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A Ruined Day in Panama

PANAMA | Wednesday, 29 August 2018 | Views [152]

We had a lazy start to the morning, called home and lazily got ready to go out. We had intended to go for the free breakfast but decided it was not worth our time. Better to have an appetite for lunch.

Our plan was to visit Panama Viejo; the first settlement of Panama city. It looked a bit far, not even the Hop-on-hop-off goes there. The local bus seemed simple, so we made the 500 or so metre walk to the bus stop and almost immediately a well labelled bus arrived, 25 cents!

The ride was about 20 minutes, not terrible. The buses in Panama are clean and air conditioned. The site costs $15 per person. 

In 1519, Spanish Conquistadors established this town as the first European settlement along the west coast. It served as a trading post and staging area to return gold and silver back to Europe. In 1671 Captain Henry Morgan, you know like the Rum, sacked the city and most of the residence and some buildings were moved to Casco Viejo.  

We have travelled all over the world and viewed many ruins and archeological sites. This site at first appeared under-maintained, but it grew on us. At an age of about 350 year, it is relatively new but resembled some of the Thai and Roman sites we have visited. 

The museum was small but really brought the area to life. There was a large diorama that illustrated how the city functioned.

Our favourite spot was the clock tower; a six story tower that has been restored and can be climbed. Not only was it a spectacular view, it was an amazing spot to get the news that we are proud grandparents to our second grandson; Leonardo, 7 lbs, 8 ounces.

The view was amazing, the mountains had rolling thunderstorms. The view also gave us a nice perspective on the old city and the towering new city Panama has become.

We walked around the ruins for a couple hours and Tim couldn't stop thinking about the grilling chicken we smelled when we arrived. The neighbourhood around the ruins is pretty sketchy, so I was surprised and reluctant about getting food.

To my surprise, this was the best meal so far. When we arrived, this line was quite long and I didn't know if Tim would be patient enough. It went quick, however, and Tim muddled his way through ordering a variety of items. Thank you Google Translate. We sat in the “park” beside the place to eat the food while it was hot.

He got fried plantain, grilled chicken and the most amazing pork skin fried rice. The chicken was a bit dry, but everything else was amazing!!! Tim wanted more plantain but we were pretty full.

We walked back to the bus area and I looked up the route. Tim had us jump on the first bus (in fairness it was the bus that was suggested to go to Panama Viejo). The bus basically took us back to our hotel, we could have taken one that would have taken us closer; oh well, a little exercise never hurt anyone.

We grabbed a couple beer and hit the pool.

After a short nap, we wondered out for a beer. We perused the menus of a couple places but found that we wanted something good, and we knew where to get good beer; Istmo's. Funny enough we aren’t the only ones that feel that way. The 3 Britsh guys from the night before showed up to play pool and joy a few beers as well.

We enjoyed a couple 2 for 1 beer, went for a bit of a walk and found some food. After a big lunch, I wasn't very hungry. Tim got a braised beef dinner and I got massed potatoes and an empanada. 


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