We had decided over the last couple of months we would head to somewhere warm for the winter, having missed winters for the last two years we thought we would continue the trend. After making it to Panama this past summer driving in our truck and camper, we had only spent a week or so visiting our friends Susan & Darrel in Volcan, it was descided we would go back and spend some of the winter there to see more of the country.
We left mid November on a Wednesday; it was a 5:30pm flight to Denver arriving around 8:30pm where we would have a about three-hour stopover before continuing on to Panama City on an overnight flight arriving around 6:30am.
Having a beer to pass the time at Calgary International Airport.
We had booked our hotel, the Oriental located in the Banking district in downtown Panama City. We arrived around 8:30am due to rush-hour traffic. Managing to check-in early, for an extra charge of cause. We settled into our room then promptly had a nap to catch-up on lack of sleep on the flight. In the afternoon we tracked down a local mobile telephone provider (Claro), before looking for somewhere we could get a refreshment and an early dinner.
Next day, we purchased a transit pass and caught the subway to a station near the waterfront where we walked from there.
From here we walker over to Old Town which is located on a small peninsular at the south end of the city. Old Town is a typical old Spanish style city with narrow streets, squares and old churches.
We stopped at Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Merced (Our Lady of Mercy) church for a look around.
It had a nice Organ that has 1032 Tubes housed in a 18th century armoire which was situated on the rear balcony.
This church also had a small museum that had a large permanent Nativity Scene.
We started heading back towards the city when we came across a bar that served local craft beer on draft and settled on a local Belgian Wheat style beer.
While here, we found out the bartender’s specialty was Mojito’s. Well, say no more, we had to try one before heading off for some dinner.
I will say they were good Mojito’s.
From here we went to look for something for dinner, on our way back we passed a bunch of fishing boats anchored in the bay. This is were we found a food-court that served fresh fish and seafood. Stewart ordered a whole fried fish, while Catherine had her usual garlic shrimp.
From here we continued back towards our hotel where we found a bar for a nightcap before retiring.
Next morning, after breakfast our agenda was to visit the BioMuseo (Bio-Museum), this museum was all about the Panamanian Isthmus and how the distance between North and South America closed. This caused the ocean flow to change, which inturn started the last Ice Age.
Their was a display showing various major animals that crossed between the two continents when the joined together.
This entailed catching the subway to the end of the line then flagging down a taxi to take us to the museum.
When we disembarked from the subway station, we came across a Mercado de Artesinias (Artisans Market). This market was made up of 40ft sea-containers, each containing between 4 and 6 vendors, all making hand made craft items from trinkets to hand woven sweaters and shawls.
Then it was on to the museum.
In the museum there was a small section dedicated to Peppers of all kinds, that informed you of their heat content and where they originated. One could also buy Pepper Seeds from a vending machine for 25cents, it was pot-luck what the machine gave you. Stewart purchased a packet.
The Museum had a very nice nature walk within the grounds with lots of local flora in varing stages of growth.
There was also a huge Fig tree.
When we left here in the early afternoon, we caught the local bus to Albrook shopping mall. This mall would fit into any city in North America and not be out of place.
After our few days here in Panama City it was time to head north to the Panamanian Highlands for a couple of months.
Next: Northern Highlands