Hello from Sunny Panama,
As I lay by the pool feeling the gentle Pacific breeze cool the remaining moisture from my morning swim, I hear the distant sound of a gasoline powered leaf blower at work in the hotel grounds. I couldn’t help but smile while thinking of the normal use for such a device at home during this time of the year… removing snow! Well, at 32C I can tell you there is no snow here, at least not today!
We were up in time to check out the complementary breakfast, included with our room here at the Country Inn Panama Canal (Amador). The breakfast room was set up as a buffet and everything was there. Hot food, cold food, fresh fruit, pastries, juices, toast, cereals, etc. It was a pretty elaborate spread. Sorry, Everette. No pie!
Yesterday, I promised you some pictures of why I think this hotel is located in a great spot for Panamanian vacation. There is nothing special about the building but the place, right next to the canal, and the lack of traffic makes for a restful environment. You can swim in he pool, watch the ships go by in the canal, walk along the canal, or just veg. Your choice. As well, you are within walking distance of the causeway and have a great view of the Bridge of the Americas. About a block away, towards the causeway, you will find the Balboa Yacht Club. The place is pretty casual, consisting of a bar and a pier out into the canal. It is open to the public so we went here for lunch and a couple of drinks. The food was good (bar food) and the atmosphere perfect!
Around 3PM, we set out for Ancon Hill, which my trusty guide-book claims has some great views of both the canal and the city skyline. You could see if from our hotel. It’s the hill with the huge Panama flag flying from the top and the two huge communication towers. Getting to it with a car what with one way streets and mid street berms that keep you from turning a particular direction, required some patience. We had just about given up when we found it. The road is right behind the university and you can drive up about half way where you will meet a security guard and gate who will tell you that you can walk the rest of the way up but have to leave the car. The access is good as you actually walk on a paved road that is there to give vehicle access to the communications equipment at the top of the hill. The vegetation is quite dense and it often arches over the road providing shade to make the journey more comfortable. You will walk a steady upgrade for about 30 minutes before you arrive at the top. Try to ignore the local fitness freaks who are running up the hill past you as you gasp for your next breath. The views from the top are spectacular. Our timing was good, as I was able to get the late afternoon sun, which is exactly what I wanted.
A little pool time, once back at the hotel, refreshes enough to help you last until dinner, which tonight was to be at Pencas Restaurant. It is about a 15 minute walk from the hotel right on the main drag to the causeway. We arrived about 7:30 and the restaurant was pretty much full. The staff here have little to no English so there was lots of gesturing and pointing to menu items that constituted our order. We wondered if we would get what we ordered and sure enough we did. Now we were not in a rush but it took about 15 minutes for our drink order to be delivered and the food was a bit over 30 minutes. We noticed that the place seemed pretty structured. Servers only served. Buss people only bussed tables. However, as soon as anything was ready from the kitchen, whoever was close brought it out. None of the tables got all their food at the same time. Interesting quirk about the place, I guess, but the food was hot and it tasted wonderful. I ordered chicken wrapped in bacon and it was amazing. Of course, anything wrapped in bacon turns my crank!
Today’s feature image is of the Casco Viejo area which was the second Panama City. Casco Viejo is also known as the Old Town and dates back to the 1600s. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tomorrow, we meet with a real estate agent about a project that we found through International Living Magazine. I will give you the details tomorrow.