◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting ◎Photo by Cai Sheng-yu
Whether they come from north or south, motorists heading toward the Old Railway Bridge which crosses the Lower Danshuei River (now known as the Gaoping River because it divides Kaohsiung from Pingtung County and not to be confused with the Tamsui River in north Taiwan) are bound to end up on Taiwan Highway 29. Road signs for the Old Railroad Bridge Education Wetland Zone soon come into sight. Watching the sunrise over the century-old railway bridge beguiles photographers, many of whom arrive here just before dawn.
Those in the know share tips for appreciating the sunrise scene. Heading south from the old bridge's parking lot, one passes under the old railway bridge, then after 10 minutes' walk one can enjoy views of the western side of the old bridge, the river flowing beneath it and the sky, as well as a strip of lawn further inland by the river bank. As the minutes pass, onlookers gradually see the old railway bridge appear more clearly, while in the distance is the blurred shape of Mount Dawu. The sun emerging from behind Mount Dawu is seen by those waiting as a prelude to a good day.
About ten minutes before the sun rises, the first train shuttling passengers from Pingtung to Kaohsiung approaches at full speed. Radiating intense light, it is sometimes mistaken by onlookers, who exclaim it to be the rising sun. As the train gets closer, those watching realize their mistake, and the buzz subsides.
As the sky clears, it is possible to get a more substantial view of the contours of Mount Dawu above the clouds. At this moment, the rising sun is a sight to behold. Those in the know share keen observations and detailed explanations which show their familiarity with photographing Mount Dawu and the sunrise from this spot, and which distinguish professionals from amateurish photographers. As the sun climbs, the old railway bridge becomes more visible. Eventually, the mountain skies take on the color of ivory, as the previous phenomenon of vivid lights and shadows fades away. Onlookers turn on their heels and stroll along the riverbank while bathing in the sunlight. If the opening time for the old railway bridge over the Lower Danshuei River were not be as late as 9 o'clock (admission is free), they could conveniently visit the bridge itself. At this early hour, many travelers flock to nearby Jioucyutang for breakfast.
Having experienced an intriguing excursion to the Old Railway Bridge Over the Lower Danshuei River and vistas of the Gaoping River, travelers are welcome to explore Jioucyutang. Filled with historic elements, Jioucyutang entices visitors with its alluring buildings, delicious cuisine and friendly residents.