Yesterday awoke as a beautiful mountain day. The clean fresh mountain breeze, along with warm tropical sunshine motivated us to get out of the house and explore a bit of our mountain community on foot.
The development in which we are living is named Los Altos De Cerro Azul, which means “The High of the Blue Mountain” (I think). This community is subdivided into a number of smaller neighbourhoods, each with its own name. We are renting in a neighbourhood called El Castillo and building in one called El Alcazar 2, which is simply one mountain ridge closer to Panama City than our rental house. Anyways, we decided to head out and have a look at some of the houses in El Castillo and a neighbouring area called El Fortin.
Houses up here vary in age, size, shape, color, and style. Each concrete structure is tucked away on its own lot that usually takes advantage of the topography of the land. Some houses are cantilevered out over the side of the mountain while others have had their property leveled before being built. All are interesting to see as the owners creativity often shows in the layout of the building. People from all over the world own property here so styles will often reflect the heritage of the owners.
We start our exploration with a walk around the exterior of our rental house where we find an unusual little white bug on one of the plants on the deck. It turns out to be a Cochineal Bug (I am told) that has some interesting uses. See http://www.texasindians.com/coch1.htm. Anyway, I think our little bug is really having a bad hair day. The deck was also full of Hummingbirds, squabbling over one of our feeders and flies working over one of the plants.
As you can see, there is quite a variety of homes. I really like the little A-frame cottage. It looks like a playhouse.
This community has been here for many years. Before the inland beach areas like Coronado started to develop in Panama, Cerro Azul was a popular place for people in Panama City to escape the heat. As such, there were some beautiful estates built here. One such place is the mountain home of the owners of the Novey chain of stores, which reminds me of Canadian Tire stores without the automotive components. On our walk, we noticed the place was empty so we took advantage of the opportunity, walked right in and had a look around.
This place is massive and beautiful. It reminds me of an English country estate. The majestic two-storey Tudor style structure with its well-maintained neatly manicured lawns, multiple decks, water feature, and ample vegetable garden says “old money” right from the main gate. It is a truly beautiful place. It really is amazing what you find in the jungle!
As we proceeded further down the roadway, we eventually came to a gate marking the entrance to a four by four or walking trail that we were not familiar with. We walked for another thirty or so minutes and eventually came to lookout built on the top of the hill. It looked like a weather station with a wooden deck and freshly painted fence. Impressive!
After a brief stop to take in the scenery, we headed back towards home, stopping to check out some interesting floral material, a small frog and a thieving squirrel!