Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Exploring the old city - Panama Viejo with an 7 year old

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Today we have been to Panama Viejo.
Viejo means old.
This is the oldest settlement on the Pacific.
It dates back to 1519.
It was destroyed in 1671 by Henry Morgan and his fellow pirates.
Now my son is really interested in pirates and knew all about Henry Morgan,
so this was great for him.
Behind us you can see the cathedral.
They have partly restored this, so we started there.

The original old staircase was removed and taken to where they built the newer city.
There it has been used in a church.
Which now they call the old city - very confusing!

The wooden platform they have built allows visitors to climb inside.
There is a great view of the skyline and the ocean.

My so really enjoyed finding all the view points in the tower.

Next we visited the Casas Oeste.
Here the wealthy used to live in the town.
My son tried his Samson act to push down the pillars in vein.

Continuing to walk around we became rather confused.
The map they give you is numbered.
But the description is not.
So we count paragraphs in hope we have the right place.

Here you can see the small open squares in the wall.
This is how they built so high.
The wooden platforms would slot into the wall as they went up.
When finished these were ventilation.
Some walls are nearly 1 metre thick.

Much of the stonework has been repaired.
Small orange insects were all over the walls, so we didn't climb through.

Oh no. My son needs a bathroom and there is none in site.
So we walk to the rear area which is fenced with neat homes.
I ask this Panamanian where the banos are.
He allows my son to come into his home.
They were such lovely people.
I love the decorations.

Outside the hammock is wound up against the window.
But leather and wooden chairs are there.
Pottery ornaments are on the walls.

We then head across the road.
This is the Jesuit church and convent.
Unfortunately as we go in we discover the pigeons rule.
We leave as we are dive-bombed from the heights.

Behind the glass arch in the centre back wall is a statue of a woman.
I don't think it is Mary, but more a Queen?
It seems a more recent donation.
This area is well worth a visit.

We head back to the hotel.
We have to move areas today and it is already afternoon.
Panama is a fascinating city.
It has an incredible mix.
Our hotel is near the hospital and supposed to be a good area.
But I see drunks asleep and the smell is not good.
We have to eat in the restaurant.
Time for a change.

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