  Phoenician and Carthaginian merchants arrived to serve the growing needs of the communities. For a period of time it was under the control of Greece, and was called Murgis-Akra, (Moxacar in Latin and later named Mojacar by the Moors).  In the 8th century AD, the North African Islamic Moors took control of much of southern Spain including Mojacar and the Almeria Province.

This area was under constant struggles between the Moors, Jews and Christians  for a long period of time through the 14th century. As the Christian forces pressed from the East of Spain, watchtowers and fortresses were built in Mojacar by the entrenched Moors to reinforce the resistance.  By 1435, Christians engaged the Moors in a fierce where much of the population of Mojácar was put to the sword.  Over the centuries, Mojácar once again began to expand until the early 18th century, when the census of the time recorded 10,000 people.  

Mojacar (top right) as seen from Mediterranean Sea - Courtesy of coastalparadise

I visited this hilltop town in southern Spain along the Mediterranean Sea back in 2003.  We stayed at an RCI Gold Crown Resort in Mojacar known as:

Vista Natalia II
Cuesta de la Fuente 22-24
Mojacar, Spain
Europe 04638

Our resort/hotel in Mojacar, Spain

As we drove along the Eastern coast of Spain from Barcelona, we stopped in many beautiful towns in Spain including Murcia, Valencia, Benidorm, Granada, Almeria, Seville, and others.  On a side note, Benidorm is a coastal beach resort area along an near desert landscape with high rise hotels and condos.   

Benidorm coast line - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Valencia is a wonderful city, friendly, with great tappas restaurants, and an old Spanish Medieval Castle style casino hotel, 12 km from the city known as the Gran Casino Monte Picayo.  

Casino Front Entrance - Courtesy of internet

Our Room at the Valencia Casino Hotel

Hallway outside our room at the Valencia Casino Hotel

The following photos are from various cities and towns we visited during our trip.....

Exciting narrow alleys and shopping areas at every turn!

A fantastic old Tappas Restaurant

Cool parks/meeting places in every city we visited

Now this is a majestic looking building

I loved this old church

An Incredibly stunning old Building

Beautiful down town areas..yes even with McDonalds!

Another beautiful building

But approaching Mojacar and seeing this white city on top of this isolated mountain was almost majestic from a distance.  From the center city, you can see almost 360 degrees including an awesome view of the Mediterranean Sea with sandy beaches just 2 km away from the Vista Natalia II resort.

Mojacar - Courtesy of Wikipedia
Aerial view of Mojacar - Courtesy of spainisculture

Driving around the winding and confusing roads, we finally found the Vista Natalia II.  We parked in the small parking lot along the main road, and quickly realized, the only way to the lobby and the rooms was up this VERY steep set of stairs climbing long the mountainside.  

NOTE: All photos below not indicated as "Courtesy of ...." were taken by myself during our trip to Mojacar.

From the Parking Lot to the hotel...."Look at those steps we have to climb!"

From outside the lobby ... "Oh NO! More steps to our room!"

With heavy bags to support us during a 3 week trip, it was not a simple task to get our bags to the front lobby as I struggled up (what seemed like) about ~100 winding and uneven stone steps.  After check in, we found out our room was further up the walkway and many more steps to our room, but we did get some assistance from the lobby.  For more than a week, we climbed up and down these steps every time we wanted to go exploring, shopping or just about anything.  The only option was to stay in our small room or take the trek up and down the steps of this quaint time share.
Mojacar, Spain, located in the province of Almeria, situated between Malaga and Alicante, is growing in popularity due to its unspoiled beauty. Vista Natalia II is perched on the mountainside at the entrance to the charming Moorish village of Mojacar. In Mojacar you can stroll amongst the winding (and very steep) streets, or visit the many shops selling an assortment of articles, including their famous handmade rugs.  Finding a parking place in the upper center city is near impossible, so to get there, we had to walk, and walk and walk UPHILL! 

"Yes, we made it to center city.....finally"
A beautiful mountainside home as seen from center city area
The arid mountainside with the Mediterranean Sea beyond as seen from Mojacar

OK, you got an idea of Mojacar, Spain. Except for the painful climbing of about 150 stairs multiple times every day, we truly enjoyed this southern Spain adventure.  A vacation in southern Spain by car can be an inspiring adventure you will not forget!


So maybe you already guessed the connection with the Redcastle Restaurant founded in 1899.  Unless you have a GPS, good directions, or a friend/guest/tour guide that has been there before, it is not an easy place to find in the Danshui area.  Even if you are on the road, it is not easy to see because you have to climb a combination of many sets of stairs to find your way near the top of the hillside.   

Set of Stairs - One thing that is also many things (steps) at the same time!

Several stairs on the way up junction and you can venture off to other areas buildings, small peaceful parks, etc.  But I did count over 85 stairs that I had to climb on the most direct route to get to the front door of this restaurant and I worked up quite an appetite getting there! (Not all steps are shown in the pictures below)

"I should have taken pictures of the stairs near the bottom....little did I know there was more steps to climb!"

......... Another set of stairs!

A small peaceful garden about half way up
"Oh BOY!  so many more steps"

"Will the steps ever end?  Is the Restaurant in Heaven or still on Earth?"

"....many more steps to go, but I can see the Redcastle now"

"Getting very close now"

"There it is!  just a few more sets of stairs!"
"We made it there is the front door"

A marvelous front entrance

"A beautiful old front lobby....I can hardly wait to see the rest of this place"

Look at these charming rooms

"This must lead to even more rooms...I am getting hungry...Let's eat!"

We ate in this room
These rooms are decorated with antiques and small treasures to admire

Our group tour was seated on one of many small to medium size eating areas, and each one was decorated with a fascinating motif and artwork along the walls and ledges.  Once seated, we were treated to quite a delicious feast.

Great Menu Selection

My Place Setting

This sweet & fruity dish was one of my Favorites!

Really Yummy

I Love Peppers in my Chinese dishes - Delicious

The Beef was so Tender, and the sauce .... Scrumptious!

Rich chicken soup .... I had to have a second bowl!
Ok, As you can see, the food was very tasty and delicious for my American palette.  My appetite was thoroughly satisfied.  Usually there are a few dishes not to my delight in most Chinese Restaurants, but the food at the Redcastle Restaurant left me wanting more....... If I am in Danshui, I will go back to the Redcastle.

I must say, climbing the steps in Mojacar was arduous, but considering the quaint historic city, time share charm, friendly people, it was well worth it.  The Redcastle climb to the top was not too bad at all, and if you take the trek up those stairs, there are many great dishes that you will enjoy, so when in Danshui, consider the Redcastle Restaurant.

Redcastle Restaurant
Sanmin St. Lane 2, #6, Danshui
Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.
MRT: Danshui (Red Line), then take the metro Bus #631 or #26 to Chong Jian St.,
Hours: 11am-10pm d\Daily
Phone: 02-8631-1168

For those new readers, in many of my articles, I try to find synergy and common aspects between places I have visited in the past and present. I will always try to make my stories interesting, factual as best i can, and entertaining.  I do NOT receive compensation from anyone or any place that I write about in my blog.  So, my opinions are unbiased, there is no conflict of interest......simply my life experiences from this global traveler.

Edward C.

Let's Soar with Eagles 

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